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  • So, each Each Titan from Magic 2011 have some triggered ability with an effect somehow iconic to color it represents... Except for Grave Titan? I know that token producing effects are in each color, but isn't this more a Green or White thing? How exactly spawning an army of small creatures used to represents color of cunning and destructive tendencies?
  • Guardian Zendikon. It's a wall! All the other Zendikons actually turn into creatures and start chasing you. It just flips up and... sits there.
    • Quoth the card's description: "Enchanted land is a 2/6 white Wall creature with defender". Yes, it is a Wall, what's the matter?
    • The fact that it's a wall is the problem. Heck, Wall creatures in general. I just don't think it fits well with the flavour of worldwake. Walls have no will of their own, or locomotion, for that matter.
      • A very pacifist Mighty Glacier, maybe? What if it's unmoving by its own will?
    • We don't know it just sits there. After all, it has a power of 2. You could imagine the land erupting under the attackers' feet, battering them and driving them back. That huge disk could grind slowly forward, or shift to continually block the attacker's path.
      • IIRC, Mark Rosewater (The Head Designer) at one point discussed this, and the reason they introduced "Defender" instead of just walls back in Kamigawa was because of this issue. There have been numerous attempts to justify it, and I think the one above is pretty good. Still, if nothing else you can write it off as Gameplay and Story Segregation.
  • Okay, this has been really bugging me, and I think this is the best place to ask. Lotus Petal is listed as a Game-Breaker. Now, I only played Magic for about a week before I quit, but I do have a couple years of TCG experience under my belt and I have to ask, how is trading 1 card for 1 colored mana a Game-Breaker? Even if you have surplus cards, surely one mana isn't decisive, right? What am I missing? I'm sorry, but to me, this card being competitive, much less overpowered, is inconceivable!
    • Lotus Petal is broken for a number of reasons:
      • Speed: the one-land-per-turn rule is inviolate, unless you're willing to go into green, often considered the weakest color in eternal formats. The ability to get one extra mana on turn one (possibly more, if you run/draw multiple Lotus Petals) allows people to do broken things, especially in broken formats like Vintage and Legacy.
      • It's an artifact: this may not seem like much, but being an artifact that produces mana of any color means it can be run in any deck with no drawbacks. Unlike the "fixed" moxen (Mox Diamond, Chrome Mox, Mox Opal) you don't need to jump through card-disadvantaging hoops to get your fast mana, and unlike most ritual spells (Dark Ritual being the gold standard, with cards like Rite of Flame and Seething Song in tier two), it doesn't lock you into a color. It also means it can be recurred easily with things like Yawgmoth's Will.
      • It's a spell: Again, this doesn't look like much, but when you consider how many eternal formats are dominated by bah-roken Storm mechanic, being able to build storm count for free is a big deal. It also means you can rip an entire playset of them with Ad Nauseum and suffer no drawbacks for doing so.
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    • Short version: one extra mana, once, isn't necessarily broken. Elvish Spirit Guide and Simian Spirit Guide do the exact same thing. However, Lotus Petal is the perfect storm: a free artifact spell that gives you mana of any color without additional card disadvantage and can be recurred with ease. It's not broken by itself, but it enables so many broken things.
      • Low-Grade example, albeit a God hand. Turn 1, Swamp, Black Lotus, Dark Ritual, a Pair of Hypnotic Specters. Good luck dealing with a pair of 2/2s that are keeping you free of having to worry about cards in your hand.
  • How do Incite work?
    • Err... Well, it's an Instant, so you play it at any time. Target creature Turns Red, literally and figuratively: it becomes a red permanent until end of turn and attacks if able. (There are no stated penalties if it can't.) What's your question?—or are you just trying to be memetic?
      • Well how would you use it? It see to be useless on a Mono Red Pack.
      • Like most of the red cards that cause a creature to attack, it's not really meant for a monocolored red deck. It can, however, be used against a "utility creature" to help you get it out of the way by blocking with a larger creature, or you could use it with something like Celestial Purge to make a two-part creature removal. Also, you could use it when all of your opponents' creatures are protected from your (nonred) creatures to get around those protections. Overall, it's an unorthodox spell for unorthodox thinkers.
