Whenever possible, I like to do mailbag columns about current sets. Unfinity is out at local games stores and online retailers like Amazon, so it's time to answer all your questions about the latest Un- set.

Here's the tweet I posted:

As always, I'll try to answer as many questions as I can, but here's why I might not answer your question:

  • I have an allotted word count, which means that there are only so many questions I can get to.
  • Someone else might have asked the same question. I will usually answer the first person who asks.
  • Some questions I either don't know the answer to or don't feel qualified enough in the area to answer properly.
  • Some topics I'm not allowed to answer for all sorts of reasons, including previews for future sets.

That said, let's get to the questions:

Q: What card made you laugh the hardest?

I think the card that made the design team and playtesters laugh the most consistently was Wicker Picker. There were numerous playtests where I was thinking of possibly cutting it and then everyone would giggle about it the whole time, and I'd keep it in. I said to myself, one day there will a playtest where it doesn't make people laugh, and I'll have the serious conversation about removing it, but that day never came.

Q: If you had to reprint and de-acorn any previous Un- card so it could see play in Eternal formats, what card would you pick?

The card I get asked the most to make Eternal legal is Krark's Other Thumb from Unstable.

Krark's Other Thumb

Ever since Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms brought die rolling to non-Un- formats, there's been a lot of desire to bring some of the die-rolling manipulation from Un- sets to Eternal formats, and Krark's Other Thumb seems to be the focal point of that desire.

Q: How does collation work for different versions/variants of the same card?

When you print Magic cards, you print a whole bunch of cards on one large sheet. The most normal sheet size is eleven cards by eleven cards (for a total of 121 cards). After the sheets are printed, they're cut into individual cards. The sheets are usually separated by slots. Normally, that's rarity (a booster gets so many slots for cards of each rarity), but when you have special things, like Attractions that have a different back, they get their own slot. Most sheets don't have 121 unique cards on a sheet, so cards will be repeated on the sheet. We knew that when we made Attractions, so I was aware it gave us the opportunity to have variants that had different lit-up numbers. How many versions was limited by how many times that particular card appeared on the sheet. Common Attractions appeared ten times, uncommon six, and rare two.

We also had to care how many different light-up combinations there were. Because 1 never lights up and 6 always does, having two lit numbers meant you had four versions (2/6, 3/6, 4/6, and 5/6). Having three lit numbers meant you had six versions (2/3/6, 2/4/6, 2/5/6, 3/4/6, 3/5/6, and 4/5/6). Having four lit numbers meant four versions (2/3/4/6, 2/3/5/6, 2/4/5/6, and 3/4/5/6). This meant that common and uncommon would have four or six copies depending on how many lit-up numbers it had. Rare would only have two regardless of how many lit-up numbers the Attraction had.

Q: Do you look over past Un- sets to find ideas that can be better implemented a second time? Like Just Desserts and Pie-roclasm?

In any Magic design, not just Un- sets, you look back at what worked in the past for inspiration for new cards. Lots of Unfinity cards were inspired by popular Un- cards. Some examples (other than Pie-roclasm and Just Desserts):

  • Animate Graveyard was inspired by Animate Library from Unstable.
  • Grand Marshal Macie was inspired by Staying Power from Unhinged.
  • It Came from Planet Glurg was inspired by Grusilda, Monster Masher from Unstable.
  • Opening Ceremony was inspired by Booster Tutor from Unhinged and Summon the Pack from Unstable.
  • Surprise Party was inspired by Cheatyface from Unhinged and Entirely Normal Armchair from Unstable.
  • Truss, Chief Engineer was inspired by More or Less from Unstable.
  • Vedalken Squirrel-Whacker was inspired by Elvish Impersonators from Unglued.

I should note that, although we take inspiration from old cards, we still try to find new ways to execute on old mechanics, which often creates different types of gameplay than would the old cards.

Q: When Unfinity was conceived, was there feedback to include more specific Magic: The Gathering references compared to Unstable? I got the sense that UST's in-joke : original joke ratio wasn't as good as it could be.

There wasn't any specific feedback to add more of that. Our first goal is always to build a fun and immersive world. As with Unstable, even if the world is not self-referential, we can find spots to make Magic references. Luckily, early in worldbuilding, we came up with the idea that the park uses the Magic IP and that just allowed us a huge amount of flexibility in referencing the game. I think it's a little more than we necessarily need to make in an Un- set, but I agree it's a lot of fun when we have it.

Q: Two of the acorn cards are only acorns because they make pink tokens. If you wanted as much Eternal legal stuff as possible why not change the color of the token to something else?

This was the byproduct of a late decision-making process. At that point, we'd already made the Teddy Bear token frame and art. Also, we'd chosen to have Water Gun Balloon Game as our release-day promo, and that had a pink Teddy Bear. We did look to see if we could swap which cards had the Teddy Bear tokens (ideally, with Attractions that were already acorn), but there weren't good options. For Gift Shop, the other options were either 1/1 and too close to the red Balloon or a much worse flavor fit (flying 2/2 cats, 4/4 Octopus Performer, 1/2 flying Storm Crows, etc.). For Push Your Luck, it had to be a base 2/2, and the only other 2/2 creature token was the Zombie Employee, which didn't make any sense as a prize.

