Are you ready for Pro Tour Dragon’s Maze? James provides everything you need to know about the countries, players, prizes and more….
Dragon’s Maze Guild Champion Prerelease posters.
R&D has a tool called the Future Future League (FFL for short) where we play Magic as it will be a year into the future. Whenever I talk about the Future Future League, I always get the same question: “Why is it the Future Future League and not just the Future League?” The answer is that at first we had a Future League set six months into the future. R&D soon realized that we weren’t playing far enough into the future, that six months only gave us enough time to identify the problems but not enough time to fix them. R&D solved this problem by making a league an additional six months into the future and dubbed it the Future Future League. I bring this up because today’s topic is the New New World Order…
Gatherer: 199x285 (card space) = 56715 area
: 233x310 (total space) = 72230 area Only 79% is actually card space
: 72230-56715 = 15515 black pixels
Magiccards: 298x431 (card space) = 128438 area (226% bigger than Gather)
: 312x445 (total space) = 138840 area 93% is actually card space
: 138840-128438 = 10402 black pixels (67% less black pixels)
The last image is a super high res of Magiccards.info (which is bigger than the normal ones).
Things Gatherer has over Magiccards.info:
- Cards are available sooner in general
- Colors are generally more vivid (but they’re small, so there’s not much point)
- Cards have consistent quality (Magiccards operates off of scans when new cards come out, and they put up low res placeholders while they work on higher quality ones)
Bloggers, please take note that in general Tumblr will max size your photos to about 500 pixels, resulting in some ugly stretching if you use Gatherer!
Guild Symbol Redesigns with Jeremy Jarvis
Azorius was close and the shape was good. I like the triangle’s implication of a solid hierarchy, but I never liked the literal labyrinth in the center. Even though the Azorius are bureaucratic in nature, I do not believe they would self-identify this way… a maze would not be how they represented themselves on their business cards. We wanted to recreate the spirit and shape without the maze. Richard went about the task of using the law runes that we established on their armor and in their magic to serve the same visual purpose. Now I felt that the icon was on-message, would look good in the art, on the cards, and on a t-shirt. I was excited! Then I showed it to Cavotta. He asked if it would hold up in embroidery. I swear to god, he said that. “Embroidery.” I peed a little and lost vision in my right eye for seven minutes. I’m fairly certain it was a mild rage-stroke. Anyways, the point being: that’s the sort of scrutiny these things were under.
The original was too hectic for my taste. I wanted something more refined and tightly executed. Although the Izzet are chaotic themselves to some degree, I do not think Niv-Mizzet would appreciate his personal seal reflecting this. Plus, I had license to push this one pretty far… the flavor text from the original Izzet Signet is “The Izzet signet is redesigned often, each time becoming closer to a vanity portrait of Niv-Mizzet,” after all.
I felt the Rakdos Guild Symbol lacked the same touches the Rakdos guild itself lacked the first time around. After I floundered on the redesign myself, Richard swooped in for a win. Notice how the horn/knife structures are informed by the motif page.
Again, I felt the original was too preachy on the guild’s ethos. The “snake-recycling” element felt like it was saying “garbage man”… not how the Golgari would self-identify at all. We wanted a symbol that kept the general shape, but that “The Swarm” would rally around proudly.
Selesnya just needed some TLC and clean-up for aesthetic reasons. This was an Adam-Richard combo.
Didn’t touch it. It was already perfect.
Gruul was a beast! (Pun intended.) The original tree-fire/Cyclops-eye was just a casserole of look-bad. We wanted something more tribal… something that could be scratched and smeared on to surfaces as a territorial warning. I wiffed on this one. Badly. I tried twenty or thirty variations and none of them worked. This was another case of a Richard Whitters save.
This just needed to commit to the nouveau shapes that the original teased. You’ll see why in a few months.
Dimir just needed some clean up and a rebuild. The difference is subtle and purely aesthetic.
Lastly, Boros. It was a big departure but got nailed down quickly. I wanted something solid, like their architecture, that felt more like propaganda. Within minutes of me uttering that desire Adam had a version very close to this final design, which I am very happy with.
Talking about Rakdos:
Two weeks ago, I talked about the creation of the Rakdos keyword mechanic, unleash. I explained that the design team had actually started with a completely different mechanic called paincast. I then said you all would see the paincast ability when Rakdos was revealed. Well, here’s the card, so let’s talk paincast.
Rakdos doesn’t have the paincast ability. Rather, he grants the ability to all your creatures. The paincast ability made spells cheaper for each point of damage you dealt this turn to an opponent. The reason we moved away from the mechanic was that it created a very warped game play that forced us to make a bunch of cards that worked well but only in the paincast deck. Also, it was what we call a “rich get richer” mechanic, meaning it tended to most help players when they least needed the help.
We did think the mechanic was very flavorful for Rakdos, but the frustration level of it being unusable when you most needed it persuaded us to look for a different mechanic. As I explained in the article on unleash, there were also other pressures to find something different for Rakdos.
I am glad we got to use the paincast ability on Rakdos himself, because even though it wasn’t something we wanted to support with the guild mechanic I still wanted Rakdos players to have a chance to play with it. Also, because the ability is on Rakdos, it guarantees you already have some build-up before you get a chance to use the mechanic.