      • And? It's a red core set-only common for 1 CMC that doesn't deal direct damage. Readers on Wizards' own site give it 1.5 stars out of 5. Not all cards are intended to be good. That being said, it does have some (limited) use. If you're not playing mono-red but have, for whatever reason, a card that makes red creatures better, it can make a non-red creature good. Alternatively, if someone is trying to use a color hoser on a non-red creature you have, you can save it. If you don't want to attack because your opponent's defenses are a little too strong and he's not going to attack this turn, you can make him sacrifice a creature you want to kill (or even just tap a creature you don't want him to be able to use as a blocker). Any other uses people want to come up with?
      • Forcing a creature to attack is actually a really powerful effect. Not all creatures were intended to be offensive, and if you can force an opponent's (weak, expensive, otherwise untouchable) "utility creature" to attack, you can block and kill it at your leisure.
      • Also: Bypassing "Protection from (anything but red)" comes to mind. Granted, it's pretty situational, but it's better than nothing.
      • It limited filler. Force utility weenies to attack, pop Ice Cages and any of Blue's grossly undercosted Illusions that say "when _ becomes the target of a spell or ability, sacrifice/destroy it" or hell, even combo with Celestial Purge.
      • Original answerer here: you're assuming it's meant to be played on your own creatures. Have you never encountered a situation where your opponent was saving an important creature that you really, really wanted dead? In this spell you have a solution to that problem. And I'm also with one of the other responders that, while it's not necessarily useful, it's flavorful, and part of the goal of the Core Sets is to communicate how the colors work. Whether or not Wizards should be wasting an entire card on that is something you should decide for yourself. I mean, they wasted an entire card on Lion's Eye Diamond.
      • But Lion's Eye Diamond is really really good: it becomes a Black Lotus when either Yawgmoth's Will (you can go infinite!) or Time Spiral are on the stack.note 
    • Badly. BOOM!
    • Step 1: Incite something very useful but non-red in an enemy's partially red deck. Step 2: Wash Out Red (or similar effect). Step 3: Laugh.
  • The entire Dimir guild. Seriously, how could it remain a secret for such a long time? And how exactly do they find new members?
    • They cover their tracks amazingly well—they can wipe people's memories, for example, and they have secret ways of disposing of "evidence" (as seen in the Ravnica: City of Guilds novel). It helps that most of the populace thinks they're a myth, so they can easily dismiss any stories as lies or legends. As for finding new members, it's probably like the way Szadek recruits Savra in the book—approaching them individually and seducing them with promises of power or whatever.
    • An update is that, a lot of people know the Dimir exist, but the Dimir puts up overt fronts (like librarians, messengers, information brokers, etc) to further hide their covert actions. This allows people to know they exist and think the guild is a shadow of its former self, when in fact, it still carries power and influence in the shadows.
  • Okay, so in Future Sight there's a Myr that looks like a Phyrexian, and a Garrison that's made out of Darksteel, So how come they didn't appear at all in the Scars of Mirrodin block?
    • For your first question, see Mark Rosewater's article on the subject here. As for Darksteel Garrison, it probably didn't make it because it's, frankly, a lame mechanic, and probably unprintable because of the complexity it creates.
      • Wait, Equip for lands is too complex?
      • Ghost Warden, for example, was cut from the core set for complexity reasons. It doesn't look like much, but that simple ability can create very complex board states and make attacking and blocking difficult. Darksteel Garrison takes that same ability and puts it on a permanent that players are trained to ignore in normal gameplay. Now take that fairly basic level of complexity and multiply it by ten, because there would be no point in reprinting the mechanic if it only got one card. All of a sudden we have a whole set full of weird repeated abilities on lands that muck up the board state. Notice how even though Zendikar had a bunch of nonbasic lands, most of them just had comes-into-play abilities, and after that they were normal mana sources that you didn't have to care about.

        It's an issue that was brought up a lot in the Great Designer Search 2.

