Mirrodin Pure Community Set Design

continued...
Fri, 2012-03-30 18:45
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

@Kagerowrs

The problem is, actual removal of counters of any kind is a mechanic Wizards hasn't gone into much and it's certainly an area that has been exploited in meta because of that.

When you look at the lore of the block or the mechanic as a whole there's every reason to be building around the idea of counter removal or turning the game around based on being poisoned.

Rumor has it that Wizards trumped their "faction competition" and opted for New Phyrexia entirely because they couldn't figure out good mechanics to fight infect. If that's true, I tend to see doing a Mirrodin Pure block as a chance to say "Hey guys, this is how we would do it".

I have't been posting long here, but I've been lurking off and on for a while. I tend to think this community has a better then average mindset of development. I just hope this direction isn't a "Wizards couldn't do it, why do we think we can" attitude. Often times some of the best innovations comes from the community that company services. Beyond that, its not like we have deadlines unlike Wizards.

Fri, 2012-03-30 19:54
Kagerowrs

@Lighthammer - There is no Rumor, they know how to make good mechanics to fight infect, it is just that 'Mirrodin Pure' didn't existed at all. That 'Faction Competition' was a joke that should most of the person with story writing experience would never fall onto it.

Because, simply put - What is good of Mirrodin Pure? Absolutely None. Heck. I can even guess Avacyn Restored will be end up in bad ending, or hint something inevitably bad will happen, if they don't. Their story writer is abandoning Innistrad completely.

Phyrexian can use Poison as their resources whenever they want, that is what your Mirrodin Mana suggested. Use 'Poison Counter' as a resource instead. What 'Corrupting Mind' eventually does it giving opponent who doesn't use Phyrexian card penalty - and give you advantage. While Cleansing Mind does exactly same if you don't use Phyrexian card.

I'm guessting reason why Wizard never get onto the card that removes a Poison counter, because Phyrexia is going to win. Simple - If you have to make a multiple battle, life can be gained, but poison counters can't be removed, and you slowly crumbles to the hand of Phyrexia.

Mirrodin Pure should reverse this - But directly removing Poison counter isn't really what player would want. Because there is a plenty of deck that doesn't use Poison - but powerful. That means that cards with additional cost/ or just removing poison counter will be completely abandoned and be useless after it rotates out.

But if we allow players to remove Poison counter without any kind of burden - What is the point of printing infect in first place?

Mechanism that Vampire Hexmage and Hex Parasite have is limited - which means it cannot be used for many cards.

So, I propose an idea.

Using reversed version of Proliferate can't be happen because it is too complicated... Then

Make another counter that is given directly to player that is Exactly reverse of Poison Counter.

Like +1/+1 and -1/-1 cancels out each, this counter will also cancel out Poison counter if they're existing at same time.

And if you get X amount of them. You 'Win', not 'Lose'. Since 'Winning the game' effect is stronger then 'Lose the game' effect, it should need more counter then Poison to trigger.

Also, if it hits creature, it gives +1/+1 that can cancel out -1/-1 of infect. (Thus also requiring reverse of infect.)

Now the problem is how can we give this counter a flavor that is good enough to be realistic, and make this mechanic less confusing when it exists in same place as infect. Because there is two counters that can cancel each other out.

Zendikar -> Worldwake
Rise of Eldrazi
Scars of Mirrodin -> Mirrodin Besieged -> New Phyrexia (Notice that Worldwake and Rise of Eldrazi is seperated and NPH is connected.)
Innistrad -> Dark Ascension
Avacyn Restored (And there goes disconnection again!)

Mirrodin Pure would be more like "Scars of Mirrodin -> Mirrodin Besieged / -> Mirrodin Pure". Seperated instead of connected. That might allow usage of such counters.

Fri, 2012-03-30 21:01
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

@Kagerowrs

There's a lot of good things in this post. I want to work down the post in order, so please bare with me.

First, the point of Wizards with "anti-infect" --- I'm sorry, I'm not going to be able to cite this because there's no doubt a lot of dust on this so take it as you will. During one of the daily ramblings at Wizards I remember them talking about "anti-infect" and how, in play testing, they just weren't liking how things were turning out. There's certainly been other instances where Wizards came up against a deadline and decided they were going to drop a mechanic and de-effencise a mechanic, not necessarily because they didn't think they COULD balance, but because they felt it was going to be too timely to or they didn't have particular good ideas on it just then.

That being said, of all the developers out there, Wizards is probably one of the ones I respect the most, but even when you respect someone you have o be willing to say "I understand your reasoning, but I think I have an idea of how to do it". I just need to be clear on the point, that from a personal perspective, just because Wizards says they don't like it or can't do it (or don't have enough time to do it), it doesn't mean it's a mechanic that someone else can't properly implement.

/rant about development done there

Regarding the actual design of cards, Kagerowrs, that's actually an interesting idea of how to work in anti infect. It could easily be a card that is the anti-thesis of Black Sun Zenith. Instead of focusing on a tool like "Deliferate", the "cured Mirrodin" cards could focus on +1/+1 counters where infect focused on -1/-1 counters.

So pulling from the "Crusader Cycle" in Scars, you could have a card like this:

"Green" Crusader 1 mana symbolGreen mana symbolGreen mana symbol
Creature - Human Knight Rare
2/2
First Strike, protection from black and blue.
Purity (When this creature deals damage, you may place a +1/+1 on target creature for each damage dealt. When this creature deals damage to a player, you may remove a poison counter from yourself.)

I'm not wholly satisfied with that concept, but that's an interesting starting point. The only immediate problem I see with that, is infect somewhat acted as the counterbalance to Double Strike. This almost feels like it's adding a balance to a balance that's a balance lol.

That being said, I've explored other ideas that act as anti-thesises to double strike, so on a personal level, I don't necessarily have a problem with this. On the realistic side of things however, any mechanics like that aren't necessarily things players will have access to.

Fri, 2012-03-30 22:04
Kagerowrs

That tells me, Proliferate is ironically helping Mirran in this case! this might explain Urabrask's Betrayal.

How about this?

Purify (You may prevent all damage this creature deals to creature to put a +1/+1 counter on it or you get a Reaction Counter for each damage prevented this way.)

Reaction Counter
A PLAYER WITH FIFTEEN REACTION COUNTERS WINS THE GAME. IF THE PLAYER WITH REACTION COUNTER HAVE POISON COUNTER, REMOVE A REACTION COUNTER TO REMOVE A POISON COUNTER.

Poison Counter
A PLAYER WITH TEN POISON COUNTERS LOSES THE GAME.

(Since deduction ability would be for Reaction Counter, I didn't think it is nessesary to put on Poison Counter token.)

Overall, Somewhat more flexible in term that it can actually deal normal damage. (At least against player.) but balancing out by required amount of counters, and way creature gets +1/+1.

I think wording is definitely flimsy. So I would request someone to fix them.

Still, How funny. Phyrexian 'Proliferation' is now actually backfiring them to retreat (after all, if opponent wins. I would run like hell, if it is real life.)

This might actually explain whole lots of flavor.

Fri, 2012-03-30 22:33
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

I think I get your concept, the first problem I see with it is it essentially is a single card that can "deinfect" itself or de-poison you. For that situation, it would just be easier to simply give it protection from black and green or possibly protection from -1/-1 counters being placed on it in the first place.

Dealing damage to de-poison you, although certainly interesting, doesn't feel 'right' to me. That's almost like attacking someone to heal grievous wounds on your body.

It seems to be that, without introducing a ton of new keywords, there should almost be an in block esoteric way to deal with infect and then a broader way to with -1/-1 & poison counters. I certainly agree on +1/+1 being a no brainer and very smart way to deal with infect on the creature.

You know, thinking about this on the broader scale (pardon me, I am brainstorming whilst I type here!) another way to tackle poison that would have relevance inside both older and newer blocks might to be offer something that simply cleanses you of negative effects or suspends their effect on you (in part, for a time or permanently depending on CMC and rarity).

Here would be an interesting card IMHO.

Soul Cleansing 2 mana symbolRed mana symbolWhite mana symbol
Sorcery Rare
Remove all counters from you and destroy any number of enchantments that affect you.

Some cards like that would be interesting, but I'm unsure how I feel about the balance there. That is awfully powerful of a card and may need to cost more or scale down the effect. That's something I would consider tinkering with in play testing. Then again, with how fast infect can knock you out, that might be on target.

Just as a side note: I'm not sold on the keyword name "Purify", I tossed it out because in context it makes sense, but in the broader light, a keyword like purify could probably be used for a more prolific effect.

