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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2021 10:56 am 
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It's finally here.

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The judges' jobs are done. Now it's up to the people. For every pairing in the bracket, there will be a poll that lasts a week, and the contestant with the most votes advances. At the end of three rounds—Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and finally Finals—we'll have our seventh Pro Tour Champion!

Onto the Semis.

THE BLURB


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And here we have Imperiosaur and Muraganda Petroglyphs. Last year, in his series on how likely the Future Sight cards are to be reprinted, MaRo had this to say about them:

As much as the Design team was trying to hint at future mechanics, the Creative team was trying to hint at future worlds. One of the worlds that's forever been on the short list of possibilities is a prehistoric world. At the time, we hadn't done a world where Dinosaurs played a large role, and a prehistoric world felt like the best fit, so the creative world didn't just make a prehistoric world, they named it—Muraganda. The Creative team then tied two cards we made that played into simpler aspects of the game (using mana from basic lands and rewarding vanilla creatures) to Muraganda.

Muraganda is a frequent request for a world to visit. There's just one problem. Neither of these two mechanics is very fruitful and not the kind of thing you'd build a world around. So, we're kind of hesitant to visit Muraganda because we don't think we can meet expectations while building an interesting world mechanically. I hope one day to solve this problem, but I have no hope of it being soon. That causes a real problem for Muraganda Petroglyphs, as it's hard to put it on any world other than Muraganda. I think Imperiosaur has a better chance of a reprint, as we've started putting Dinosaurs on more worlds (the players really like them) and its mechanic can be a one-of in a set. For example, I believe they considered Imperiosaur for Ixalan.

Reprint Chances: Likely (Imperiosaur) and Unlikely (Muraganda Petroglyphs)


THE PROMPT


Your task is to solve MaRo's conundrum. Make two cards in nongreen colors that demonstrate how you'd approach the mechanics of a Muraganda set.

ELC and Rag? You will each make a monowhite card and a monoblack card that demonstrate Muraganda's mechanics.

Tevish and CH? You will each make a monoblue card and a monored card that demonstrate Muraganda's mechanics.

This is EDH identity I mean. Mox Pearl and Volrath's Stronghold are fine.

I wanna give time thru next weekend, and I'll be out all day on the 22nd, so you all have until 2 PM EST on Tuesday, March 23rd.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2021 12:28 pm 
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Safety in Numbers
Instant (C)
Choose a color. Target creature and each creature you control that shares a creature type with it gains immunity from the chosen color until end of turn (They can't be damaged or targeted by sources of that color).
At first only the mightiest Imperiosaurs could withstand the primordial storms of Muraganda. Then, with the advent of society, even the meekest Karoni youth were safe as long as they stayed with their tribe.

Venomous Discovery
Instant (C)
Choose one or both:
  • Put a Deathtouch counter on target creature.
  • Remove a Deathtouch counter from target creature. If you do, you may destroy that creature.
When the Horaka's chief shaman Karfi told her apprentice how their tribe could use the giant scorpion's stinger as a tool to hunt prey, she didn't anticipate that she would become his prey.

Alright so touching on a thematic core for a 'basic' theme for Muraganda with the white card, and that is of the idea of tribal archetypes being a fundamental cornerstone of MtG and other TCGs as well (especially Yugioh). Using the keyword immunity as opposed to protection or hexproof to be a nice middle ground between alphastrike potential and sweeper bait.

Black on the other hand is playing into the Muraganda Petroglyphs emphasis on creatures with no abilities by enabling a creature to gain or lose Deathtouch. Even in a pinch it could be used as targeted removal. I imagine this would be part of a cycle with other iconic keywords/evergreens (vigilance, flying, haste, and trample).

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2021 6:28 pm 
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Muraganda's key is "Primal". That's what both Basic Lands and Vanilla Creatures evoke.

The difficulty in this is that basic lands and vanilla creatures aren't interesting. That's Portal levels of stripping things down or moreso. You want cards that do things, not cards that are just fat stats.