        Of course, fortifications could have abilities like "Fortified land has 'T: Add 2 to your mana pool'" or whatever, but lands are destroyed so infrequently that the difference between a fortification and an aura would hardly ever come up, so it doesn't even open up any interesting design space (at least not that I can see). It's just not worth the baggage either way.
    • Considering the Scars of Mirrodin block ended with the return of the biggest bad in the Magic multiverse (except perhaps Nicol Bolas) it highly likely we will retun to it eventually. Those 2 cards not being included could just be Wizards subtly pointing to another return.
  • Why is Lord Konda white? He selfishly dragged mortals into a bloody war with the spirits to avoid his own death, isn't that much more of a black thing to do?
    • It wasn't just for himself—he also wanted his empire to have a powerful ruler so that it could stay strong as a society. He thought it would benefit the greater good. He was always strongly aligned with Lawful. Also, he was batshit insane, so dragging the world into the Kami War was probably not a rational decision.
    • White ≠ incapable of selfish acts, just that it doesn't consciously realise that such acts are evil. Look at Kataki, also from Kamigawa (read his vignette in the official site); he too is White, but so utterly insane that he considers miniscule actions to be an afront to his moral code. Similarly, Black characters can be quite helpful, although they would rather have any of their actions benefitting them in some way or another.
    • Short version: Light Is Not Good. Black does not hold a monopoly on selfish actions.
  • Just what is the point of infect? Mark Rosewater claims, quite accurately, that the biggest problem with poison is that it essentially acts as a secondary life total. So why did he believe that the best way to execute poison is by making the main way of dealing it the exact same as the main way of dealing damage?
    Mark Rosewater: Poison, though, functions a lot like life loss. You have a number that changes as your opponent attacks you. When that number reaches a particular spot, you lose. Sure, life counts down and poison counts up, but their feel is pretty similar.
    • Because, IIRC, you can't recover poison counters. Healing cards are common, but poison healing cards are not (again, as far as I know)
      • Not only is that a really superficial difference, but if you're not playing a significant amount of life gain (and, let's face it, not a whole lot of people do), it doesn't make a difference at all. And even so, it still doesn't address the problem addressed in the Rosewater quote above - whether poison or life, you're still doing the exact same thing.
    • Because Infect means you're exclusively wearing away at that, while the old Poison stuff did both... And usually killed the life total first. Why on creatures? Presumably because it being delivered by creatures allows for you to actually do it while establishhing board presence, which is what basically limits milling to rogue decks in most environments rather than making it a major part of most of them... As for the mechanical similarity between winning by hitting a target number (which would exist if it were on spells or creatures, frankly)? Not being delivered by creatures wouldn't change that. Poison is effected by things that effect generic counters provided it doesn't limit it to a permanent (...That basically means 'proliferate,' doesn't it?), Life can be regained, milling accelerates a constantly ticking clock somewhere between 'slightly' and 'a lot'. That, at the moment, seems to be the main difference between the three targets. Oh, and the opponant can, to a certain extent, choose how high or low the target number is for milling.
      • That still doesn't fix the problem that it's essentially the exact same action - attacking with creatures in order to hit a target number. And I know that moving it from creatures to non-creatures wouldn't change anything, but that doesn't mean the current execution is any better. It just feels really awkward that Ma Ro (and other members of R&D) identify the biggest problem with poison, and then their "solution" not only doesn't solve that problem, but exacerbates it to the point where the two are essentially exactly the same thing. Yes, there's proliferate and "poisoned", but both of those would have been fine options regardless of the execution of poison. And those are both very much secondary to infect being the number one main method of poison (what with infect having over three times as many as the other two combined).
      • However it still is different from your life, and as such, it forces you to make between two tough decisions. Either make a permanent mark on a creature you control, or take damage that you cannot recover in standard, and can run ONE card that can deal with it in legacy (Leeches.) In the end, yes it's the same as life, however, it differs in its permanence, and that makes one's thought processes regarding how you deal with combat significantly different.
      • I think the problem Maro had with poison is that the old poison cards added 1 poison counter at a time, meaning that unless you were attacking with a 1/1 poison user you will generally kill someone before the poison matters, the infect mechanic means that you can add multiple poison counters at once instead of one at a time.
