Free Association

Posted in Making Magic on February 5, 2004

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.

Many of my proudest designs came from finding an elegant answer to a complex problem. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Ancient Den
    Mirrodin – I was trying to find a cycle of common lands that made sense in an artifact heavy environment. After toying with lands with a second artifact themed activation (the first activation being for mana generation), I finally stumbled upon the best and simplest answer. Just make the lands artifacts. That way all the cards that care about artifacts made the lands relevant.
  • Tempest – The earliest templated version of Scragnoth was ugly. It was something like two sentences long explaining technically how it kept the spell from being countered. My suggestion: Why couldn't it just say “Can't be countered”?
  • Urza's Destiny – I was trying to create a series of cards (in development it got condensed down to one, Flicker) that allowed a player to reset a card in play. The flavor I wanted was that the spell regressed to what it was when it first came into play. After numerous awkward templates, the answer finally dawned on me. Just remove the object from the game and bring it back. That way it really was as if it just came into play.

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