Fri, 2012-03-30 22:46
Kagerowrs

How about those versions?

Purify (You may prevent all damage this creature deals when it blocks to put a +1/+1 counter or you get a Reaction Counter for each damage prevented this way.)

Or

Purify <manacost> (Pay <cost>. If you do, Put a +1/+1 counter or you get a Reaction Counter for each damage dealt to this creature from opponent source this turn.) (Or can use An untap symbol.)

Sat, 2012-03-31 03:38
Ayxmirdyrer

I like the purify <cost> one, but the name should be changed, especially if the counters are called reaction counters, wouldn't it logically be called "React?"

Perhaps, they discovered an energy that creates some kind of reaction (duh) and this makes them very powerful, but more importantly, at least for them; it purges their bodies of Phyrexian oil. This energy is infused in bright/puresteel (or whatever we were going to call it).

I keep thinking of Darksteel Reactor, just going to link it for possible inspiration from here.

Sat, 2012-03-31 05:45
Kagerowrs

@Ayxmirdyrer - Good guess. 'Reaction' Counter actually did named after Darksteel Reactor, which is a Alternate Win Condition Card from Mirrodin Block.

Idea was that Reaction Counter would 'Violently' react against Poison Counter if they contact it, removing both.

If a player is running Reaction Deck any way, probably only win condtion they're striving for would be the 15 Reaction Counter victory.

For the name, I need to think for while.

Sat, 2012-03-31 08:43
Guitarweeps
Friendly MSE Designer
Guitarweeps's picture

Sorry I have been out, I am currently on a business trip overseas. I am currently finishing up The Quest for Karn which is helping gain perspective on Phyrexia and maybe how Mirrodin Pure should be.

Ok, so some comments on things mentioned:

On the anti-infect issue...
We had many ideas considered for this but the most important thing to keep in mind is that we cannot cripple infect strategies in constructed or limited. That makes it no fun and removes an entire archtype that the block stands for out of the question. For the storyline, Phyrexia takes tremedous resistance from Mirrans but is not completely obliterated. THe reason for this is that Phyrexia is the big bad guys of all magic history. Having Mirrans destroy them and infection completely will nueter them for further blocks. In our storyline what turns the tide of the war is the discovery of Meliria who is immune to the infection and Venser's study of her; as well as, the invention of puresteel by Venser and Tezzeret (a combination of darksteel and etherium). This metal is incredibly strong and grants immunity from infection. They use this to cleanse Karn. The key among it all is that Mirrans are able to prevent the infection, not cure it. Because of this we won't feature many cards that remove poison or counters, certainly not mechanics or themes. +1/+1 counters are out because we are not going to have -1/-1 counters and +1/+1 counters featured in the same set. So far, the agreed upon ways to "fight" Phyrexia are these:

- Puresteel which is indestructible and prevents -1/-1 from being placed on the creature.
- Increased poison threshold to lose the game.
- Single rare or mythic that does +1/+1 counters in some way.

On curing poison - the reason WotC did this because if you can remove them, poison is just like a life total... just counts up instead. If you can't remove them than each infection is closer to death and you can't do anything about it but not get hit again. In my drafts I found that this made infect more fun and impactfull. I would say a single mythic would be ok but other than that, nothing can remove poison counters.

War - New Phyrexia was always known to win. In fact, the Scars block was originally going to be the New Phyrexia block to start out until they decided to tell the story about how New Phyrexia came to be. Which I think means we will see the New Phrrexia block someday. Fingers crossed!

Check out my updated set hub.

Sat, 2012-03-31 10:32
Kagerowrs

Let's say 'Puresteel' Isn't a boring mechanic. I don't think 'Increased poison threshold' is good idea, it is too narrow.

Reaction Counter / Rending (Well, new name for Purity.) is mechanic that is striving for exactly samething as poison in exact reverse - You gain them enough to win the game, thus even it doesn't go against Poison. It still have uses oneway or another.

Increasing Poison Threshold, however. Is only available specifically against Poison. Probably not going to be ludicriously powerful, and if it doesn't. It is probably not going to be useful. Heck, Grafdigger's Cage Covers much more at extremely low cost of 1 mana symbol, but I barely saw more then two of them in side.

Puresteel Preventing -1/-1 is mostly going to be just 'indestructible'. Wizard avoided this problem by making Puresteel Paladin does equipment support instead of meta poison.

If Mirran is really winning, we can divide SoC and MB with MP like RotE did with Zendikar and Worldwake. Although it is more likely going to be Innistrad and DA with Avacyn Restored Division.

Tue, 2012-04-03 01:04
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

The thing you have to keep in mind when designing any counters to infect, is the effect can't be so esoteric that its used in this block and then never looked at again.

The last thing you want to do is create a situation like the use of the keyword Flanking. It's largely considered overpowered outside the block it was intended because nothing can keep it under control unless you design a deck around it.

Infect just doesn't have tools traditionally available to keep it under control.

When you look at what happens at grand prixs, is you tend to have one strategy that dominates and you can either pick a strategy that counters it, attempt to mimic the same strategy (in which case its whoever makes the first blow wins) or have a deck that's built different.

History teaches us that strategies that counter another strategy are weak in the broadest spectrum because they designed for one intent: to counter.

That being said, hard counters shouldn't be problematic, because if someone wants to make a deck that directly counters infect, they are likely to get dominated by almost every other strategy. Not to mention, lets face it, in casual, its pretty mean to want to make a deck designed SPECIFICALLY to counter another person's deck. I know it happens, but I'd like to think in most circles, people wean away from doing that. At the very least, its frond upon.

Likewise, a deck that has some protection from infect shouldn't be built with that strategy exclusively. A good deck based in the block should be able to mitigate with the effects of inflect without crippling an overall strategy. Likewise, any infect deck should have access to tools to circumvent being countered.

If you want to go with the story element that Phyrexia is the big bad guy (which I would argue you still have Eldrazi and Slivers to contend with), then having some counters for this breed of the Phyrexian plague shouldn't be problematic as long as Phyrexia ALSO has access to tools that can further expand their influence and power.

Counter decks just aren't strong enough to realistically fear allowing a strategy to materialize around their existence.

Tue, 2012-04-03 01:09
Makuta Miserix
Makuta Miserix's picture

Well, keep in mind that infect is essentially a combination of poisonous and wither, so infect isn't really new territory, it's just a new exploration of the idea. Lorwyn block was centered around counters and multicolor, and several counter based stratagies came to be through those.

Tue, 2012-04-03 01:25
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

True.

Also, we can't forget that Infect was, on some level, meant to be Black and Green's answer to double strike. That's something else a lot of people absolutely often forget.

The only problem is --- Wizards kind of neglected to consider what happens when you combine the two :-|

Tue, 2012-04-03 05:09
Kagerowrs

Rending was design in mind that if someone is using poison, it is highly unlikely for Rending to be used in a way to 'Prevent' Poison. After all, Rending away to 15 reaction counter is probably only way for player to win if that player wanted Rending deck that directly go against Poison.

Infect prevents Rending from winning, at same time, poison deck is disturbed because Rending deck would not be killed as other normal deck - it has mild protection against poison. however, if Mirrodin Pure doesn't concern anything related with 'Cleansing of Corruption', which was actually one of Melira's ability introduced during Quest for Karn, Mechanic 'Rending' would not make anysense in term.

Tue, 2012-04-03 12:32
Guitarweeps
Friendly MSE Designer
Guitarweeps's picture

Yeah, I am currently reading The Quest for Karn and just read where Melira can cleanse the infection. I think in the early stages and only with the amplification of blinkmoth's. Either way, cards that counter infect strategies need to be carefully balanced as to not completely destroy playing it in constructed and limited.

Check out my updated set hub.

Mon, 2012-04-09 14:15
Guitarweeps
Friendly MSE Designer
Guitarweeps's picture

Ok, so the set file link is now updated. I made some changes to a few cards and some of the faction/rarity distribution. Please take a look here and let's get started on this.

For now, continue the general discussion.
Everyone go ahead and design a living weapon vertical cycle (except for mythic). So design Colorless mana symbolBlue mana symbolRed mana symbol versions. Then we will compare and discuss.
We will come back to the Praetors at a later time.

Thanks to everyone who has remained interested in this despite me taking a break with the Game of Perfection and delay during my recent business trip overseas.

Check out my updated set hub.

Thu, 2012-04-12 01:39
Ayxmirdyrer

Ok, so here's my cycle; yes, they are living weapon versions of previous equipment.