Q: For Octo Opus, you must fold something the size of a standard Magic card? Can you use a token or advertisement card instead?

There is a specific double-faced Contortionist token, but you're allowed to use any Magic card for your folding, including ad or token cards.

Contortionist front
Contortionist back

Q: What made you want to make some cards legal [and] some not?

I just want players to be able to play the cards where they want to play them. I understand why certain cards need to be acorn, because they do things that the rules can't handle or dip into aspects of the game that don't work well with tournament play, but if there are cards in an Un- set that would be totally playable if printed in any other set, why not let the players play with them in Eternal formats? Magic does quirky mechanical things all the time in other sets. We do comedic cards in other sets. We push boundaries in other sets. The idea that an Un- card has to be off-limits solely for having the property of being an Un- card is, I believe, an outdated concept. That's why the set has Eternal-legal cards.

Q: What were the considerations made to determine if a card was 'acorned'?

I put together a team of four people: Jess Dunks, the rules manager; Carmen Handy from the Play Design team; Matt Tabak, the set's editor; and myself. We looked at each card and asked the following questions:

  • Does it work within the rules? If the answer was no, it became acorn.
  • Would it cause problems in a tournament setting? If the answer was yes, it became acorn.
  • Does it cause any problems in Legacy or Vintage? If the answer was yes, we tweaked it. If it still wasn't safe enough, we made it acorn.
  • Can the card be templated in a way that fits on the card? (Acorn cards have some freedom with how they template that can allow us to write things we normally couldn't.) If the answer is no, the card became acorn.
  • Does the card feel appropriate as an Eternal card? This was the most subjective of the questions, but there were some cards like Tug of War that passed all the early questions yet still felt wrong as an Eternal card to the majority of people who looked at it. Those were made acorn.

Q: Were there any cards that you fought particularly hard to make Eternal-legal, whether or not they ended up making it?

It was never about fighting to make something Eternal or not. My job was to make a clear delineated line between acorn and Eternal and then, with proper input, figure out on which side of the line each card stood. I did want anything that could be Eternal to be Eternal in the sense that I wanted as many cards as possible to be something players could play without having to ask permission, but I never wanted to make something Eternal that fundamentally shouldn't be. In fact, when there was a question about whether something should be Eternal, I tended to err on the side of caution and make it acorn.

Q: What card(s) were you the most surprised made it into Eternal formats?

The one that shocked me most when Jess said it worked in the rules was Exchange of Words. I was convinced that card was bound to be acorn but was pleasantly surprised when I discovered it could be Eternal.

Exchange of Words

Q: Were Attractions not being Pauper legal by virtue of card count an intentional design choice, or did it just happen to turn out that way?

To explain before I answer the question: There are ten common Attractions, but only eight that are Eternal legal. To use Attractions in a Constructed format, you have to make a Singleton Attraction deck of at least ten cards. Since Pauper only has access to common cards, there aren't enough legal Attractions in the format to build an Attraction deck.

It wasn't a conscious choice. We just made the cards, put them in the rarity that made sense, and judged whether they were acorn or Eternal by the guidelines above. Our general rule is that we make the right decisions for the set, and things get applied to Pauper as the rules dictate. I'll admit I am sad that Pauper players won't get a chance to play with Attractions, as they're quite fun.

Q: Was there any discussion about separating the Commander card pool from Legacy and Vintage to sequester it from Unfinity?

Constructed legality for Commander is run by the Commander Rules Committee and not by Wizards, so it's not something we have control over.

Q: With the hopeful continued success of Un- sets, would you rather continue to explore new tropes or return to Bablovia or the Astrotorium in a future Un- set?

We do Un- sets infrequently enough that I'm more inclined to explore new worlds rather than revisit old ones, but as Unfinity shows, we can have a little crossover between worlds. Both Urza, Academy Headmaster and Spike, Tournament Grinder make an appearance in the set.

Q: With Unfinity representing various aspects of theme parks and carnivals, such as a specific rides, carnival games, shows, etc., are there any specific aspects that you wanted to translate into cards but didn't quite fit the theme?

I think we did a pretty good job of hitting most of the carnival, amusement park, and circus tropes. We made an extensive list during exploratory design, and the finished product represents almost everything we listed. I guess the one area we fell a little shy in was representing specific carnival games. While we have several games on Attractions, we wanted to make sure the flavor matched the minigame you were actually playing, so there were some classic games that fell through the cracks like a shooting gallery or a horse race where you roll balls into holes. We did manage to get a few games as background on cards (the milk ball toss and Grabby Tabby as an example), but that's the one area that we didn't hit everything on our list. The other area we fell short on tropes was science fiction. When we began, I thought we'd have more space to hit basic science fiction tropes than we did. There are spaceships and robots and aliens, but we left a lot of science fiction tropes on the cutting floor.

