[Community Discussion]: The flavor of sets and blocks
Posted on April 15, 2017, 12:20 p.m. by Epochalyptik
So it's spoiler season again, as it often is around here. This time, our Community Discussion centers on new sets and blocks, but looks at their flavor and feel rather than the individual cards themselves.
What qualities in a new set or block are likely to capture your attention? Do you look for interesting themes across cards? Is the lore important to how you think about the setting? Do you want to see reimaginations of popular ideas (such as Innistrad with classic horror or Theros with Greek mythology), or would you rather see new ideas unique to the multiverse?
What about execution? What features indicate to you that the designers' ideas have been well executed? Do the cards in a set need to synergize or play off of one another? Do colors need to have a distinct identity? Is the quality of a set or block overall more or less important to you than the quality of individual cards?
Is it important that cards stick to their colors' roots, or would you rather see innovation in the context of a block? Do you care more about the way a set or block fits into the context of a particular Constructed format, or are you more interested in the experience they build in Limited? Is it a bonus to you when you can build thematic decks using cards from across multiple blocks, or do you only care that blocks be cohesive on their own?
Lots to think about!
Although I do like blocks that are based off of already established mythology or themes, I would like to see more blocks with new ideas entirely. I think that Kaladesh is a great model for this type of plane. I liked the main ideas of Kaladesh, id est steam punk and revolution, which weren't really modeled after anything specific that I know of. The story is also very important to the block and the main themes of the block. I wasn't playing during RTR or Khans, but having separate color groups, especially 3 colored ones, sounds nice.
April 15, 2017 1:23 p.m.
I enjoy the magic multiverse. I don't have a whole lot of complaints regarding flavour.
Ive been around since the original innistrad block, so I've seen the rise of Planeswalkers and how they affect certain sets. They're cool and flavourful, and can be powerful tools in decks.
Now they feel overused since the creation of the "gatewatch," which I have mixed feelings about. One one hand they are a driving force behind the game, yet it feels so "gimmicky?" Like we've all seen this before, this group of heroes gathering together from all different walks to kick ass and take names.
Maybe I'm just forgetting how magic was, in that sense. I miss what the stories from the plane of dominaria gave us. The Urza/Mishra wars, the story of Gerard, and of teferi, mirri, those people.
But they never had four-five iterations of themselves throughout the sets, besides the timeshift events. Compared to that of the weatherlight saga, the gatewatch, -and Planeswalkers in general- don't feel as unique, as mythic, as they used to be.
Maybe they'll take the gatewatch in a different direction, but right now it feels like I'm watching the justice league, or the avengers. They look like superheroes, not godlike enigmas who roam the multiverse in search of... Whatever they are looking for.
I feel like I may have stretched the goal of this thread a bit, but Planeswalkers are flavour, I digress.
April 15, 2017 2:43 p.m.
As much as people gush about flavor, (which there definitely has been) I would like see more synergies or sub themes, so often it seems that a set/block cant decide to spend its efforts on making cards individually strong/powerful/meaningful or making the whole set feel "on theme" and they mix it around a lot.
I do prefer staying closer to the colors/combinations roots, although i don't mind adding onto what was already good.
April 16, 2017 12:11 a.m.
What matters to me the most are decent Standard cards.
I like to see either a new theme that I can build around, like Vehicles, or a recurring theme that I love to play, like Minotaurs, Dragons, Artifacts, etc.
There need to be cards that interest me, but would probably not be popular with other people.
I am interested in the story, depending on what it is.
Eldrazi vs Allies was easy for me to follow. As was the entrance of Emrakul.
I like to see good cards primarily.
If they can play with any colour other than I am happy.
I am also interested to see if any new cards will strengthen my Commander decks.
April 18, 2017 3:52 p.m.
what i believe to be very important in cards is that if they are depicting magic lore, the power of the card should make it feel as that of the scene in the story itself.
for example, Fall of the Titans depicted chandra burning down the eldrazi titans. the card dealing damage and being red fits with chandra, and the surge mechanic fits with chandra teaming with nissa. it may not be good enough to be standard playable, but anyone casting this for a lot of mana using surge can feel the absolute game winning power in their hands. that is what this card should be like, not something super easy to do or broken (or the eldrazi titans would've been dead faster), but once done, is very powerful.
i don't generally care what the theme is, as long as the theme doesn't ruin the 'magic' of Magic, and there is a underlying story to it. colors don't matter as much, as long as they fit general colorings (for example, elves being almost always green), and if they don't stick to their regular colors, there should be a reason that makes sense. for example, lorwyn elves having black.
April 18, 2017 10:31 p.m.
For me the most important aspect is, if there are any top cards in the set that are playable in eternal formats, especially legacy and commander. Also important is the potential value and if it justifies buying a display or more than one...not necessarily monetary value but how many cards I can probably use if I buy a whole box of boosters. With Amonkhet the value for me is enough to buy more than two displays for example, as there are a lot of cards I would like to buy as singles for my decks anyway.
As for the story, I haven't followed the lore for quite a while. The whole gatewatch thing is a bit weird, like having superheroes (as other People have already said). Years ago the main characters were different, with more flaws and everything and they also didn't always get a Card for themselves and if so, the cards wer not the most powerful (compared to their skills as described in the books). Today we have basically immortal planeswalkers in the story, a lot of cards on which they are shown, and most of them are weak. If the card design followed the story, no Jace planeswalker could possibly be less powerful than the mind sculptor for example...