Spoiler:
Pyroshrieker 3 mana symbol
Artifact - Equipment Colorless mana symbol
Living Weapon
Equipped creature gets +1/+1 and has "Red mana symbol: This creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn."
Equip 2 mana symbol

Deadstrider 1 mana symbol
Artifact - Equipment Blue mana symbol
Living Weapon
Equipped creature gets +1/+1.
Whenever equipped creature blocks or becomes blocked by a creature, destroy both creatures.
Equip 2 mana symbol

Molten Slayer 5 mana symbol
Artifact - Equipment Red mana symbol
Living Weapon
Equipped creature gets +1/+1 and gains "Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, that player sacrifices a land."
Equip 3 mana symbol

Story goes Urabrask found some artifacts and reforged them.

Thu, 2012-04-12 02:44
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

-----------------------------------------
TL/DR
-----------------------------------------

Black and Green really needs a compelling strategy in Scars that's NOT infect. Realistically, every other color in Scars has something else you can do.

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Backstory
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Up until last summer, my decks were really hodge podges of "whatever it took to make the strategy work" where as now, I usually try to limit myself to the block and really absorb the strategies that Wizards tried to make work.

When I go on deck making binges I usually like to pick a block and design a deck based around each color. I find it's a great tool for helping me familiarize myself with a vast array of cards in modern and at least understand the basic strategy most people might be going for in that format. It's especially helpful since I really only started playing magic around Alara and didn't really get into it till around Scars. I find its extremely helpful really learning the old strategies. Less I digress though.

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Where this gets relevant to this thread
-----------------------------------------

I finally started on a block I've been dreading: Scars of Mirrodin. I've never actually been a huge fan of artifacts and was even less happy with Wizards making Scars have so many obvious strategies and deck builds --- thats really the reason I've avoided making decks based on Scars till now.

To get around needing to make decks that were all but cookie cutter builds, I ended up "merging" Mirrodin and Scars of Mirrodin together to dream up some interesting strategies.

- White I ended up going with an Auriok strategy.
- Blue I ended up largely basing straight up on Artifacts with some strong elements of Neruok.
- Black I actually had a lot of fun diving into Moriok and was absolutely able to avoid making an infect strategy.
- Red I tried really hard to make a Vulshok based deck but was sadly unable to. I ended up going with Kuldotha, but tried to make it a little less convention then the standard, net deck, Kulthoda Red strategy.

Green oh green --- how I tried to come up with a good strategy that's NOT infect with you, but how you disappointed me.

Tribe wise, Green has:
- Ezuri
- Viridian (largely infected)
- Sylvok

Of all three of those tribes, precisely NONE of them actually have a coherent "NOT" infect strategy for it.

I've been really thinking in terms of what I think a non-infect green deck should do on Mirrodin and I keep coming back to the same conclusion: it feels as though green should have a very anti-infect and possibly even to some degree anti-artifact strategy. It almost feels as though they should be a principle party that punishes those infected who are trying to spread the infection.

Melira, Sylvok Outcast seems like a principle character to build around.

Honestly, what I am really playing around with in my head is almost a Sylvok version of Disiple of the Vault (hopefully without the aspects that made Wizards ban that card).

That being said, to be a strategy viable outside of the block, I find myself really feeling like there should be mechanic that allows Sylvok to do things as though they were artifacts / infected under certain circumstances otherwise, the strategy would become simply an "anti-infect" or "anti-artifact" strategy which won't make it competitive on any level. Something like Liquimetal Coating except no a bigger scale would be something a deck like this would need.

That being said, I do want to point out that Vulshok needs some loving too. There's just nothing to really build a strategy around it. Consider Koth is a Vulshok, I find this to be problematic.

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Other stuff
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In this thread there's been talks about Puresteel vs Darksteel. I wanted to point out that another metal that exists on Mirrodin is Quicksilver.

It might be interesting to build a concept that there's one major metal type for each cycle.

For instance:
- White = Puresteel
- Blue = Quicksilver Steel
- Black = Darksteel
- Red = Burningsteel
- Green = Natural Steel

Not sold on names persay, but that's not a bad element to throw around.

-----------------------------------------
Conclusion
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That being said, I'm going to go ahead and design some cards for a side project related to this one where I'm going to try to build based on feedback for the whole set that this thread has talked about. Ultimately my goal is make a deck that allows for the strategy to work without being grossly under or over powered.

When I'm done, I'll throw up my MSE file and TPTB are welcomed to scavenge what I made for use in this set.

-----------------------------------------

Now feedback on current file:

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COLORLESS
==============================

Puresteel Golem: Great concept, but it really needs a new keyword for this version of Imprint. Doing some quick hunting around, a potential keyword that sticks out to me that might work is "Forge".

==============================
WHITE
==============================

Equipped for Battle: Considering the sheer amount of cards that exist currently to equip things for cheap or free (IE Puresteal Paladin, Magnetic Pull, etc) this card is either over costly or not powerful enough. I'd almost consider dropping the mana by one or possibly adding a metalcraft ability that allows you to equip any number of equipment (or limit to like 3). Both wouldn't even be bad.

Forged for Battle - Same issue exists there. 6 is very costly for this effect, especially for a rare, especially since it has a heavy color weight TOO. 2WW might be expensive enough.

Healer’s Spellbook - I'll point it out here since I am seeing it here. The color weight is interesting, but I should point that this is technically a hybrid white artifact card, not just a white artifact.

Lifeforce Ward - This card is way too expensive. You're exiling a card on the battlefield AND paying 4. Unless the intent is to be able to exile enemy cards with it, this is pretty extreme in cost.

Loxodon Guardian - Largely a suggestion, I've used the third mechanic "blocks, all other blocking creatures get +0/+1 until end of turn" in my custom sets. I call it Faithful. Also, I'd suggest for an uncommon, this card might be slightly over cost and need a few other tweaks up and down. I'd drop (1), drop its power by 1 (or heck, even 3). This card looks largely poised to be a defender with added benefits, I'd let it do that and set its power and mana cost accordingly.

Loxodon Phalanx - Again, most certainly too expensive and probably slightly too much power and toughness. I'd drop the CMC to 3W and the PT down to 1/4.

Resilient Bladehold - Interesting mechanic. I wanna play test it and see if I like it!

Shikari Glintblade - Something seems off about the effect vs the CMC vs the PT. This is one of those things I'd want to play test and see how it feels.

==============================
BLUE
==============================

Ichor Mist - who-a --- That effect seems pretty insane. I know the CMC is high and the PT is low, but whoa. I guess I really need to see how it feels once again.

Magnetic Withdrawal - Neat card --- I'd love to place a keyword on the "for each artifact you control" aspect, but unsure how helpful it would be throughout the rest of the set. Its almost like reverse affinity. That being said, I would advise caution as affinity did get out of control. Finally, I wonder if this card shouldn't have a metalcraft cost to prevent some early game exploitation.

Obsidian Assimulator - this card seems a little high on the CMC, especially for a rare, and especially with 3 blue mana. It should either be dropped to 3UU or 1UUU. I have a feeling this is a cycle card and if that's the case I'd advise addressing the CMC there too.

Plated Drake - Might be a little cheap. I'd suggest a CMC of 2U.

Quicksilver Deeptrow - Painfully overcostly. I think 3UU might be more reasonable for a common.

Scholar’s Spellbook - You can do the same with a spellbomb which is also a common and has a CMC of 1. Why would anyone use this?

Serum Rapture - Nifty card.

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BLACK
==============================

Necromancer’s Spellbook - This spellbook is much more reasonable for its cost. Might still be slightly too much of a pain to use. Might consider going two counters on all these.

Phyrexian Plagueliege - This card is really underpowered for its cost.

Praetor’s Mindstrobe - Interesting card. Seems potentially too powerful. Must see in play testing.

Selective Revival - I'd say you should pick the cards and your opponent chooses which you get. Going to the battlefield MIGHT be too strong though.

Vault Specter - Very nicely on target. I would suggest that if you are going to be tinkering with discard, you should consider adding a slight bit more support in the terms of something like Megrim or The Rack.

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RED
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Forge Firepriest - Fun card, but I wonder if its not too cheap for the effect. I like the idea of being able to deal damage based on the number of artifacts you have, but it seems like a fixed number might be more appropriate.

Graftgoblin - I hope there are more plans for this guy. Without something more, this is expensive for a goblin with no real benefit.

Krark Grunt - This card screams "Give me battlecry". Maybe make its CMC 2R and it might be on target or make it rare and go RR.

Molten Meltdown - Thats a nice card and does what a lot cards of this block tried to do but badly. I wonder if a CMC of 2R might not be more appropriate.

