You’re a Designer, Harry! #19 – The Classifieds

Welcome, once again, to the You’re a Designer, Harry!, the column where I write about the process of designing a Magic: The Gathering set where you feedback makes an impact on how the set evolves. Undoubtedly, we’ll run into blunders as well as breakthroughs, and the whole journey is documented here.

With that said, last time, I talked about what one of the four-color factions in the set would do in executing its “adventuring party” theme. Each of these creatures with the “adventuring party” mechanic would follow this template:

“CARDNAME and CLASS-TYPE you control have and/or get (ABILITY and/or +POWER/+TOUGHNESS)”

Such as:

“CARDNAME and Warriors you control have flying.”

We also went over what classes would this mechanic care about that forms this adventuring party theme. There’s also determining what abilities and power/toughness boosting should appear on the commons/uncommons. Lastly, how to decide what creatures will grant bonuses to what class types.

Since last time, here’s where we are now on our classes: Warrior, Wizard, Cleric, Rogue. Here’s why:

The most resonant class type across the different fantasy mediums that an “adventuring party” appear in (Dungeons & Dragons, Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft) is the Wizard. Considering the flavor of Magic to be one of traditional medieval fantasy, forming an adventuring party without a Wizard would be a mistake.

Next up is the “fighter.” Every adventuring party needs the melee counterpart of the Wizard. The thing is, while “Mage,” “Sorcerer,” and “Warlock” may all be lumped with the same “Wizard” type; melee fighters have some more diversity to them. There’s Soldiers, Knights, Barbarians, and Berserkers! Oh, my! …However, there’s also the type “Warrior.” Warriors seem best since that’s the type that is most closely resembling being able the fighting. Soldiers feels to much like being a part of a large army, Knights feel too much like they’re carrying out noble service and are often depicted on mounts, and those Barbarians/Berserkers are just too red. So in goes Warriors.

Now, the remaining two slots are less obvious to fill. I’ve had suggestions ranging from Druid to Artificer. So, here’s why I chose Cleric and Rogue:

Cleric – Every good adventuring party has a member for support and healing. A healer. Final Fantasy has the white mage, Dungeons & Dragons has the Cleric, and World of Warcraft has the Priest (forgive me if there’s a better support class as I have never played World of Warcraft). Cleric seems to fit the bill greatly. There’s Druids, but it’s not as resonant or traditional as Cleric. The same for “Monk,” though they seem to be more off-beat, being fighters as well.

Rogue – With two “magic types” of members in the party, it’s good to have another “physical” type of character. There’s a myriad of options, and the strong ones to consider besides Rogue is Archer and Ranger. Archers are awesome, and we’ve seen Legolas of Lord of the Rings be awesome with the bow. However, they’re always carrying around a bow. That has ramifications! That would mean abilities like first strike and reach.

Now, Rangers is not actually an existing creature type. If there are any of you that had been caught by surprise by this fact (those of you with non-meticulous knowledge of Magic: The Gathering such as Aaron Forsythe), then that only reinforces what I want to happen for Magic: make Ranger a creature type.

Why? Well, Magic really has wanted to have Rangers this whole time up until now. Without the type, it’s been a crazy journey to try to define creatures that are, clearly stated, Rangers; by using creature types that is not the Ranger type. Here’s the list of cards with “Ranger” in its name that contain creatures of creature types of all sorts.

However, with making Ranger a creature type, all the older Rangers would need to be errata’d. Then, with that, if a mechanic is made that cares about the Ranger type, this would be a not-so-cool thing when trying to play a deck with Rangers in it.

Because of this, Ranger is not going to be a part of this faction. And, because there’s a class-caring mechanic, Rangers won’t show up in this block. It would just be confusing.

I do say that Rangers need to happen, though. And fast. For the sake of all potential future Ranger cards to be printed, so they can have the Ranger creature type!

So, Archer and Ranger – nay.

Rogues, by the way, have a ton of cards to support the support of Rogues.

Besides, I hear Rogues are kinda a “thing” in World of Warcraft.

O.K., Wizard, Warrior, Cleric, and Rogue. Classic. Now, the colors for the classes. This might be tough considering the 2-color model. However, Jules Robins recommended that we shouldn’t necessarily do away with having 3-colors per class; and, if it didn’t work, we could go down to 2. Incidentally, going to three colors could help us out with the particular classes we’ve chosen. Here’s why:

Warrior: Obviously, red and green. We’ve also seen Warrior in white when it needs to be. And we need it to be in white. Check!

Wizard: Red and blue seem quite fitting for Wizard. Green… not so much. That’s more Druid and Shaman territory. Thus, white!

Cleric: White, yes. Green… a couple times before, so we can do that. Between blue and red: Blue’s protective-type of style can be harnessed by the Cleric.

Rogue: Mostly they’re in black. However, we’ve seen many rogues in blue. Also, a few in red. Between green and white, green has had more Rogues. Besides, green is more likely than white to “go rogue” considering white’s structure-heavy mojo. There’s been a bard in green that’s a Rogue.

Speaking of which… This may just be my personal preference, but: Make Bard a creature type, too, Wizards of the Coast! There haven’t been that many bards so far, but it would be awesome, especially for the bard fans.

With that, I’m concluding this week’s article. I’ve been majorly busy within the past two weeks; but, fret not, I’m mulling over nailing this faction down. It’s a pretty fun theme.

Thanks for reading, guys! Catch me on the tweeterz!


Bradley Rose
Twitter: @bradleyrose

About Bradley Rose

I'm a Timmy/Johnny Melthos red/white/blue kind of guy. And, no, that combination doesn't have anything to do with an affinity for the United States. Here's how I got into Magic: Once upon a time (let's say the year 2000), I bought my first Magic: The Gathering product in the form of a starter of ...Starter 2000. And that's when Trained Orgg's eyes and mine met for the first time. It was true love. Until I traded most of my Magic cards away for Pokemon ones. Whoops. O.K, so once upon a time (This time, 2001), I got into Magic: The Gathering with a shiny new One-Two Punch theme deck of the Odyssey set. And, surprisingly enough, I didn't trade away my ol' Trained Orgg, so in the deck it went, and we fell in love all over again. Flash-forward nearly a decade, and I've won the / Wizards of the Coast "Design Your Own Card" contest. That was neat, but then, a few months later, the Great Designer Search 2 happened. I managed to make it to the top 101 of the 1000 applicants. So, after years of reading Mark Rosewater's Making Magic column along with a rising interest in game design, I managed to prove that (while not the best) I'm more of a Magic designer than the average bear. I'll keep working on putting more ranks in my Magic design skill, and the design articles I write here will help me do just that. Hopefully, any of my readers with a serious interest in Magic design would feel inclined to pursue their interest as well, either by participating in my collaborative design articles or working on making Magic on their own. This effort toward improving my Magic design capabilities correlates somewhat with a single goal I would like to accomplish before I die: Have lunch with Mark Rosewater. Also, I still have that Trained Orgg, and we're still madly in love with each other.

Posted on October 26, 2011, in You're a Designer Harry!. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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