      • There is a creature, Marsh Viper from The Dark that inflicts multiple poison counters. And the proliferate mechanic by itself separates poison from damage pretty well (it only takes one poison counter inflicted to lose if enough proliferate is flying around).
      • Infect is a flavor thing mostly, it represents the Phyrexian Corruption. When a creature gains a -1/-1 counter from it, they are becoming Phyrexian, from a story stand point a player gaining the ccounters is dying to the corruption. While it works like a secondary life total it is purely flavour. The corruption is everything Phyrexia.
    • There's one thing you're forgetting. Infect isn't just "Poison: The Remake". It's a poison that also affects creatures.
    • The problem is, Infect only differs from life total in two ways: it's permanent player damage, and it's a lower total to achieve than 20 life. The execution of Infect is far from perfect; perhaps the best part of the mechanic is the Wither-type ability to permanently shrink creatures. Otherwise, Infect gives creatures a 2x bonus to combat damage against players, in cases where the creatures are barely (if at all) over-costed to compensate for the ability. So what is the point? Flavor, apparently. Magic doesn't really need another win condition.
      • "Another"? Infect didn't add a win condition. "Ten poison counters mean you lose" has been a rule since poison was introduced.
      • And on top of that, Wizards has yet to print a creature with 20 power that can easily be tutored, has Trample, is indestructible, and doesn't go away even if it does hit the graveyard. Even a measly Deadly Recluse can stop Emrakul. Yet we have Blightsteel Colossus.
      • Marit Lage is wondering why you forgot him so quickly. Infect is not a strong archetype, as shown trivially by the fact it's not winning modern tournaments regularly.
    • To the basic question of "why combat damage when that's the same means as regular damage." Maro was waiting to try to bring back poison until there was a block that "had to" have poison, and the Phyrexian invasion of Mirrodin fit that criteria. Given that, then, the reason why SOM's Phyrexians deliver poison via combat damage aided by proliferate - as opposed to a different initial means aided by proliferate - is because that's how Phyrexians operate; they corrupt you on physical contact, and once the corruption begins it only gets worse (ie proliferate). So, again, the answer to your basic question is flavor.
  • What exactly is "The Great Work"? I know it has something to do with Phyrexia, but I don't know what it is.
    • Phyrexia IS "The Great Work". In the context of the Scars of Mirrodin block, it refers to the transformation of Mirrodin into New Phyrexia, but it also refers to the spread of Phyrexian corruption in general.
      • More to the point, the "Great Work" is bringing the world/multiverse to Physrexian corruption and influence. Esentially, Manifest Destiny on the grandest scale possible. With a dash of zombie apocalypse and body horror.
  • While the quality of the content is debatable, the cover art of the tie-in novels is usually quite good. However, some of them are downright baffling:
    • The cover of Hazezon depicts the characters very accurately, but the scenes depicted don’t bear any resemblance to what happens in the book.
    • Why does Champion’s Trial have a picture of Ramses Overdark on the cover? Overdark had already been depicted on the cover of Assassin’s Blade, which is appropriate as he is the eponymous assassin. So shouldn’t CT have Tetsuo Umezawa on the cover? It’s a real missed opportunity – Tetsuo’s card art isn’t very good and this could have allowed a better artist to reinterpret the picture.
    • The Darksteel Eye and The Fifth Dawn have card art of random creatures on the cover. Given that they use card art, couldn’t they have had pictures of Slobad, Memnarch or Raksha on them?
    • Why does the anthology The Monsters of Magic have the Sliver Queen, hypnotic specter, masticore and a two-headed dragon on the cover if none of those monsters are featured in the book?
  • How does Ugin even exist? In the current block, we know that Ugin is a native of Tarkir. We also know, that Dragons on Tarkir are born from the dragon tempests (so dragon eggs for example don't exist on Tarkir) so it should follow that Ugin, as a dragon, is born from one of the tempests... except that the MTG wiki states that the dragons storms are CAUSED due to Ugin's special brand of magic that transmutes matter into energy (and we can assume vice versa). Furthermore, Ugin looks nothing like any of the dragons from the broods. How does he exist then? He couldn't have hatched from an egg and dragons as they exist on Tarkir don't reproduce naturally so where the heck did he come from? As it stands, Ugin seems like a logical fallacy without more information.