Sleeper Recruitment - I would add to this card that it attacks a random opponent of yours or maybe that it deals damage equal to power to random creature a random opponent controls. It looks like a real fun card though!

Sparkshot - nice concept but seems underpowered.

Sparkstriker - nice concept but it's actually overpowered for cost.

Vulshok Charger - I want to love this card but I dont know if I would personally use it. Something with its CMC vs rarity vs its TP makes me not like it. I'm not sure exactly what I would recommend.

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GREEN
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Melira the Pure - Card doesn't match it's description.

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GOLD
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Combo Cards - I'm not a fan of cards like these. I'll reframe from commenting here.

Please don't double post. You may use the edit button if you were teh last to post. ~Guitarweeps

Thu, 2012-04-12 10:07
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

You know Guitarweeps --- I know mods like to mitigate double posting --- but in the case of REALLY BIG --- UNRELATED POSTS --- you may very much consider keeping posts separate.

Long posts already have a huge potential to ward off feedback from TL/DR effects. TWO really long posts doubles that effect.

Why mod hammer in those situations? Its not productive to the community.

Thu, 2012-04-12 10:15
Guitarweeps
Friendly MSE Designer
Guitarweeps's picture

Good points. Especially since green, in our story, is the first to beat back the Phyrexians (via Melira). The comment on Discipline of the Vault is interesting. Molder Beast kind of touched on this. Maybe it could grant +1/+1 and trample to a creature? And we could support green beats easily (is that not a viable strategy already?).

I am not really seeing a reason to have a metal for each color. Quicksilver is the only one that makes sense being liquid mercury in the sea. Darksteel is not really black aligned as it is simply indestructible.

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Puresteel Golem - Glad you like the concept, but why doesn't imprint work? Why create a new keyword for one that works. The point is that it is a new way to envision imprint.

Equiped for Battle - I think you mean Magnetic Theft? The real power of this card is battle cry. Also, it is not meant to be a powerhouse card. Some cards have to be overcosted to put other great cards in perspective.

Forged for Battle - This card also tutors the equipment. Think of how UNDERcosted Stoneforge Mystic is and add taht it equips for free. You can search up the most expensive equipment in your deck, and skip both its casting cost and equip cost. I think it is fair.

Healer's Spellbook - Yes, that is the point. What exactly do you mean?

Lifeforce Ward - Yes, the point is to exile opposing creatures.

I am confused about your comments on the loxodon. You say it is too expensive and to lower the P/T? That doesn't add up to me.

All I have time for before work...

EDIT: Ninja'd

@Lighthammer - Please address any such concerns in a PM. The proper use of spoilers can greatly reduce the length of posts and still keep it very organized.

Check out my updated set hub.

Thu, 2012-04-12 21:25
Kagerowrs

Let's focus on equipment for now. This would take forever to set the topic right...

About Sword of Order and Chaos I see Chaos ability (Each player discards their hand~) isn't really fitting. It should be ability specifically targeting opponent.

Another problem comes from that there is already a card called Order // Chaos. If we follow Sword of Fire and Ice, Sword of Order and Chaos (or Chaos and Order) Should have strictly weaker ability of those two - Which cannot fit in the situation.

First - We need to find the name that goes in Red -> White order. (Order -> Chaos is White Red order.)
Second - We need to avoid name that already have split card version of it. (Order // Chaos)
Third - One ability has to benifit owner, and One ability has to penalty defender for taking damage.
Fourth - We need to avoid life gaining // Losing because New Phyrexia's War and Peace already used it.

Fri, 2012-04-13 01:14
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

Quote:
Good points. Especially since green, in our story, is the first to beat back the Phyrexians (via Melira). The comment on Discipline of the Vault is interesting. Molder Beast kind of touched on this. Maybe it could grant +1/+1 and trample to a creature? And we could support green beats easily (is that not a viable strategy already?).

I'll address Kagerowrs and Guitarweeps as much as possible here.

There's wisdom in looking at this from two angles.

The first angle is use, in following the spirit of agile development, we most certainly should, as a community remain focused on what aspect.

That being said, there's certainly no problem with other agents of the community playing around with something that might be adaptable to the project.

That being said, just now my goals of making a green deck that's not infect to tinker with my play group currently coincides with something that may end up productive with this project. So when I'm done (which I'd like to try to have ready for tomorrow when we get together) I'll simply drop it on the table. If the community project ends up using, awesome, if not, its something for me to keep in my file of fun projects.

That being said, if the community looks at it and says "Hey, this gives us some good fodder we should consider using especially in building other colors", it might be worth while to use it as a foundation to add more to the block.

To that end, I'll drop this on the table --- as an aftermath or followup to my side project, it might be worth while giving some feedback if extending the block beyond 175 cards might not be a bad idea. In doing my research and giving the current Mirrodin Pure a good look over (finally), I'm personally finding there doesn't seem to be enough representation of factions or enough room for representation of factions that should beginning to thrive again with the Phyrexian infection under control.

That being said, the following factions don't feel like they are thriving now and probably should carry away that feel:

- Mirrian Joint Forces
- Auriok
- Neurok
- Veldaken
- Moriok
- Vulshok (lets face it, in their case in particular, they have HORRIBLE support)
- Oxxidan (sp?)
- Sylvok
- Tel'jelad

Heck, if Mirrodin is recovering, I find myself wondering if signs of Memnarch shouldn't be croping up in one form or another. Memnarch himself is dead, but it seems to me something could lend itself to seeing signs of him again.

Quote:
I am not really seeing a reason to have a metal for each color. Quicksilver is the only one that makes sense being liquid mercury in the sea. Darksteel is not really black aligned as it is simply indestructible.

In truth, I am not convinced its a good concept for game mechanics or plot. It's a passing thought that kind of makes me go "hmmm, wonder if it would be cool".

If a good idea with solid ground can come from it, awesome, if not, awesome.

Quote:
Puresteel Golem - Glad you like the concept, but why doesn't imprint work? Why create a new keyword for one that works. The point is that it is a new way to envision imprint.

The way the imprint is working, it very much sounds like its more of a symbosis or enchantment type effect then an actual new way to use imprint.

Maybe the wording could be tweaked to make it sound less like this, but the way it reads to me, it sounds like a whole new mechanic.

Quote:
Equiped for Battle - I think you mean Magnetic Theft? The real power of this card is battle cry. Also, it is not meant to be a powerhouse card. Some cards have to be overcosted to put other great cards in perspective.

I do actually! I knew that didn't look right lol.

When I think about balance, I weight the balance versus the potential usability of a card. Specifically I ask myself the question "If I was building X deck, would I put this in with Y card or would I simply ignore X card?".

Coming out of making (what I feel) are very fun White, Blue, Black and Red decks, I'm specifically asking myself about this card since my white deck as Auriok based.

In an Auriok deck if I am pulling from only the Scars block, I am gonna toss Puresteel Paladin in there so I never have to worry about equipment costs. Moreover, if I am afraid of lacking the ability to consistently draw Puresteel Paladin, then I am gonna toss in Brass Squire too.

I don't see myself using Equipped for Battle. I already have too many other great tools to move equipment around available to me and the Battle Cry aspect isn't powerful enough to make go "DO WANT".

It needs something.

Quote:
Forged for Battle - This card also tutors the equipment. Think of how UNDERcosted Stoneforge Mystic is and add taht it equips for free. You can search up the most expensive equipment in your deck, and skip both its casting cost and equip cost. I think it is fair.

It's hard to dispute Stoneforge Mystic is too cheap, but you also have to acknowledge that it takes two turns to make it happen. The problem with Stoneforge Mystic in particular is there were too many cards to make the combo stupid OP. I mean if you would toss Stoneforge Mystic into the original Mirrodin block, it wouldn't have been so OP.

But likewise, I am looking what else I could do for 6 mana. For 6 mana in this block, I can give all my creatures hexproof and give them regeneration. For 6 mana in this block, I can give all my creatures double strike and life link. For 6 mana I can throw down Mycosynth Lattice or Wurmcoil Engine --- something my opponent is *REALLY* going to fear.

Why would I consider tossing a 6 CMC card in my deck that has a 1 turn effect?

There are some interesting ways I think this card could be made to be worth 6 mana, but in the spectrum of this block, 6 mana can be used for far better things.

Quote:
Healer's Spellbook - Yes, that is the point. What exactly do you mean?

My point is technically this card should be using the hybrid coloration. (IE click on the background of the card and click Hybrid)

Quote:
Lifeforce Ward - Yes, the point is to exile opposing creatures.

