A Few Multiple-Choice Words

Posted in Making Magic on October 25, 2010

By Mark Rosewater

Working in R&D since '95, Mark became Magic head designer in '03. His hobbies: spending time with family, writing about Magic in all mediums, and creating short bios.

Once again, 44 correct answers were needed to pass to the next round.

Questions 1–3 refer to the following card:

Fast Guy
Creature – Human
Lifelink, haste

1) Which color is most appropriate for this card?

a) white
b) blue
c) black
d) red
e) green

2) Which rarity is most appropriate for this card?

a) common
b) uncommon
c) rare
d) mythic rare

3) You are changing one of Fast Guy's keywords to another one. Which of the following combinations would result in a card that could not be monocolored?

a) first strike, haste
b) flying, haste
c) lifelink, shroud
d) lifelink, vigilance

Questions 4–6 refer to the following card:

Deflecting Mage
Creature – Human Wizard
When Deflecting Mage enters the battlefield, change the target of target spell with a single target.

4) If this card were a hybrid card, which color pair would be most appropriate?

a) white-black
b) blue-red
c) black-green
d) red-white
e) green-blue

5) If Design wanted to change this card's rules text but keep it a hybrid card, which of the following options would not work?

a) flash; shroud
b) double strike
c) 2 Mana: Switch Deflecting Mage's power and toughness until end of turn.
d) Tap: Target player gains 2 life.
e) Tap: Target player discards a card. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.

6) Design often makes creatures that have flash and "enters the battlefield" triggered abilities like Deflecting Mage. Which of the following abilities would we least likely pair with flash?

a) Counter target spell.
b) The next time target instant or sorcery spell would deal damage, it deals double that damage instead.
c) CARDNAME deals 2 damage to target attacking or blocking creature.
d) Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this turn.
e) Target creature gets +3/+3 until end of turn.

Questions 7–9 refer to the following card:

Return to the Æther
Return target creature you control to its owner's hand.

7) Other than blue, which color is most appropriate for this card?

a) white
b) black
c) red
d) green

8) Which rarity is most appropriate for this card?

a) common
b) uncommon
c) rare
d) mythic rare

9) Which of the following changes are we least likely to make?

a) Make the card a sorcery.
b) Change "target creature" to "all creatures" and "its owner's hand" to "their owners' hands."
c) Change "target creature" to "target permanent."
d) Change "you control" to "an opponent controls."
e) Change "owner's hand" to "controller's hand."

Questions 10–12 refer to the following card:

Mystical Fighter
Creature – Human
First strike
[Mana]: Regenerate Mystical Fighter.

10) If this card was a multicolored card, which combination of colors couldn't it be?

a) white-black
b) black-red
c) red-green
d) red-white
e) green-white

11) From a design perspective, what is the most significant problem with this card?

a) It's inelegant for one ability to require mana to activate and the other to not.
b) To make first strike have more impact, the power should be greater than the toughness.
c) To make the regeneration happen more often, the creature should have a lower toughness.
d) Humans don't regenerate.
e) The two abilities don't complement each other as the use of one tends to decrease the use of the other.

12) If Design wanted to change this card to green/blue by changing first strike to another keyword, which one would not work?

a) flash
b) flying
c) islandwalk
d) shroud
e) vigilance

Questions 13–15 refer to the following card:

Nasty Demon
Creature – Demon
Whenever Nasty Demon deals combat damage to an opponent, that player discards two cards.

13) Which color is most appropriate for this card?

a) white
b) blue
c) black
d) red
e) green

14) Which rarity is the most appropriate for this card?

a) common
b) uncommon
c) rare
d) mythic rare

15) As a Demon, which change is Design most likely to make?

a) Add flying.
b) Increase power and toughness.
c) Add a mechanical downside that has potential to harm the controller.
d) Change "combat damage" to "damage."
e) Change the effect of the triggered ability to make the opponent discard his or her entire hand.

Questions 16–18 refer to the following card:

Mimsy Borogove
Creature – Human

16) Which mana cost is least appropriate for this card?

a) 1 ManaWhite Mana
b) 1 ManaBlue Mana
c) 1 ManaBlack Mana
d) 1 ManaRed Mana
e) 1 ManaGreen Mana

17) This card is known in R&D slang as a "vanilla creature" because it has no abilities. Of the following reasons, which is the least important reason that Design creates vanilla creatures?

a) To increase the number of creatures in a set without pulling focus from the set's main themes.
b) To create cards that are easier to cost.
c) To lessen overall board complexity.
d) To make cards that are easier for beginners to learn.
e) To provide a baseline that helps players evaluate more complex creatures.