Of course, the way to crack that, to me, seems to be in two old mechanics. Either Face-Down or Transform can let you have vanilla creatures that aren't always vanilla, and domain needs basic lands (or at least basic land types, which when it was first introduced was just the basics and OG duals) without being totally braindead like trying to make a whole set around Imperiosaur. So I feel like hacks of those mechanics could provide a strong mechanical identity that still FEELS like Muraganda

Thus, I present this

Pyrosaur Shaman
:1::r:
Creature - Ape Shaman
:r::r:: Pyrosaur Shaman gets +1/+0 until end of turn and deals 1 damage to any target.
Reversion - :4::r::r:: Transform Pyrosaur Shaman.
"The ancients favor all who offer themselves to blood and flame." - Koran Thaar
2/2
//dfc//
Rampaging Pyrosaur
:r: Creature - Dinosaur
Surrendering utterly to the Primal grants one a body of unmatched strength and a mind of pure rage.
7/4

"Reversion" is an ability word for creatures with the template "Pay cost: Transform this creature". The back sides of Reversion creatures are always vanilla dinosaurs. The name is based on the idea of "reverting" to a primal state.

Gaze to the Sky
:1::u:
Instant
Scry X, where X is equal to the number of land types among basic lands you control, then draw a card. If X was 5, draw two cards instead.
"The sky reflects the land. Look. Learn."

The domain template has been slightly shaken up for Muraganda -- only BASIC lands contribute to the count. This means a Prismatic Omen (busted card that it is) still works, but nonbasics with land types don't, sort of pulling the mechanic back to how played in Invasion block

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Last edited by Tevish Szat on Fri Mar 12, 2021 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2021 10:51 pm 
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that Maro quote reflects a frankly stunning lack of imagination.

:duel:

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 6:44 am 
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Have you made a full set with the theme “Basic as all get out”? Truly sounds boringly miserable


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 9:26 am 
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Have you made a full set with the theme “Basic as all get out”? Truly sounds boringly miserable

I'll resist posting any sort of real analysis until after the round ends, especially since I'm not even a contestant, but I do not believe this is a hard problem to solve.

:duel:

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 11:45 pm 
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Hmmm I actually feel the flavor these present through their flavor text actually imply Muraganda is a more advanced world just with a lot of aspects of ancient civilization still around to observe. After all if it was an ancient prehistoric world why would they have scrolls and libraries especially as kinda the default that "some mages forsake"? And the Imperiosaur's FT implies the dinosaurs are coming back as some kind of resurgence of an ancient force and not just dinosaurs live around there normally. So if it is to be expanded into a full set with its own identity as "Prehistoric set" it needs a Kamigawa style situation of being set way way in the past, even more than Kamigawa was. Not that that might mean a whole lot overall just an observation.

One way I quickly thought of to get the brutal world where it was adapt or die and things developing was the evolve mechanic. Spread beyond just Simic now that it isn't part of a guild set up. Since it's trying to show off the mechanics I did want to keep in mind "If it's not at your lower rarities, it's not actually your theme" so I made this purposefully trying for uncommon.

Blazing Iguanar
Creature - Lizard
Haste
Evolve (Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, if that creature has greater power or toughness than this creature, put a +1/+1 counter on this creature.)
Blazing Iguanar has menace as long as it has a +1/+1 counter on it.
2/1

Which gives a creature heavy and +1/+1 counter theme which I felt like already fit well. I also figure there may not be no artifacts but the more primal connected to nature style might mean more enchantments than artifacts. Not saying quite an enchantment theme but it's a potential idea. I liked my original idea as a card but I didn't think it really captured the mechanics of Muraganda. But here's an idea that came to me in a sleep haze.

Deepsea Petroglyph
Enchantment
Apex - Whenever a source you control deals excess damage to a permanent you don't control, you may untap target permanent.
: Untap target creature you don't control. That creature attacks or blocks this turn if able.
, sacrifice ~: Create an 8/8 blue Kraken creature token and draw a card. Activate this ability only during your turn.

Apex is a new ability word that takes the design space of excess damage that Wizards has already been playing with and pushes it to a full mechanic. The cards that we have so far that have excess damage triggers are a little inconsistent on who has to be dealing the damage but for the sake of making it work as a mechanic it's always your stuff damaging opponents stuff. Originally the idea was that anything which could deal damage had "When this creature/spell/whatever" but ultimately this is a side step of stuff like Morbid but way less in your control only so I thought pushing some more would help. The permanent over "creature or planeswalker" is new wording but it's just better flowing for this and WotC is clearly open to some new wording. I kinda wanted a Thassa's Bident variant and I feel like there would be an Apex draw card in a full set but that immediately steps on Aegar, the Freezing Flame's toes. The effects are meant to flow together. The first effect means you can say untap a creature you attacked with, or even get back some mana from like an artifact or land. The second forces combat to try and stop stuff from being gummed up. And the last one is just kind of a finisher effect that also gives you a big vanilla beater.