Q: What card was most fun to design?

Almost all the cards were fun to design, but as this is a question, I'll pick one. I think the earliest card that got designed that made it into the set was Animate Object. Annie Sardelis designed the first card with this effect in exploratory design (animating hand sanitizer), and we knew immediately that it was something special. We had endless fun in playtests animating crazier and crazier objects with it. Early on, it just said "object outside the game," so I animated a fellow R&D member. After that, we added "inanimate."

Q: For Goblin Cruciverbalist, are there any restrictions? Does it have to be a sanctioned word in a dictionary?

Yes, it must be a word you would find in a dictionary. And note, as it says in the FAQ, you're allowed to use each permanent's letter just once. So, if you have three permanents starting with A, B, and N, you can spell BAN or NAB, but not BANANA.

Q: Numerically, is Unfinity larger or smaller than Infinity?

Larger. Unfinity is infinity plus pi.

Q: Why aren't the acorn cards silver border while the Eternal cards keep black border?

For the acorn cards to be silver border and the Eternal cards to be black border, we would need to have them on different printing sheets. This would require a different mix of cards in the two categories than currently exists. Because the acorn/Eternal decision was made late in the process, we were already past the point where those changes could have been made.

Q: Is there a reason Clown Car doesn't reward you for crewing it with all your clowns?

Clown Car

We did have an early version that did that, but none of them played all that well, so we changed to the current version. We decided that all the Clown token making when you cast it represents all the Clowns climbing out of the car.

Q: For Cover the Spot, can I use Planechase or Archenemy cards or only standard Magic-sized cards?

As stated in the Unfinity FAQ, whenever a card requires you use a Magic card from outside the game, it has to be a normal Magic-sized card. Sorry.

Q: For Bar Entry, how did you decide how high to set the bar? Careful measurement of popular staples? Simulations based on popular decklists? R&D's least favorite creature to face with 3 or less power?

So, we took a whole bunch of creature cards we had in the Pit and measured them all. We then set the bar so it would hit about one fourth of the creatures. It was all very scientific.

Q: Do you consider Shahrazad part of the subgame super cycle?

We do.

WhiteShahrazad (Arabian Nights)

BlackEnter the Dungeon (Unhinged)

RedThe Countdown Is at One (Unstable)

GreenTug of War (Unfinity)

Which means, yes, the next Un- set will most likely have a blue subgame card.

Q: What is your personal favorite "Easter egg" in Unfinity?

It's either Bag Check or Prize Wall. Both have a whole bunch of visual Easter eggs in their art.

Q: If I choose a character for Vorthos, does it also count representations of the character or epithets of that character such as a statue or, for Bolas, cards that mention God-Pharaoh?


Yes. If you choose a character, you get all versions of that character, even ones that use a different name. For example, if you say Lim-Dûl, Vorthos, Steward of Myth will also count the Raven Man. If you say Urza, Vorthos will count the Blind Seer. If you say Nicol Bolas (from the past as he currently doesn't have a name), you count God-Pharoah.

Q: Why did Brushwaggs get singled out on the Unique Charmed Pants sticker?

The word "non-Brushwagg" shows up on both Embiggen and the Unique Charmed Pants sticker. The reason for this, other than it being funny, is to prevent these two abilities from being able to target creatures with changeling. We wanted both to be Eternal legal, and if they could target cards with changeling, they'd be too good. "Non-Brushwagg" was our creative solution.

Q: What was the rationale for including shock lands in this product?

For many years, full-art lands were an exclusive of the Un- sets. Because full-art lands now show up in other sets, we wanted to add something new to the land slots. The idea of dual lands with outer space art just seemed too cool to pass up. I asked what dual lands we could have and was told the shock lands. I wasn't going to turn that down.

Q: What are the draft archetypes?

  • White-blue: Name stickers matter
  • Blue-black: Dice manipulation (getting specific die rolls); works well with Attractions
  • Black-red: High die rolls matter (getting rewarded for high rolls); works well with Attractions
  • Red-green: Roll a lot of dice (getting rewarded for rolling many dice in one turn); works well with Attractions
  • Green-white: Ability stickers matter
  • White-black: Hats matter
  • Blue-red: Art stickers matter
  • Black-green: Attractions matter (You're rewarded for visiting a lot of Attractions.)
  • Red-white: Clown Robot aggro
  • Green-blue: Power/toughness stickers matter

"That's It for the Mail"

That's all the time I have for answering questions. Thanks to everyone who sent in a question. I'm sorry I couldn't get to them all. As always, I'd love feedback on this column, on any of my answers, or on Unfinity itself. You can email me or contact me through my social media accounts (Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and TikTok).

Join me next week when The Brothers' War previews begin.

Until then, may you have fun at Myra the Magnificent's Intergalactic Astrotorium of Fun.