Interesting. Not sure what I think about it with that effect. I like the concept, I just need to see the card in action and see if it feels right.

Then again, in my set I've been working on, in play testing, I've come to the conclusion that a straight up exile card (all it does is exile with no backend) seems balanced at 5 mana weight (1WWU) and I'm finding everyone has a hard time contesting that, especially after seeing a well re-constructed version of the Vencer dual deck.

Quote:
I am confused about your comments on the loxodon. You say it is too expensive and to lower the P/T? That doesn't add up to me.

I'll refer you to my comments about Forged for Battle for now. If that doesn't sum up my rationale, I'll tackle this comment again.

Quote:
About Sword of Order and Chaos I see Chaos ability (Each player discards their hand~) isn't really fitting. It should be ability specifically targeting opponent.

Another problem comes from that there is already a card called Order // Chaos. If we follow Sword of Fire and Ice, Sword of Order and Chaos (or Chaos and Order) Should have strictly weaker ability of those two - Which cannot fit in the situation.

You know, SOME CARDS can and should remain as direct transfers from New Phyrexia.

Just because in this "continuity" the Mirrian Forces are winning the battle, doesn't mean everything changes.

Look at any good altered reality episode or movie that ever existed --- even when reality changes from one extreme to another, it doesn't mean EVERYTHING changes. Some things still exist in roughly the same condition regardless of the vent changes.

Sword of War and Peace just comes across as one of those items that wouldn't change just because one faction is now winning. I mean by that token the Master Sword in Zelda would change every new game of Zelda that explores a different continuity of the world of Zelda.

Fri, 2012-04-13 10:45
Guitarweeps
Friendly MSE Designer
Guitarweeps's picture

Ok, have some specific comebacks, but I want to explain something first. We are in the design phase of this set. I am taking the design formula from wizards and there will be a development phase after this. What I mean is that none of the cards are meant to be final balanced at this point. In fact, most of these cards were designed and put in the set file based off the first iteration. Right now, I am worried about getting design ideas into the set and once it is complete then development (which very likely will just be the same people) will lock down the proper casting cost, P/T, etc. Casting cost in some cases will depend on other cards in the set because we want to maintain a good mana curve overall. And, in regards to Healer’s Spellbook, I am not concerned about the “look” of the set at this point; the file right now is simply a hub for all our current designs. Feel free to respond to my comments below but then I would like to focus on card design. You have a lot of good comments, but let’s save that for development. Note that this does not apply to all your comments i.e. the “new” use of imprint. Comments like that are specifically imperative to the design process.

Comments:
I don’t completely agree with your comments on imprint but am open to changing if more agree.
Equipped for Battle – Do you play draft? This is a card more for draft in mind then constructed. Every card cannot be constructed worthy. Also, using a “would I put this in my deck” mentality is extremely subjective and doesn’t account for all the different play styles that players have. Also, Puresteel Paladin doesn’t exist in Mirrodin Pure so no reason to use it for comparison.
Forged for Battle – I don’t see how a free equipment is an effect for only one turn? I think that six mana to tutor up and equip any of the Swords is fair. Add that we will design some great equipment in this set that can be targets and it could be even better. In fact, we are currently designing a vertical cycle of living weapons, why not try to design a great card to go with this?
Sword of Order and Chaos – This is certainly up for change. In fact I wouldn’t mind multiple iterations of this to choose from. Also open for a “lateral reprint”. There are many cards that transfer over well. Currently we grabbed Dispatch, Alloy Myr, and Pristine Talisman. I just want to keep the reprints under 3% as that is the threshold for the featured sets portion of this site.

Anyways, here is my living weapons:

Bonesayer 2 mana symbol
Artifact — Equipment Colorless mana symbol
Living weapon
Equipped creature gets +2/+1 and can’t block.
Equip 3 mana symbol

Bladestalker 3 mana symbol
Artifact — Equipment Blue mana symbol
Living weapon
Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and has first strike.
Equip 4 mana symbol

Necroslasher 6 mana symbol
Artifact — Equipment Red mana symbol
Living weapon
Equipped creature gets +5/+3 and has intimidate.
Whenever equipped creature dies, you may return ~ to your hand.
Equip 5 mana symbol

Check out my updated set hub.

Fri, 2012-04-13 17:41
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

By trade, my day time job is a designer, more accurate a Project Manager for a design team. I'm well familiar with the process as a whole. Please don't take that as a write off of your comments or an assertion of authority or something in between. I state that wholly so you know where I am coming from. As a point of reference in the --- let's call it tradition (since there is of course no official hierarchy here) --- I see you as the design lead for this and as such, in terms of this project I concede to your final judgments. It's obvious you have some design background yourself (forgive me, I'm unsure if you're one of the guys who actually designed MSE).

That being said, I'm also well familiar with how Wizards does their process. I've worked for and with several companies through the design and development process, many in the gaming industry. Wizards has become one of my favorite companies because they have a really well planed way of getting things done and they ALWAYS make their deadlines. As a company, I respect them for how they do things much more then I think most people would understand. I'd like to think this forum would be an exception to that because a lot of people here know what it takes to bring a product to market and can appreciate the sheer organization it takes.

Because we're --- obviously --- in the design phase, that's largely why I felt it would be a good idea to point out some of my observations about considering what factions have representation, what strategies are being built upon, what new strategies are unfolding and how they effect the rest of the block. Moreover, that's also why I am suggesting it might be in good measure to extend the size of the block too (although that's pretty big decision and a lot more input probably needs to go into it).

As far as CMC/TP balancing and card formatting goes --- you're right, that falls more in line with development although that being said, so does figuring out all the logistics of the set too. If we want to tackle the design process full blow, we shouldn't be as worried about how many rares we have or what the set count is, we should be more worried about bringing compelling game play to the table. Making sure the set has the right number of cards, the number of each type of rarity etc is all things the development process locks in. That being said, just like proof reading, while I run through looking at stuff, if something DOES seem off, I am going to look at it and go "Hmmmm, this seems off". Also, addressing things like correct card format is also important in the design stage so you can decide if you might need a new card layout or if you want to extend to those sorts of cards.

To be clear, I'm in no way saying the way the file looks just now is bad. Having a guideline by which to follow makes the process go a ton smoother and it IS exactly what Wizards does. But on the same token, they don't sit there and say "I have a rare to fill, what kind of rare card would be cool". They make the card and go "This might need to be a rare" and flesh out as necessary.

Fri, 2012-04-13 18:11
Guitarweeps
Friendly MSE Designer
Guitarweeps's picture

Quote honestly, the only experience I have in design is what I have learned in the (almost!) four years I have used MSE and been a part of this site. And to be clear, I think you had a lot of valuable points. I just wanted to try and steer the conversation to stick with design rather than individual balance of cards in the file. The only reason that I propose specific cards to design is that in my experience that gets better response than just proposing ideas. Most community sets here take off in the beginning while everyone is excited and brainstorming fun things, then when it gets down to finishing the product and you need to get a little more in depth than just throwing out ideas people tend to fall away. I am trying to avoid that, although a few months of haitius didn't help that A happy smile

With that said, your points on the "factions" but more so the different strategies offered to different colors are valuable points that we should consider. Honestly, the only experience I have playing this block in a vacuum is draft. I don't play much constructe due to personal schedule, mostly just MTGO draft. In draft, I have not noticed what you are talking about but it is much different than constructed. We need to ensure that all color combinations have at least two viable play strategies to use in limited and constructed. This is of course much difficult when we don't have enought time and resources to playtest as much as you need to gather that type of data.

Also, on the set size. I suppose we can talk about this, but the point of this project was to be what Mirrodin Pure would have been instead of New Phyrexia. So I was trying to keep it to the same set size that it would have been.

Also, I am not sure about Memnarch. Been awhile since I read the books but I think he perished in molten metal. Either way, if he did show up, he would be Phyrexian as he was under the influence of the oil.

One more thing for everyone. What New Phyrexia cards would you like to see shifted over to Mirrodin Pure? We have Pristine Talisman, Alloy Myr, and Dispatch already but the only one of those that is set in stone is Pristine Talisman due to how they previewed it (makes perfect inclusion).

Check out my updated set hub.

Tue, 2012-04-17 09:44
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

Bah, I've been putting off responding to the above due to being busy >.>

I'll respond to the above sometime today!

/edit

Ok, so, over the past few days I've sat down to try to make an entry on this thread and even had a few posts kind of fleshed out but just keep getting pulled away in the middle of it.

/sadface

Anywhoo, responding straight down on Guitarweeps's post:

I'll just say fair points on a lot of the observations between design, development and QA perspectives.