Last edited by CuriousHeartless on Mon Mar 22, 2021 10:27 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2021 1:44 am 
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2021 2:59 pm 
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Hunting Cry -
Sorcery [C]
Create a 1/1 white dog creature token.
Strength in Numbers -- As long as you control 4 or more creatures you may tap up to 1 target creature.

Strength in Numbers is a threshhold mechanic that checks if you have 4 or more creatures. I imagine muraganda as being more combat-focused than an average set and this ability word plays well with tokens which enable the vanilla theme that is hinted at in green and also encourage larger boards which make for a better combat environment. Flavourfully, the ability evokes the image of cavemen banding together to survive a harsh landscape.

Ravenous Raptors -
Creature - Dinosaur [U]
Menace
Feed - At the beginning our your upkeep exile a creature card from your graveyard or lose 1 life.
Whenever a creature you control feeds ~ gets +1/+0 until end of turn.
2/1

Feed is a top down mechanic which puts the players in control of a pack of hungry dinosaurs. If you're not able to find the food for them, you might have to find other ways to keep them satiated. Most feed mechanics will scale with the number of feeds you activate a turn, and so playing more feed creatures while you already have some out will require carefully evaluating the risk.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2021 12:48 am 
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You guys want the rest of the time I promised to edit or should I start early? I'm going to bed, but if there are no objections by later today I'll just start the poll

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:07 am 
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razorborne wrote:
Have you made a full set with the theme “Basic as all get out”? Truly sounds boringly miserable

I'll resist posting any sort of real analysis until after the round ends, especially since I'm not even a contestant, but I do not believe this is a hard problem to solve.

:duel:

Both Imperiousaur and Petroglyphs are mechanically void of anything interesting and it is fundamentally nigh-impossible to leverage their mechanics into good gameplay.
Imperiousaur requires you to make non-basics important enough to the format where you can discourage using them, effectively establishing a theme just to punish you for playing into it.
Petroglyphs has very marginal design space, asks you to play mostly boring cards, and is incredibly brittle, drastically restricting you in the way you can interact with your ultra-dull creatures. Petroglyphs is also symmetrical so the card itself fundamentally doesn't work in an environment where vanilla creatures are common.

If you gave me this criteria I would ignore the mechanics of the cards and focus entirely on the spirit of them because anything else is an exercise in futility. My solution to MaRo's conondrum is to make Muraganda cool enough to where nobody cares about not being forced to play basic lands and vanilla creatures. Give it a couple of years and Akroma will look like a vanilla creature next to these MDFC monstrosities anyway.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:40 am 
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Mown wrote:
Imperiousaur requires you to make non-basics important enough to the format where you can discourage using them, effectively establishing a theme just to punish you for playing into it.
a) non-basics are already a significant part of pretty much every constructed deck in every non-pauper format. b) treasure tokens exist to some extent in every color but green. green has mana dorks. mana rocks exist. "basic lands" as a theme probably isn't interesting, but "mana from basic lands" could be, as a way to create tension between ramp options and raw threats.

Mown wrote:
Petroglyphs has very marginal design space, asks you to play mostly boring cards, and is incredibly brittle, drastically restricting you in the way you can interact with your ultra-dull creatures. Petroglyphs is also symmetrical so the card itself fundamentally doesn't work in an environment where vanilla creatures are common.
tokens and morph are two easy mechanics that allow you to run interesting cards that make vanilla creatures. I'll agree that the symmetrical nature of Petroglyphs kinda sucks, but that's not really a theme problem so much as a design problem. it doesn't prevent you from delivering the Muraganda people expect.

:duel:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:55 am 
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here's some possible solutions.

Primal Terradon-
Creature-Dinosaur
Morph
When Primal Terradon is turned face-up, you may search your library for a basic Plains card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle.
It seeks a home it has never seen in a world that no longer needs its kind.
3/3

Pillage The Ruins-
Instant
Draw two cards, then discard a card unless mana produced by a Treasure token was spent to cast Pillage The Ruins.
Topac grabbed the shining stone. He didn't know what it was for, but he knew he wanted it.

Tok'Var Bonekeeper-
Creature-Human Shaman
When Tok'Var Bonekeeper dies, create a 2/2 black Zombie token, a 1/1 white Skeleton token, and a Treasure token.
There are worse things in this world than shadows.
3/3

Spent Candling-
Creature-Elemental
Morph
When Spent Candling is turned face-up, add , then put a drain counter on it and it loses all abilities.
The wisps of ancient magic still linger deep in the heart of Muraganda.
1/1

and that's just off the top of my head.