    • Here's my best guess on that: Ugin belongs to a species of dragon that was native to Tarkir tens or hundreds of thousands of years ago. All the other dragons of his kind died out, but he, being a Planeswalker, survived and set up the Dragon Tempests to produce new dragons for Tarkir. None of the dragon broods look like him because they're each altered by the predominant mana colors where they spawned.
    • Considering Ugin's aforementioned special brand of magic, his colorlessness, and the fact that he looks nothing like the rest of Tarkir's dragons, I've always regarded him as been essentially a god, in an even more direct sense than Nicol Bolas and his fellow "Elder Dragons." He's a supernatural, cosmic being that crated Dragonkind in his image. Where did he come from? Who knows. Where did the gods of Theros come from? Where did the Eldrazi come from? Why does mana? We will probably never know these things.
      • Exactly. Ugin isn't just any dragon; Ugin is a Spirit Dragon, more supernatural than his more mundane dragonic creations.
    • Ugin has been confirmed to be native to Dominaria. He hatched from the same egg as Bolas, which was spawned by the Ur-Dragon.
  • Over at the Rules Lawyer page, it was mentioned that a rule change allowing players to ignore beneficial effects of their cards was revoked when people started to do it with life gain when they had Transcendence out, thus making themselves invincible. Why wasn't it instead ruled that life gain is not beneficial when you have that card out (because it gets you closer to losing), and thus couldn't be skipped? It would be considered beneficial if you were planning to get up to near 20 and then get rid of Transcendence, but you wouldn't ignore the life gain if that was your strategy.
    • Probably because that precedent would open up too many cans of worms, especially given all the strange AW Cs out there.
  • So I understand how each of the colors have capacity for evil but I'm having a hard time understanding how Black can rise above being neutral to good as when black helps it always has the ulterior motive of looking out for itself and doesn't believe in morality in the first place.
    • The colors aren't intended to be absolute templates, which is the reason we can have, say, Elspeth and Heliod in the same block embodying the same color and yet end up with two very different characters. An example of a 'good' Black character is Sorin: pragmatic and ruthless, but generally working to prevent something horrible, or Toshiro, who wants to save his own skin but ends up helping to save Kamigawa. A Black character could do something of great good simply because they wish to prevent something bad happening to them. Star-Lord probably isn't a Black character, but the sentiment of wanting to save the galaxy because you live in said galaxy could motivate a Black character into doing good despite the selfish motivation.
    • Thank you for your answer, I didn't count Sorin because of his white mana and Toshiro because he just wants to save his own life. (Which isn't selfless so not passing neutral.) Bringing up the film version of Starlord got me thinking about Iron Man who IMO now that I think of it seems to be a black character before his character development in the other marvel movies.
    • I was bothered by this again because I realised that Sorin being W/B now muddies the waters, so I actually took the question over to Ma Ro on blogatog and got this reply: 'A character centered in the Black part of the color pie can be heroic in their ends but not very often in their means. They can save the day but it’s never for altruistic reasons. The closest they get is looking out for people that are important to them.' So the idea seems to be what I suggested previously, that Black characters don't act altruistically, only out of their own interest but can end up doing good things in the process ('why do you want to save the galaxy' 'because I'm one of the idiots who lives in it' etc).
  • Summoning creatures is the fundamental strategy for almost all actual Magic players, so why do the characters not do it all the time in the fluff and the stories? Why doesn't Ajani call up a few centaurs when he needs a diversion, or Gideon conjure a few dozen soldiers to fight beside him? Why does Liliana restrict herself to reanimating zombies, instead of creating aetherborn and demons and vampires and all the other goodies Black has in its toolbox?
