Ask Wizards: 05/01/2012

Posted in Feature on May 1, 2012

By Wizards of the Coast

Ask Wizards is a weekly feature that allows you to ask us questions! If you'd like to submit your question please email it to We aren't able to answer every question we receive but if your question is good then it might show up in the coming weeks! Additionally you can ask questions via twitter using the #askwizards hashtag. We'll watch that hashtag and pull the best questions to be answered!

Originally answered on Mark Rosewater's Tumblr.

Q: Dear MaRo, why is Rock so overpowered? It should be fair, balanced, and fun, like Paper.
- seabutcher

A: From Mark Rosewater, Head Designer for Magic R&D

The problem isn't when Scissors says Rock is broken. It's when Paper says it is.

From the Ask Wizards Archives for Sept. 17th, 2008

Q: How do the name and picture of Ancestral Recall tie in to the action of the spell?
–Cody, Burlington, VT, USA

A: From Monty Ashley, Magic Web Team:

Hmm. An oldie, eh? Let's look at the card:

Ancestral Recall

Let's look at a larger version of the art:

Ancestral Recall full art by Mark Poole

Unfortunately, we don't have the art description on file, which is the sort of thing that happens with fifteen-year-old cards. However, it just so happens that I, um, "know" the answer to this question. See the slight glow around the guy on the right? That is meant to suggest that he's not physically there in the vaguely Aztec setting. He's been brought back to the time of his ancestors, and now he's remembering things that they knew.

So that's the connection between the name and the art. Mechanically, this knowledge of his ancestors is represented by getting a few more cards. In the same way that "brain damage" frequently means "discard a card" (Addle, Brainspoil, Skull Fracture, and so on), "learning things" translates to "draw some cards" (directly with Careful Study and Stroke of Genius and indirectly with cards like Collective Unconscious). This seems like a good time to mention The Bake a Cake Example, which describes one way to imagine what cards in your library "mean", although that example doesn't explore the flavor difference between the hand and the graveyard.

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