:duel:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:59 am 
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I do worry about saying anything especially now that I lost and I’m worried it may come across as salty but I agree with Mown that none of that...is actually like a way to ‘fix’ these problems. Like not to sound too sarcastic but my immediate response is “Wow morph and tokens? I didn’t know Tarkir was the real Muraganda all along. And also apparently this is Yugioh so tokens are automatically exempt from having abilities.” Change Primal Terradon to a Scout with some name like Salt Road Mapper and its just a Tarkir card, what about it exemplifies a basic world like Muraganda? And the Treasure solution is like..I almost don’t want to put an exact descriptor on it because I worry it’ll be too rude since I think that’s not at all a solution. A basic plane and trying to tie into one of the example card’s effect on basic lands...includes making artifacts? And while you can reflavor them, by not doing so and leaving it as Treasure it leaves an odd too advanced feel. Unless Dinosaur is enough for you to call a card a winner this round, Spent Candling is the only one of your four that at all get to me this feel.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:43 am 
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Like not to sound too sarcastic but my immediate response is “Wow morph and tokens? I didn’t know Tarkir was the real Muraganda all along.
I mean, yeah, part of my point is that these problems were easily solvable with widely available mechanics. plenty of sets could already have supported the implied themes of Muraganda.

And also apparently this is Yugioh so tokens are automatically exempt from having abilities.
dude, the majority of token-making cards already make vanilla tokens. they don't have to, but I'm not sure why you think it's unreasonable.

Change Primal Terradon to a Scout with some name like Salt Road Mapper and its just a Tarkir card, what about it exemplifies a basic world like Muraganda?
"this card is simple enough to exist in any number of sets, so how could it possibly fit in a simple set?"

it has a vanilla form and it searches for basic lands. it's literally both the themes in one card. the fact that that doesn't make it feel unique to Muraganda just proves how easy it is to incorporate Muraganda's themes.

And the Treasure solution is like..I almost don’t want to put an exact descriptor on it because I worry it’ll be too rude since I think that’s not at all a solution. A basic plane and trying to tie into one of the example card’s effect on basic lands...includes making artifacts? And while you can reflavor them, by not doing so and leaving it as Treasure it leaves an odd too advanced feel.
not really sure how to answer this given that literally in this thread you pointed out that the flavor of both cards implied a resurgence of primitive culture in a more generally advanced world, but yes. Imperiosaur implies a focus on mana sources. Treasures are a mana source. was your plan for this set to just... not have artifacts? were you just gonna cut out an entire card type? because otherwise I don't see the problem.

and flavorwise, all you have to do is make the token art show natural treasures like raw gemstones and boom, problem solved my dude. the word "treasure" does not imply a specific level of technological advancement.

Unless Dinosaur is enough for you to call a card a winner this round, Spent Candling is the only one of your four that at all get to me this feel.
see, I think the mistake you're making is to assume that interacting with simpler aspects of the game means the cards themselves need to be simple. I'd look to Zendikar for inspiration here: lands are the most primal aspect of Magic as a game, but the set built around them is deeply complex. just because a card says the word "basic" doesn't mean it has to be basic.

:duel:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:08 pm 
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razorborne wrote:
a) non-basics are already a significant part of pretty much every constructed deck in every non-pauper format. b) treasure tokens exist to some extent in every color but green. green has mana dorks. mana rocks exist. "basic lands" as a theme probably isn't interesting, but "mana from basic lands" could be, as a way to create tension between ramp options and raw threats.

I'm speaking strictly from a limited environment. If "basic lands matters" is used to sell the theme of Muraganda as a primal theme, it only matters if you populate it with a large number of other mana sources. What happens to that theme when you fill the set with treasure tokens and non-basic lands in order to make it relevant? You would in that case need some sort of invasion story to occupy a large portion of the set, otherwise you are juxtaposing the theme of the plane against itself.
But more than that, it's also just more fun to build decks around what you can do, instead of what you can't. Imperiosaur in this context is pretty comparable to snow on Kaldheim, being effectively a sixth color, except in this case, you're not rewarded by drafting snow lands, you're rewarded by not drafting non-basic mana sources.
razorborne wrote:
tokens and morph are two easy mechanics that allow you to run interesting cards that make vanilla creatures. I'll agree that the symmetrical nature of Petroglyphs kinda sucks, but that's not really a theme problem so much as a design problem. it doesn't prevent you from delivering the Muraganda people expect.