    • This answerer has only ever read one Magic novel (The Brothers' War), so perhaps I'm not the right person to chip in, but my guesses are as follows: 1) It adds to the Complexity Creep of the novels. You have to justify why Nissa isn't constantly dropping Craterhoof Behemoths all over the place and explain to readers who don't play the game (or at least didn't play Innistrad — I didn't) why the creature is special enough to want in the first place. 2) The way planeswalkers operate in-story seems to be more about being low-profile Guile Heroes, whereas the ones you and I embody when we play Magic are throwing extravagant spells everywhere and not caring who sees us. 3) Stories and games have different needs. Instituting mana or Magic Points makes sense at the tabletop; it does not add tension or interest on the page. 4) It opens too many narrative cans of worms when characters can spawn hordes of Mooks out of nowhere, repeatedly; there's very little you can't solve with a Redshirt Army. TL;DR: Because the story is better when planeswalkers can't or don't do that.
    • They do do it occasionally (in Godsend, Elspeth summons a dozen soldiers to help her fight Polukranos and Nissa summons some elementals to fight an Eldrazi in one of the lore articles), but otherwise it's as above. Plus the general idea is that the Planeswalkers each have different specialisations and abilities, so while some Planeswalkers do learn how to summon creatures, others will specialise more exclusively in various forms of magic or enchantment (which in game terms would be akin to building a deck without any creatures).
    • It an also represent picking up new allies to fight along side you, which planeswalkers do all the time. Gideon, in game terms, would employ a white weenie strategy, but in the lore what he's doing is picking an army whose cause he agrees with and taking up an inspirational leadership position. Meanwhile, Tezzeret manipulated the Consulate to get access to the entire governmental resources of Kaladesh.
    • That might be partly why the cards were changed from "Summon X" to "Creature - X" cards. Technically they're still spells, but phrasing it that way means you can imagine the character joining your side however you want, not just by summon magic.
  • In the Weatherlight Saga, why didn't the crew of the Weatherlight just destroy the Stronghold or at least cripple its Flowstone production capability while they were there to rescue Sisay and fight Volrath? It seems like Urza, being onboard incognito as the Blind Seer, would have told someone at some point that several billion lives could have been saved by preventing the Planeshift between Rath and Dominaria. Even it wasn't an option right that moment, why didn't Urza go back later and planeswalk to the stronghold with a soul bomb?
    • Urza wasn't on the Weatherlight during the events of Rath and Storm. It's possible that he may not have known about Rath and the planar overlay gambit of Phyrexia.
  • If fully-fledged Planeswalkers are only about one-trillionth of the multiverse's population, why do so many seem to appear in the same place within a short time frame? Assuming the planes aren't much more densely populated than Earth, you can expect less than 1% of them to even have one Planeswalker at a given time, but many of the known planes have several. Even if you discount characters who became Planeswalkers millennia apart (like Sorin and Arlinn) or in different timelines (like Sarkhan and Narset), Alara, Fiora, Theros and Zendikar still have at least two each and Kaladesh and Ravnica both have three. Is there something about certain planes that makes them produce more Planeswalkers than expected?
    • The odds of having a spark is itself a one-in-a-million chance, which would lead to a handful of people on every world. But igniting their spark is not random chance, but comes from something tremendous happening to you. So, we get a concentration of Planeswalkers in places where big plot things are happening.
  • Something I hope we get answers on soon, but...why was Sigarda the only Archangel able to resist Emrakul's influence?
    • One possibility would be that since green and white were the colors most strongly associated with Innistrad humanity, Sigarda had a stronger connection to those humans and was able to resist Avacyn turning against them.
  • OK, as of War Of The Spark, we've learned the whole of Bolas' plan! We know why he needed the Eternals, the Immortal Sun, the Planar Bridge... so, why did he want the Eldrazi released? That, after all, was the very thing that started the Bolas Vs. Gatewatch arc and yet... they don't really seem to have benefited him in any way? Was it that he wanted a group like the Gatewatch to form? Why? He already had the Planar Beacon so it's not like he needed to give 'Walkers a reason to come after him. As it is, it just seems like the writers forgot he was the one who engineered their release.
    • I think Bolas released them not out of wanting to get people after him but more of a diversion for the heroic walkers that were bound to appear to stay out of his hair.