You Make The Card

Posted in Feature on February 20, 2002

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.

Miss the first two parts? Catch up here: Part 1, Part 2.

And the winner is… creature. By a healthy margin, no less. Here’s a rundown of how the voting went for the second round:

Creature 7666
Enchantment 3717
Instant 2544
Sorcery 1007
Total Vote 14934

A Quick Note

Before we get to the third round, I wanted to clear up a common misconception I’ve been reading on the net about “You Make the Card.” Some people seem to think that there is no chance for innovation with this card. That’s just plain wrong. You guys are free to create anything that makes sense for a green creature. Remember that you’re not restricted to what has been done for green creatures but what could be done. You will have an opportunity to create an effect or ability that has never before existed in Magic.

The point of this card isn’t to create a card that R&D might create anyway. The point of “You Make a Card” is for all of you to make something cool and different. This feature is a chance for you to show off your design skills. While we will keep you focused on the color and card type you’ve chosen, there is still a large area of virgin design space. In fact, of any color-card type combination, none is as big as green creatures. This is your card. Make us proud.

A Path in the Road

This third vote, I hope, will set the tone for the entire feature. You are about to decide what to decide next. You see, there are many ways to design a green creature. Your job this week is to decide how you wish to design this green creature.

You will have three choices:

Creature Type – This is the flavor approach. Often when designing a creature, we start with the knowledge of what the creature is going to be. If you choose this path, you will have the ability to set in stone what kind of creature is being created. This will allow you to create mechanics that perfectly fit the flavor. Also, if you wish to make a creature with a double creature type, this path is the only one where you will be guaranteed this option. (That isn’t to say it can’t happen with other paths, but if it does it will be with a very narrow choice of options.)

Creature Size – This is the archetype approach. Sometimes when we design, we try to make cards that fill a certain void or go into a certain deck. If you choose this path, you will be starting by establishing the creature’s power and toughness. This is also the choice that will give you the best ability to control how expensive the creature will be. (I should stress that this is a limited ability at best, as many different choices will push the creature to a lower, or more often higher, mana cost.)

Creature Mechanic – This is the pure design approach. Often in design we begin by just making a cool card and figuring out the flavor as we go. This path will give you the strongest control over what the card does, but will be the least effective in establishing flavor.

No matter which choice you choose, I need to stress that you will be limiting future options. Each decision you make narrows what the card can be. We are letting you pick your path this week because we wanted you to choose which option you wanted to have the most control over.

Since this vote is more procedural than creative, it will be a short one. The deadline for this round is midnight, Sunday, February 24th. And then next Wednesday, we will begin voting on the path you’ve chosen.

Choose wisely.

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