:duel:

If I were to include morph in a set (in 2021 power levels lol), what I wouldn't do is print a bunch of cards that discourages you from flipping the creatures face up. Vanilla-matters puts the emphasis on the board state on the least interesting cards in play. You are asking for an entire category of cards to single-handedly make playing vanilla creatures as interesting as playing with real magic cards, and so far I haven't seen it. The Muraganda people expect is a bad set.

I think you can make a Muraganda where both of these cards theoretically have a home, I don't think you can make one where they exemplify what the set is about mechanically.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:54 pm 
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Mown wrote:
I'm speaking strictly from a limited environment. If "basic lands matters" is used to sell the theme of Muraganda as a primal theme, it only matters if you populate it with a large number of other mana sources. What happens to that theme when you fill the set with treasure tokens and non-basic lands in order to make it relevant? You would in that case need some sort of invasion story to occupy a large portion of the set, otherwise you are juxtaposing the theme of the plane against itself.
sure, but that story is supported by extant sources. as CH pointed out, the flavor texts of both Imperiosaur and Petroglyphs imply a normal Magic world under siege by primitive forces. personally, I'd place the set a couple generations after that initial resurgence and frame the other mana sources as surviving tech and ruins of those older civilizations, but the options here are pretty endless. flavoring worlds around mechanics is not and never has been the hard part of set design.

Mown wrote:
But more than that, it's also just more fun to build decks around what you can do, instead of what you can't. Imperiosaur in this context is pretty comparable to snow on Kaldheim, being effectively a sixth color, except in this case, you're not rewarded by drafting snow lands, you're rewarded by not drafting non-basic mana sources.
if only there were cards you could draft that increase your access to basic lands.

anyway, I don't think Imperiosaur-style "basics only" can be a full-blown main theme in the format, but I don't think it needs to be to meet expectations. there's lots of ways to interact with basic lands and with the concept of mana sources.

Mown wrote:
If I were to include morph in a set (in 2021 power levels lol), what I wouldn't do is print a bunch of cards that discourages you from flipping the creatures face up. Vanilla-matters puts the emphasis on the board state on the least interesting cards in play. You are asking for an entire category of cards to single-handedly make playing vanilla creatures as interesting as playing with real magic cards, and so far I haven't seen it. The Muraganda people expect is a bad set.
only if we assume that the majority of vanilla-matters cards follow the petroglyphs format of providing permanent buffs, and even then that's a solvable problem with designs like Candling.

you also didn't address the tokens point, which is the actual #1 most obvious and easy to implement solution. why couldn't Muraganda support a token theme, given that like half of all sets ever already do, and if it can, why can't you then expand that to a Vanilla Matters theme using the exact same support system?

Mown wrote:
I think you can make a Muraganda where both of these cards theoretically have a home, I don't think you can make one where they exemplify what the set is about mechanically.
if by "exemplify what the set is about mechanically" you mean "be a template for numerous cards with roughly the same text" then yeah, I agree, but that's not really how themes work.

:duel:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:04 am 
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MaRo frames the setting as a prehistoric world so that is primarily what I am going off on, although in that context the rebellious nature of Petroglyphs does come across as rather strange. In this sense, I don't think that bringing heavy post-apocalypic themes into Muraganda qualifies as meeting player expectations of the plane as MaRo frames it, although I do think it's a potentially good idea. Which is to say that it's something I might consider doing, but I wouldn't consider it being entirely faithful to the criteria were I to do so.

There are solutions to make it possible to draft imperiosaurs and non-basic mana sources, but rampant growth isn't one of them. You are still left with a subtheme that by itself is causes friction. It's like putting hellbent in kamigawa. Sure, you can make cards that bridge the gap and let you play hellbent cards with your [splice/wisdom/overcosted spirits with soulshift] cards, but you're putting in a lot of glue to meld together two mechanics that are at odds with each other. (In this case putting in a lot of mana sinks so you can be rewarded for having a lot of extra mana you can't use on your imperiosaurs.)

Candling is an ugly design and I'm not going to use it as a solution to any problem. At least give it first strike or something baseline so it losing abilities is actually gameplay relevant outside of enabling this specific theme. But I'm not assuming it's all buff effects, it can be vanillacraft or vanillaconvoke for all I know, you are still rewarding players for having vanilla creatures and thereby discouraging them from being turned face-up.