18) If we wanted to make this card a "French vanilla" creature (a creature with one or more keyword abilities but no other rules text) and keep it at common, which keyword is the least appropriate?

a) double strike
b) lifelink
c) reach
d) trample
e) vigilance

Questions 19–21 refer to the following card:

Take It and Suffer
Enchantment – Aura
Enchant creature
When Take It and Suffer enters the battlefield, destroy enchanted creature. Take It and Suffer deals damage to target player equal to that creature's toughness.

19) If this card is black, which change is Design most likely to make to this card?

a) Add "nonblack" to the enchant ability.
b) Change the damage so it is equal to the creature's power rather than its toughness.
c) Change the destruction to a sacrifice effect.
d) Change the damage to loss of life.
e) Make the card an instant or sorcery.

20) Could Design change this card into an Equipment with only minor tweaking?

a) yes
b) no

21) Design wants to change this card so it destroys other types of permanents yet wishes to keep it black. According to black's portion of the color pie, which card types is it most appropriate for this card to destroy?

a) artifacts
b) enchantments
c) lands
d) artifacts and lands
e) artifacts and enchantments

Questions 22–24 refer to the following card:

Annoying Bell
Annoying Bell enters the battlefield with three charge counters on it.
T, Remove a charge counter from Annoying Bell: Target player puts the top two cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.

22) In an artifact block such as Mirrodin or Scars of Mirrodin, which rarity is most appropriate for this card?

a) common
b) uncommon
c) rare
d) mythic rare

23) Assuming this card is for an artifact block, what is the most significant reason this card wouldn't be turned into an artifact creature?

a) Its ability couldn't be activated on the turn it was cast.
b) As artifact blocks tend to use +1/+1 or -1/-1 counters, to avoid confusion between different kinds of counters, we normally don't put charge counters on creatures.
c) It's much easier to untap creatures and thus much easier to activate the ability more than once during the same turn.
d) It's much easier to return creatures to their owner's hand and thus it would be too easy to "refill" the counters.
e) Artifact blocks like to play up the tropes of artifacts and "millstones" are a popular artifact trope.

24) A player loses the game when he or she draws a card with no cards left in his or her library. What's the most important reason for this rule?

a) It encourages players to play with larger decks.
b) It gives the game an interesting win condition.
c) It keeps the game from continuing indefinitely.
d) It makes long games more exciting.
e) It makes draw effects that target a player more flexible.

25) Which of the following is true about planeswalker design?

a) A planeswalker must have exactly three abilities.
b) A planeswalker cannot activate its "ultimate" ability on the turn it is cast.
c) A planeswalker must have at least one ability that adds loyalty counters and one ability that removes them.
d) A planeswalker must have a subtype that isn't shared by any other card.
e) A planeswalker cannot have any card types other than planeswalker.

26) Which of the following blocks could most appropriately be called an "enchantment block?"

a) Tempest block
b) Urza's Saga block
c) Mercadian Masques block
d) Invasion block
e) Odyssey block

27) If Magic 2012 needed to take an uncommon white card from Magic 2011 and reprint it as a common, which of the following cards is R&D most likely to choose?

a) Ajani's Pridemate
b) Celestial Purge
c) Roc Egg
d) War Priest of Thune
e) White Knight

28) Which of the following is not an example of a modular mechanic?

a) cycling
b) echo
c) flashback
d) infect
e) kicker

29) Which of the following enchantments are we least likely to print?

a) All creatures with changeling have flying.
b) All creatures with echo have deathtouch.
c) All creatures with exalted have lifelink.
d) All creatures with infect have first strike.
e) All creatures with landfall have haste.

30) Who is most likely to build a deck themed around The Wizard of Oz? (The description of the five answers are here and here.)

a) Timmy
b) Johnny
c) Spike
d) Vorthos
e) Melvin

31) Which of the following abilities is R&D most likely to put on a common creature in an upcoming set?

a) Tap: CARDNAME deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
b) Tap: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn.
c) Tap: Tap target creature.
d) Tap: Target creature gains first strike until end of turn.
e) Tap: Target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

32) You're designing a rare card by starting with each of the common cards below and changing only numbers in that card's rules text. Assuming the mana cost will change to fit the power level of the card, which card is least likely to make a compelling rare?

a) Raise the Alarm
b) Divination
c) Last Gasp
d) Tremor
e) Giant Growth

33) "Each person's life unfolds according to a pattern. Accepting this fact is the key to harmony." Which color has this philosophy?

a) white
b) blue
c) black
d) red
e) green

34) Which of the following mechanics would be most at home in the Golgari guild (black-green) from Ravnica?

a) flashback
b) madness
c) morph
d) shadow
e) storm

35) Which effect is usually seen on more sorceries than instants?

a) direct damage
b) life gain
c) power/toughness pumping
d) returning permanents to their owner's hand
e) token creation

36) Which of the following is not true about Magic sets?

a) Design should make sure there are large, all-upside creatures for Timmy.
b) Design should make sure there are build-around enchantments for Johnny.
c) Design should make sure there are spells with swingy effects for Timmy.
d) Design should make sure there are cards with unique effects for Johnny.
e) Design does not need to design cards for Spike as they will gravitate toward whatever the best cards are.

