Am I the only one amazed by the quality of design in Magic cards these days???

I know Magic tends to be a magnet for sarcasm and negativity, but I have to confess that in the last few years, the Magic designers have blown me away with their ability to make new and compelling cards every single set.

In years past, there might be a handful of cards that would get my attention, and maybe only 1-2 that were Vintage playable, but it seems recently they have really hit the ball out of the park.

I mostly only play casual, vintage cube, and pre-releases these days, but I still follow Magic closely and still look at each new set for cool playables to put into my infinitely sized cube (32 player cube, sure!!). I used to grab maybe 3-4 cards every set. Now I am finding my cube being overrun with "modern bordered cards." I've been averaging 20-35 cards on my "watch list" the last few sets.

If you are a Johnny, it's the best of years. If you are a Spike, every set you've got something new to work with, and if you are a Timmy....well, have creatures ever been this cool???!! Just look at the Single Card Discussion group these days. It used to be 1-2 breakouts and then a ton of people really trying to stretch play-ability. Now I can barely keep up with all the threads, and many of them are quite viable!

Now if we could just get something done about those borders and artwork.........either way, what a great time to be a Magic player!

last edited by joshuabrooks

I'm with you, man. There's a post here complaining about this very same topic, but I tend to look on the bright side. So many new shiny toys ❤

last edited by fsecco

@fsecco said in Am I the only one amazed by the quality of design in Magic cards these days???:

I'm with you, man. There's a post here complaining about this very same topic, but I tend to look on the bright side. So many new shiny toys ❤

Oh shoot, I totally missed that. This was not intended to be a counter-argument to that post. Maybe not being an active Vintage player has me more excited than others. I don't know what it feels like to play in the current meta, but the card design from the outside has been awesome and amazingly creative in my opinion.

last edited by joshuabrooks

@joshuabrooks

Woot, I'm one of those ton of players trying to stretch playability! (seriously, an infinite cube sounds really cool. I need to make one once I decide to rebuild my paper collection)

I think Wizards has definitely improved their R&D for Standard and Limited. What's more, they are less risk adverse than in the past. War of the Spark was a huge deviation from previous sets and Modern Horizons is explicitly designed to push what can be printed in a set. This can be frustrating for Vintage because the restricted list isn't a great mechanism for addressing mistakes, but it's also cool for those that like evolving and changing formats. I say that as I've just had Narset cast turn 1 against me 3 times in the past 4 games and want to find every copy of the card and personally light it on fire.

@fsecco It's contextual. People think that cards have inherent power levels but that's not true. Narset is much more powerful in Vintage because it can be cast earlier (turn 1) and find things like Ancestral Recall, Timetwister, and Force of Will. Karn is more powerful because it can also be cast on turn 1 and shuts down a third of some decks mana bases...oh and it grabs Key-Vault from the sideboard. And cards don't go away in Vintage so we're still stuck with Dig and Cruise while every other format has gotten rid of them. So it's easy to see why Vintage can be disproportionately impacted by mistakes from a more aggressive design policy. But I think it's good for Magic in general.

last edited by Guest

@chubbyrain hahaahahaha I'm in love with Narset but I play more Legacy than Vintage nowadays and there she's much more balanced 😛

Vastly prefer sets with well-designed powerful cards. Most of my fun in Vintage is brewing with the insane mana bases that we get (e.g Bazaar, Workshop, Moxen).

I also vastly prefer not being shy about restrictions so hopefully if any of these cards are too powerful they will pull the trigger in a timely manner (contrary to what they did with Mentor and Lodestone).

I tend to separate cards that are powerful/viable in competitive decks from cards that I like the design of personally. War of the Spark has a lot of the former but only a couple of the latter, for me. But Modern Horizons is my favorite set in terms of card design in many, many years. I haven't enjoyed seeing a set previewed this much since Time Spiral.

last edited by craw_advantage

I am also impressed with the design recently. I remember drafting Kamigawa block and thinking "Isn't there some other game we can be playing?" But now I just want to play Magic.

It saddens me, actually, that WotC spends most of its time cranking out dross like Theros and Ixalan and Battle for Zendikar when it is capable of designing War for the Spark and Modern Horizons instead.

@evouga said in Am I the only one amazed by the quality of design in Magic cards these days???:

It saddens me, actually, that WotC spends most of its time cranking out dross like Theros and Ixalan and Battle for Zendikar when it is capable of designing War for the Spark and Modern Horizons instead.

While I do agree with you, this is most certainly because their aim is to cater to a wider variety of players. Vintage players tend to like powerful sets such as War of the Spark, but if you look into the feedback the limited play of WAR is getting, it isn't very positive.

So I'll take the fun and broken sets as and when they come. 🙂

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