I didn't address tokens specifically, but that doesn't mean I didn't also call them boring (with some exceptions, like UW Embalm, Populate, and Amass). But sure, maybe you have an RGx archetype that is vanilla matters which is primarily supported through tokens, so you effectively have a token-matters theme with less cross-appeal and design space. Does that meet player expectations? Are you sure that doesn't feel like a cop-out? In that respect I think Tevish actually handled it pretty well, by finding a way to incorporate vanilla creatures in a way that let them stand on their own and also carry a sense of excitement. The idea of upgrading a creature into something less mechanically interesting doesn't appeal that much to me, but I think you might be able to make it work.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:14 am 
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Mown wrote:
MaRo frames the setting as a prehistoric world so that is primarily what I am going off on, although in that context the rebellious nature of Petroglyphs does come across as rather strange. In this sense, I don't think that bringing heavy post-apocalypic themes into Muraganda qualifies as meeting player expectations of the plane as MaRo frames it, although I do think it's a potentially good idea. Which is to say that it's something I might consider doing, but I wouldn't consider it being entirely faithful to the criteria were I to do so.
I'm not sure "post-apocalyptic" is the right word for what I'm describing: I'm envisioning more primitive resurgence than destroyed world, which I think would do a fine job meeting player expectations. ancient advanced civilizations is an extremely common trope and could fit just fine in Prehistoric World.

Mown wrote:
There are solutions to make it possible to draft imperiosaurs and non-basic mana sources, but rampant growth isn't one of them.
didn't say it was. in fact I literally said the exact opposite.

Mown wrote:
You are still left with a subtheme that by itself is causes friction. It's like putting hellbent in kamigawa. Sure, you can make cards that bridge the gap and let you play hellbent cards with your [splice/wisdom/overcosted spirits with soulshift] cards, but you're putting in a lot of glue to meld together two mechanics that are at odds with each other. (In this case putting in a lot of mana sinks so you can be rewarded for having a lot of extra mana you can't use on your imperiosaurs.)
sure, and if I was saying the best way to make the set work was to stuff it full of things with Imperiosaur's exact text box, this would be relevant, but I'm not?

Mown wrote:
But I'm not assuming it's all buff effects, it can be vanillacraft or vanillaconvoke for all I know, you are still rewarding players for having vanilla creatures and thereby discouraging them from being turned face-up.
you're assuming that most of the vanilla theme stuff will scale with the count, but historically many enablers don't do that. consider the following:

Nectar of Strength-
Instant
Target creature gets +2/+2. If it has no abilities, gain life equal to its toughness.

Watchkeeper Falcon-
Creature-Bird
Flying
as long as you control a creature with no abilities, Watchkeeper Falcon has vigilance.
2/2

Blank Stare-
Instant
Blank Stare costs less to cast if you control a creature with no abilities.
Tap up to two target creatures. They don't untap during their controller's next untap step.

Lavaslinger-
Creature-Goblin Shaman
Whenever a creature with no abilities enters the battlefield under your control, Lavaslinger deals 1 damage to each opponent.
2/1

again, 10-second designs so I'm not saying they're perfect solutions, but if morph were the main solution (and I'm not saying it has to be, just that it's an option) there's plenty of ways to build the theme out without requiring you to amass as many vanilla creatures as possible.

Mown wrote:
I didn't address tokens specifically, but that doesn't mean I didn't also call them boring (with some exceptions, like UW Embalm, Populate, and Amass). But sure, maybe you have an RGx archetype that is vanilla matters which is primarily supported through tokens, so you effectively have a token-matters theme with less cross-appeal and design space.
it has almost exactly as much design space as tokens always do. like, you lose the ability to give those tokens keywords, but less than half of all token-making cards currently do that.

Mown wrote:
Does that meet player expectations? Are you sure that doesn't feel like a cop-out? In that respect I think Tevish actually handled it pretty well, by finding a way to incorporate vanilla creatures in a way that let them stand on their own and also carry a sense of excitement. The idea of upgrading a creature into something less mechanically interesting doesn't appeal that much to me, but I think you might be able to make it work.
I'd agree that Tevish's answer is better than any of mine. I'd ascribe that to a combination of me purposefully restricting myself to pre-existing mechanics to demonstrate the extent to which this has already been solved and him spending more than 5-10 seconds of thought on his designs. I'd imagine a good start to a vanilla-matters theme would be combining tokens and Reversion, and then adding in an ability word that means "if you control a creature with no abilities".

:duel:

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