In any case, you obviously have to have a plan to get from point A to point B to point C.

I feel it necessary to point out however, that this project is over a year old now and obviously not much progress towards actually getting it done. I wonder if we couldn't try another method towards actually moving it forward.

One of the big bottle necks in doing work over the internet is keeping everything in sync. If one person is responsible for one file that has to be delineated to all persons who want to work with it.

I wonder if another approach for this environment wouldn't be better.

Have you considered trying to move everything into a Google Docs spreadsheet? It would make it much easier for everyone to interactively update everything during the design process.

I appreciated the attempt at handing out assignments (IE asking everyone to make equipment artifacts), but unless you have a few people absolutely dedicated to the project, it just doesn't move forward as you're seeing here.

I wish I was a better programmer or I could suggest it wouldn't be difficult to pull the data from the file out and then simply re-import it later. The design of MSE suggests to me this wouldn't be hard to do with just a little bit of programming on the back end.

As far as block structure goes; what I find more useful to do is define what you should expect from each color. In fairness, I only read the first couple of pages and last couple of pages of this thread, so if thats something you discussed, I'm sorry I missed it. Even at that, it would be great to have a separate document (once again, IE Google Docs) explaining the intent of each color much like Wizards does with their FAQ pages.

That being said, I'll admit something that most people might find strange. The true thing that attracts me to use a company's products is seeing the totality of how they do business. If anyone is inspiring to be a designer or developer, they should pay close attention to Wizards because they are truly the model to emulate. They never miss deadlines, you know what their full plans for the next year and have a good guess at what their plans are for the next three. The company has so many admirable qualities its not even funny. Mind you, this isn't fan boy talk, this is talk from someone who has been in the drenches doing what they do.

Beyond that, touching on the block design format, I think there's an important element to look at in terms of size.

Wizards tends to blocks in the following format:

Format One - Protagonist starts out strong and ends strong.
- Set 1: Big set. Introduce Protagonist and Antagonist.
- Set 2: Small set. Moves story along.
- Set 3: Small set. Wraps story up with Protagonist winning.

Format Two - Protagonist starts weak and and ends weak.
- Set 1: Big set. Introduce Protagonist and Antagonist.
- Set 2: Small set. Moves story along.
- Set 3: Small set. Wraps story up with Protagonist winning

Format Three - Protagonist starts weak and and ends strong.
- Set 1: Big set. Introduce Protagonist and Antagonist.
- Set 2: Small set. Moves story along.
- Set 3: Big set. Represents major shift in power.

Format Four - Protagonist starts strong and and ends weak.
- Set 1: Big set. Introduce Protagonist and Antagonist.
- Set 2: Small set. Moves story along.
- Set 3: Big set. Represents major shift in power.

In the case of this block, we have the Coalition who started out strong, got the snot kicked out of them and then all but ended up dying out by the third set.

In Mirrodin Pure, we're looking to represent Format 3. The Coalition essentially got the snot kicked out of them between Set 1 and Set 2 and but in Mirrodin Pure represents them making a HUGE return between Set 2 and Set 3.

Following the trend, Set 3 should be about as big as Set 1 is in this scenario since you need to represent Mirrodin Forces re-asserting themselves.

As far as what cards should be directly copied from New Phyrexia to Mirrodin Pure, I think this is a good place to start:
http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Search/Default.aspx?action=advanced&set=|[%22New%20Phyrexia%22]&mark=+[%22Mirran%22]

(Thats 23 Mirrian cards)

Since we know Wizards was working on a Mirrodin Pure set along with New Phyrexia, its safe to assume most of these cards would have been in either set.

Likewise, many of the following cards probably had Mirrodin Pure counter parts:
http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Search/Default.aspx?action=advanced&set=|[%22New%20Phyrexia%22]&mark=+[%22Phyrexian%22]

Thats 141 cards Phyrexian cards many of which may translate into a Mirrian or neural faction card.

I'm gonna play around quick and see if I can come up with a nice translation matrix

Tue, 2012-04-17 11:34
Guitarweeps
Friendly MSE Designer
Guitarweeps's picture

I don't know how a Google Docs spreadsheet would help. I have never tried it though, and that might be why. Although, it might get more mixed up and confusing if everyone put their own stuff in there. I think that having one person maintain the set file and get it out there for everyone else to work with works better (as long as said person is reliable). I think the main reason that the fire died out on this project is because I took the lead on the Game of Perfection. That took WAY more time than I originally anticipated and I just couldn't keep up with two projects since, well, this is just a hobby.

Anyways, I started out with the approach of taking ideas from everyone so I did not set out with a specific identity/direction for each color. I wanted it to be community driven vice directed by me. Maybe that would be a good thing to do though. I am going to think about that.

Also, WotC weren't designing Mirrodin Pure to my knowledge. From what I read (can't find the article from wotc) they always new that was going to be New Phyrexia. In fact, Scars of Mirrodin, the first set in the block, was originally supposed to be New Phyrexia. They decided to hold it off until the end of the block so that they could tell the story. I remember they had to make sure it was legal to patent both set names even though they only intended on using New Phyrexia. The whole "which faction is going to win" thing as actually a sham, or more accurately... a marketing technique.

I am not really sold on changing the set size as that defeats the whole purpose of why I started this project IMO, which is to make what Mirrodin Pure would have been instead of New Phyrexia. That is why I want to keep it the same set size. Could we better show Mirrodin winning with a large set? Maybe. But that just means that we have to challenge ourselves as designers to do it in a smaller box. One of my favorite MaRo quotes is "restriction breeds creativity". Remember that Scars was 80-20, Mirrodin Besieged was 50-50 so we have a lot of Mirrodin cards in the block already. We are not trying to show off Mirrodin in just this one set. We are building upon what has already been established and just showing the strong finish.

And we are looking for cards to port that fit the set. They don't have to be Mirran. There are some great Phyrexian cards taht would probably fit as well. The limit is 5 though. On a side note, I originally wanted to do Puresteel Paladin...

Check out my updated set hub.

Tue, 2012-04-17 15:46
Kagerowrs

@Guitarweep - Our team is planning to use google docs writer as well. Real time sharing makes it easier to focus, just remember to put password on because there is always someone who wishes to grief for appearantly unknown reason.

Wed, 2012-04-18 02:58
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

Well, this is ultimately your project and like I said before, I can't honestly say how much time I'll have to help you guys out on this project other then offer my feedback. As you can see from the boards, I got my own project I am working. The decisions here are all yours =).

Like I said before, as a project manager the first thing I would be looking at is time. I think this project would have been explosive and awesome if it were released right before or right after M12's release. Everyone anticipating the release of Ravnica now probably has knocked the potential excitement of this project down more then a few pegs.

Personally I'd be asking myself a few questions in your positions:

#1.) Is it worth while to finish this set up or is it something that should be shelfed for a while?

#2.) Provided it's going forward, do you want it to mirror New Phyrexia or really play on the lore of the block. Going with the later would mean, IMHO, going back and doing some major critical thinking about the block as a whole and really decide what strategy you want each color to come out swinging with. IMHO that also means understanding the intriquies of each of the colors (IE Auriok, Neurok, Moriok, Sylvok, etc). To do the former, it really only requires, IMHO, a translation matrix where you take the New Phyrexia cards and decide which of those would have been Mirrian cards if the Phyrexian hadn't wound up on the winning side.

As far as the intentions for the block go, I'm not wholly sure where you read the information. When Scars came out, Wizards was trying to make a REALLY BIG 'game' out of the design prospects and basically build development around who was winning. They did this by asking you what faction you wanted to fight for and then during FNM, your personal wins would go towards the faction wins. Part of this competition was also supposed to be registering your decks and if you were fighting for a faction, you couldn't have any of the opposing factions cards in your deck.

The thing that frustrated a lot of people about this event was the Mirrian Forces was winning for the majority of the event and whoever won was supposed to dictate which faction was featured in the final set. Well, a few weeks after the Mirrodin Besieged game day, Wizards kind of stopped talked about it and a few weeks later (seemingly after everyone forgot), Wizards started dropping less the subtle hints the final set would be New Phyrexia.

Wizards may have had internal ideals of how they expected things to parse out and they may have ended up acting upon those instead of this competition.

From my perspective it felt like the PR guys and the Design guys had two different things going on.

As far as Google Docs go, when I do online collaboration I always use three tools --- Forums, Google Docs and Mind42 (brainstorming software).

