Topical Blend: Did You Hear the One About...

Posted in Making Magic on December 7, 2015

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.

This article is another in my Topical Blend series. Here's how it works: I get Magic topics and non-Magic topics and have the audience vote (this time the vote was done on my Twitter). I then take the winning Magic topic and the winning non-Magic topic and blend them together into an article.

My very first Topical Blend, called "To Err Is Human," had me combining my "Top 10 Design Mistakes" with "Girls." The result is one of my favorite articles I've ever written.

My second Topical Blend had no name and combined "The Pros and Cons of Adding a Sixth Color" with "Mark Rosewater Admits He's %#@$ Insane." The latter was a running joke on a Magic humor site that has long since disappeared. My column was mocked up to look like that site, and it was structured as a thread responding to my "column" on the Magic topic. The fact that the actual article was a "thread" about the article confused many readers. Add to that that many of the jokes were me parodying the site in question and the article doesn't quite hold up as well as the others. You can see it here, though.

My third Topical Blend was called "Sessions," and in it I combined "The Top Ten Coolest Creatures Ever Designed" with "Dungeons & Dragons."

My fourth Topical Blend, which also didn't have a name, combined "The Best Designed Card of Each Set" with "Magic" (as in prestidigitation or sleight-of-hand).

For this my fifth Topical Blend, I gathered topics from my Tweeps on Twitter and got sixteen Magic and non-Magic topics. I then used the voting software on Twitter to do a single-elimination heads-up competition. Here is the elimination grid for each of the two categories:

Magic Topic

Quarterfinals

(1) Unreleased Mechanics,

(8) Designing Parasitic Mechanics

(4) R&D Slang

(5) Designing Planeswalkers,

(2) Designing for Draft

(7) Designing High-Mana-Cost Cards,

(3) Group Dynamics

(6) Finding New Mechanics,

Semifinals

(1) Unreleased Mechanics,

(4) Designing Planeswalkers

(2) Designing High-Mana-Cost Cards

(3) Finding New Mechanics,

Finals

(1) Unreleased Mechanics,

(3) Finding New Mechanics

Non-Magic Topic

Quarterfinals

(1) T-Shirts

(8) Former Coworkers,

(4) Science Fiction,

(5) Cookies

(2) Food

(7) Urban Legends,

(3) Comedy,

(6) Airports

Semifinals

(1) Former Coworkers

(4) Science Fiction

(2) Urban Legends

(3) Comedy

Finals
Science Fiction
Urban Legends

In the end, "Unreleased Mechanics" won for the Magic topic and "Urban Legends" won for the non-Magic topic.

One quick thing before we begin: the next two weeks are Best of DailyMTG 2015 Weeks, where the writers get a holiday break. I'll be picking my two favorite articles of the year to rerun. I'll be back in three weeks with previews for Oath of the Gatewatch.

Okay, unreleased mechanics and urban legends, here we go.

Click here to begin!

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