37) Which of the following characteristics of a Magic creature card is most relevant to design?

a) color
b) creature type
c) mana cost
d) power and toughness
e) rarity

38) Which of the following abilities is R&D least likely to put onto a green creature in an upcoming set?

a) All creatures able to block CARDNAME do so.
b) CARDNAME can't be blocked except by two or more creatures.
c) [Mana]: CARDNAME gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Activate this ability only once each turn.
d) Vigilance
e) You may have CARDNAME assign its combat damage as though it weren't blocked.

39) Which of the following is the least likely reason a card would move from common to uncommon during design?

a) The card is too complicated.
b) The card needs to show up less often in limited.
c) There are too many cards doing what the card is doing at common.
d) The card is likely to show up in tournaments.
e) There's no space for the card at common.

40) From a design standpoint, what is the most important advantage of the variance of the draw to Magic?

a) It's a catch-up feature.
b) It adds randomness, which creates greater variety of game play.
c) It allows a player to beat a more skilled opponent.
d) It creates suspense in the late game.
e) It enables the creation of cards that manipulate the library.

41) According to current design standards, which of the following is least likely to be a common card?

a) A white instant that gives protection to target creature.
b) A blue Aura that stops enchanted creature from untapping.
c) A black sorcery that causes you to pay life to draw cards.
d) A red instant that states target creature can't block this turn.
e) A green sorcery that destroys all enchantments.

42) According to R&D, which of the following is the least parasitic mechanic?

a) affinity
b) cycling
c) infect
d) splice
e) threshold

43) "I believe that block had a lot of problems because it was just too parasitic without enough backward compatibility." Which block am I most likely talking about?

a) Urza's Saga block
b) Mercadian Masques block
c) Odyssey block
d) Champions of Kamigawa block
e) Lorwyn block

44) According to R&D, what is the flanking mechanic's biggest shortcoming from a design perspective? (See all creatures with flanking here.)

a) Flanking not working against other flankers wasn't intuitive to many players and thus was often played incorrectly.
b) Flanking creatures were all conceived as humans riding horses, thus limiting the types of creatures R&D could design.
c) Flanking only worked on attacking and not on blocking, limiting the number of interactions it created.
d) Flanking was priced such that players didn't actually pay anything extra for the flanking ability.
e) Flanking didn't include a number, eliminating the ability to design future versions using increments greater than -1/-1.

45) The philosophy of four of the five colors is stated below. Which color is missing?

  • "Morality? There's no such thing as morality. It's a construct of the weak to justify their actions."
  • "What value is there in thinking about tomorrow? Who knows if we'll even be alive tomorrow?"
  • "Everybody is trying so hard to change everything that they sometimes miss that things don't need to be changed."
  • "Any problem that is understood can be solved."

a) white
b) blue
c) black
d) red
e) green

46) Which of the following cards is least a Johnny card?

a) Clone
b) Devastating Summons
c) Fauna Shaman
d) Mortician Beetle
e) Near-Death Experience

Question 47 refers to the following card:

Those Pesky Dead
Whenever a creature is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, put a 2/2 black Vampire creature token onto the battlefield tapped.

47) What change is Design most likely to be make?

a) Change "creature" to "nontoken creature."
b) Change "the battlefield" to "anywhere."
c) Change 2/2 to 1/1.
d) Change "Vampire" to "Zombie."
e) Remove "tapped."

48) One of R&D's ongoing concerns is board complexity. We've coined the term "virtual vanilla" to refer to a creature that, after the first turn it enters the battlefield, functions as a simple vanilla creature for purposes of evaluating the board state. (Avoid getting hung up on obscure combinations of cards that could make the card not function as a vanilla.)

Here are ten creatures:


How many of the ten creatures are virtual vanilla?

a) four
b) five
c) six
d) seven
e) eight

49) R&D often likes to use cycles for its designs. Which of the following cards is not part of a five-card cycle?

a) Angel's Herald
b) Dawnglare Invoker
c) Martial Coup
d) Rest for the Weary
e) Steppe Lynx

50) From a design standpoint, what is the most realistic threat to Magic's long-term health?

a) complexity creep
b) creative limitations
c) running out of block themes
d) running out of design space for individual cards
e) Mark Rosewater

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