Sat, 2012-04-21 20:29
Guitarweeps
Friendly MSE Designer
Guitarweeps's picture

Alright doing a lot of thinking on this for a few days. I think that you have some good points Lighthammer and I think that there may be slight tweaks that need to be made. To really understand where design should be going with Mirrodin Pure we have to consider WHY Mirrans are winning in our story and how that effects what we put on our cards.

Karn Returns - The return of Karn, freed from the Phyrexian influence by Venser, is important to the swing of the battle as he is both a powerful leader and fighter against the Phyrexians. There are a couple ways to show this; the first being his card itself. That one is easy. Next we need to show his influence on the Mirrans. I think that hybrid 2/C artifacts does a little. But I think that Precursor Golem speaks strongly here. New Phyrexia had splicers and they were quite cool. They fit Mirrans very well but I had initially dismissed them because I didn't want to copy New Phyrexia ideas I think that Golems as a tribe speak strongly for Mirrans and Karn. I think that introducing something like splicers would do very well for the set. They don't have to be ETB like New Phyrexia but there is still plenty of design space for them. I think that Green mana symbolRed mana symbolWhite mana symbol is a good fit for them. Plus they work really well with battle cry as it loves to have more than one creature. Consider something like this:

Spoiler:
Brazen Splicer 3 mana symbolRed mana symbol
Creature - Human Artificer Colorless mana symbol
When ~ enters the battlefield, put a 3/3 colorless Golem artifact creature token onto the battlefield.
Golem creatures you control have haste.
2/2

Firebrand Splicer 2 mana symbolRed mana symbolRed mana symbol
Creature - Human Artificer Blue mana symbol
When ~ enters the battlefield, put a 3/3 colorless Golem artifact creature token onto the battlefield.
Whenever a Golem creature you control attacks, ~ deals 1 damage to the defending player.
2/2

Battleborn Splicer 4 mana symbolGreen mana symbol
Creature - Human Artificer Red mana symbol
When ~ enters the battlefield or attacks, put a 3/3 colorless Golem artifact creature token onto the battlefield.
Battle cry
2/2

So, using more than jsut ETB and evergreen abilities will open up design space. Giving variable P/T to the hosts will allow us to make decent usable cards with all costs. That way, we can have more than one that is playable.

Melira - She is immune to the infection and is able to cure other Mirrans in the early stages of infection. This needs to be represented by cards that remove or are resistant to -1/-1 counters and possibly a card that removes poison (something I fought hard previously).

Puresteel - Tezzeret and Venser discover that combining darksteel and etherium produces a metal which repels the infection, referred to as "puresteel" by the Mirrans. This is how Venser frees Karn, by teleporting the metal into his body. It allows all Mirrodin to carry up the fight against Phyrexia, not just those near Melira. This can be shown in similar ways as Melira but focusing on artifacts.

Unification - The Mirrans band together to face adversity, different races and tribes cast off their differences to help one another. Represented already by battle cry which should be prominent in RW, then G, and spotty in UB. Making metalcraft something to be contended with will also work for this as it requires a lot of the same, being artifacts, which feels like a unified effort. Having a large amount of our colored cards be artifacts will make metalcraft cards much better. We need to highlight this in design.

Resourcefulness of the Mirrans - In their desparation, the Mirrans show their resourcefulness. While their land has been razed, they fight back using whatever they can. Represented by reforge, hybrid 2/C mana, and maybe we could have some alternate cost cards? A cycle perhaps?

Phyrexian breakdown - The defeat of Vorinclex and his swarm, the breakoff of Karn, and the threat of Melira/puresteel shatter the Phyrexian heirarchy. Jin-Gitaxius, believing the other praetors to be foolish, recludes to the Panopticon to continue his experiments and plan his own New Phyrexia. Urabrask is inspired by the Mirran reaction in the war and concludes that Mirrodin is already a perfect vision of perfection that they were trying to achieve; he breaks away from the Phyrexian heirarchy. This leaves Sheoldred and Elesh Norn to continue the fight. While "showing" disunity in card design is probably a bad idea we can use the colors to shift it. We should have Phyrexia primarily in B, mid WU, and very little in GR. By shifting green to Mirran we show that Phyrexia has been purged from the Tangle. We can keep the infect focus in BW and have blue phyrexian cards be more defensive, controlling, and have a different strategy to show their indepedence. New Phyrexia made it hard to enhance the infect strategy because it introduced it in new colors but the support was low. Here we should have a few in BW, maybe 1 in U, and the rest should be colorless. This allows them to fit in any infect deck.

-----------------------------------------------------------

I am thinking that we should shift the color/colorless ratio to have more 2/C artifacts. In fact, I would like to see what everyone thinks about having ALL or a very high % of Mirran creatures 2/C?
I will give more direction per color after I ponder each tribe's role, although, I think that to show this we should not have it broken down by tribes very much, instead just show what Mirrans are doing as a whole.

@Ayxmirdyrer - Loving Pyroshrieker! It is a very cool and flavorful card. Although, we are not using 2/C for Phyrexians, that would be perfect for the activation in this card. I think Deadstrider would be better suited for a simple deathtouch.

PS: Shelving this project would just ensure its death. To finish it needs to keep moving forward. Again, I do not ignore my role in the dropoff on this.
I am open to the google docs but have no idea how practically it helps. I don't see how an excel sheet or word doc makes things easier than a set file. Anyone who can shed some light on that, feel free to help me "get it".

Check out my updated set hub.

Sat, 2012-04-21 23:54
Kagerowrs

While I do like the idea of more 2/C, this might make things little bit more complicated then it should - In many different way.
How about we restore 'Charge Counters' for Mirrodin Pure as separated set and use as resource in multiple occasion instead of just triggering stuff. I mean, Lux Cannon isn't a bad way to execute Charge Counters mechanism, but I see more on that. Like using charge counter to decrease manacost for turn.

That said, Instead of Etherium Sculptor, I have some combo common I want to propose.

<Not Named> Blue mana symbol or Red mana symbol
Instant (Or Sorcery) Common
Artifact costs 2 mana symbol less to play until end of turn.
Many inventions starts from idea called 'how to cheat your next workload.'

Sun, 2012-04-22 01:17
Guitarweeps
Friendly MSE Designer
Guitarweeps's picture

Ah true, I forgot about charge counters. We could def be a little more aggresive with it. And using hybrid mana might make it a little bit cheaper to work with. I would like to see more of what you mean by resource. You mean not like Sphere of Suns? I had an idea for a spellbook cycle is based off each color and can charge itself. Although using charge counters down until it is used up works really well with reforge too as you can make some use out of "used up" artifacts.

Check out my updated set hub.

Sun, 2012-04-22 05:21
Kagerowrs

I meant more like this.

<Not Named> 2 mana symbol
Artifact Uncommon
~ enters the battlefield with three charge counters.
Remove a charge counter from ~, Tap symbol: <Unknown> cost ? less to play until EOT.

OR a new keyword.

Evertact (You may remove a counter from permanent you control, if you do. This card cost 1 mana symbol less to play until EOT) or similar counter triggers.

Sun, 2012-04-22 22:52
Ayxmirdyrer

@Guitarweeps- I'm glad you liked it, I noticed there was no equipment that gives firebreathing, and I realized that a living weapon would be the perfect place for one. I considered giving Deadstrider deathtouch, but felt that this felt more Phyrexian. What did you think of Phyrexian Worldslayer? I didn't want it to be as crazy powerful as the original, but still plenty scary.

I am all for more charge counters by the way.

Sun, 2012-04-22 23:22
Kagerowrs

@Ayxmirdyrer - While Worldslayer does look highly fancy, it is pretty weak card, and you know that.

Mon, 2012-04-23 00:19
Guitarweeps
Friendly MSE Designer
Guitarweeps's picture

I don't think Worldslayer fits the set as it is about redemption. I know this was mentioned before but what if Mirrans assimulate living weapon in some way much like Phyrexia assimulated imprint?

@Kagerowrs - I think the card idea certainly deserves some designs but the keyword is just too detrimental to the infect strategy. If your opponent can turn those -1/-1s into a resource, players just won't play infect at all. Using charge counters would make sense flavorfully and mechanically I think. Not sure if a theme with that is good though. The hybrid mana might be enough.

Check out my updated set hub.

Tue, 2012-04-24 00:02
Ayxmirdyrer

Well, I was going for a more controlled version (tactical nuke if you will), though just one Assault Strobe could be devastating with it, maybe destroy target permanent that player controls? Seems broken.

Tue, 2012-04-24 10:03
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

First I want to touch on something that has a neat connotation, but might not be something wholly worth really exploring in this set (although its a theme that hasn't been explored in MTG to the best of my knowledge yet).

The idea of Worldslayer gave me some interesting thoughts. Although its not really a Mirrodin card, the idea of "End of the World Cultist" would be a very interesting aspect of the Phyrexian Paradox to explore. To cite another reference, when I think of Phyrexia, I kind of equate them to the ideas of the Borg from Star Trek. When you're dealing with the idea of losing one's soul to an infection that will turn them evil and compel them to do great harm to things they once greatly cared about, it brings about the story plot element that some would see world destruction as the only alternative to prevent the world being corrupted.

I wonder if exploring this theme wouldn't add some interesting flavor to the block. Both Oxiddian and maybe Moriok wouldn't be horrible factions to tinker with the idea with. Heck, there are some blue elements in Neurok that might consider the same course of action. It would make for an interesting Grixxis style faction.

That being said, Mirrian has clearly divided itself into a RGW shard for the Mirrian Forces. Likewise, the Phyrexian back story holds its attunement to the BRG Shard and I think one could make a argument of it also having some interesting WUB shard combinations too.

That being said, I could kind of see an interesting faction scenario painted like this:
GWU - Something related to Mirrian
WUB - Phyrexian "Terramorphic" Machine
UBR - Doomsday Cultist
BRG - Phyrexian Infection Machine
RGW - Mirrian Forces

I'll concede it might be going a little too complex for the current painted scenerios and block size elements, but I could really see some of these color combos really taking home the elements of whats been going on.

Just something else to toss out as far as block planning goes that also springs to mind --- I could see this being something of a Lorwyn / Shadowmoor type block layout. Two sets focused on what made the world change and two sets focused on coming to terms with it.

In retrospect to that idea, I could almost see GWU having hints of Urza's influence. It kind of did sadden me that, with as pivotal as a character as Urza is on Mirrodin, that NOTHING reflected that in all of Scars. I mean heck, not even any flavor text mentioned Urza.

Pardon the ramblings, just thinking out loud.

Tue, 2012-04-24 15:19
Kagerowrs

Putting Urza in Mirrodin isn't a good idea, Mirrodin is unrelated with Urza, as its actual builder was Memnarch, and plane it self was created after Urza's death.

And Doomsday Cultist? What the...

Wed, 2012-04-25 00:55
Ayxmirdyrer

@Kagerows- Mirrodin was created by Karn, he originally called it Argentum. He left Memnarch in charge of it.

Wed, 2012-04-25 04:50
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

Urza may have not directly been involved with the creation of Mirrodin, but he absolutely set the events into motion that created Mirrodin.

If Urza was going to return to magic in Modern or at the very least, make his presence known, the Scars block always felt like the place that was going to happen to me. I mean Urza was intently intertwined in the entire Phyrexian campaign.

That being said, Yawgmoth felt like he should have made his presence known too.

I really hate to sound like the downer in all of this, but pulling from Mark's article yesterday, Scars really didn't hit all the notes I expected it to and as a result, I really didn't have as much fun in Scars as I was expecting to with all the rich history the plane has to pull upon.

That being said, I find it hard to really feel like Yawgmoth and Urza physically need to be in the set. Both of their powers are so far above simple planeswalkers. The term "Ascended Planeswalkers" has been thrown around a lot in the past year and these two really feel like they fit the bill to be in that category and as such, I'm not wholly sure its worth tackling that here.

Mirrodin Pure feels like a great opportunity to try to fix some of the story feel of Scars and some of the cookie cutter block feel, but once again, it comes down to how much of an undertaking should this project take on.

Here's the article if anyone is interested:
http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/mm/192

Wed, 2012-04-25 05:29
Kagerowrs

I think better place of Urza's return should be done in Dominaria then Mirrodin. While that is only my idea.

Wed, 2012-04-25 05:46
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

Well like I said --- I'm not really proposing that Urza and Yawgmoth outright are in the set, I'm saying that some lingering evidence of their existence crop up.

That being said, do you really ever see us going back to Dominaria ? Time Spiral essentially demonstrated the place has been all but destroyed.

Fri, 2012-04-27 16:24
Ayxmirdyrer

Yawgmoth was not a planeswalker, it is emphasized time and time again. I'd be for some kind of return of Urza, but he is dead. Unless he came back through an alternate timeline, secretly during the Time Spiral block, where he didn't surrender to Yawgmoth and die.

Fri, 2012-04-27 16:52
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

Grrr ---- I feel like people aren't reading what I am saying here. I feel like when I say Urza and Yawgmoth, no matter how clear I am on my intent, someone keeps grabbing those two words and ignoring everything else I said and jumping to a conclusion that I want them in the set/block.

NO, NO, NO, NO AND NO I've said every time that we should probably be seeing hints of their influence. I'm NOT saying either of these two characters should be brought back in this set or block. If they were to come back, the event needs to be HUGE.

Please stop jumping to conclusions about what I said people.

RE: Fate of Urza and Yawgmoth - The fate on both characters is very suspect just now. If they don't return in a future set, I will be surprised, but I don't expect to see that until no earlier then the 2015 block. Again, to be clear, I am not suggesting they return here, just that their influence is made known.

Fri, 2012-04-27 17:43
Kagerowrs

How are you going to show their influences? Urza and Yawgmoth never had any 'specific' mechanic to represent around them. And yes, Karn didn't made any sentient being on the plane - Memnarch brought them, remember? He only created empty palate.

At best, most praetors thinks Yawgmoth is failiure or unfitting, denizen of Mirrodin never even heard about who the heck is Urza or Yawgmoth - In fact, based on reaction of Koth, they didn't even knew about Weatherlight or Karn himself.

Mirrodin faction barely have influence of 'Weatherlight' Crew, they barely knew about Karn too.

Fri, 2012-04-27 17:55
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

It's not that difficult.

Look up cards with the name of the two characters in Gatherer and then do the same for flavor text. Gather those cards together and make a few functional reprints, color shifts, cycles etc of those cards.

Moreover, add flavor text to represent them in certain cards. A great for instance would be Ornathoper --- in this block, I think having flavor text from Urza should have been mandatory considering the Ornathoper is his invention and we're dealing with a plane he's directly influenced.

This isn't rocket science :-| IMHO it's all basic elements of understanding what it takes to make a really awesome set.

Fri, 2012-04-27 19:15
Kagerowrs

Lighthammer - Oh, you meant flavor text.

For Ornathopter, we have another problem - Ornathopter isn't really in Mirrodin. Its from Core Set.

That said, Sheoldred shares many similarity with Yawgmoth, and probably only one who don't despise Yawgmoth's way.

For Urza... We can't put it on Mirrodin because even Venser hardly knows about him. - Karn is the only one. So we have to do... Something with Karn. Preferably something for Venser.

Fri, 2012-04-27 21:03
Guitarweeps
Friendly MSE Designer
Guitarweeps's picture

Alright on Urza – We wouldn’t be able to do much with Urza simply because no Mirrans have any idea who he is and the extent of his actual influence was creating Karn. Karn, Venser, and presumably the Praetors are the only ones who would likely know his existence. Ironically, Mirrans don’t even know who Karn is. Venser had to drag Koth along relunctantly. Anyways, with that said, I think that we could do some cards that are throwbacks whether remakes or functional reprints as easter eggs. Not only as a throwback to origins but also as a statement of the similarities between the Phyrexian conflict then and now. Kind of an acknowledgement of the eternal struggle against Phyrexia. I wouldn’t do flavor text involving this unless it is a quote from Karn.

On Yawgmoth – This is much more doable as all New Phyrexia recognizes Yawgmoth if only to recognize his failure. I think including his in flavor text makes perfect sense especially since the recent failure could be used for comparison. Jin-Gitaxius/Urabrask could quip a quote at the other Praetors that they are repeating Yawgmoth’s mistakes, etc.



Ok, so I have been thinking about how each color and tribe should be handled and the strategy we should use to continue the designs. First off, I am not interested in creating any further divided “factions” whether directly or indirectly. If anything, all Mirrans should come off as working in tandem. Although the Phyrexian’s hierarchy is crumbling as we speak, translating this directly in card design as a whole is problematic and most likely won’t mesh or feel right in actual play. We can use flavor text and color schemes to do this; maybe a few cards.

Mirrans

White
– When the Razor Fields fell it scattered the leonins and many fell to affliction. This also cut off the Loxodons but the survivors were able to hold up at Bladehold, and Auriok community for a last stand against Elesh Norn.

Leonin and Aurioks should offer equipment support, but something beyond simply bonuses for being equipped. Although, since all three races are holed up together they can really all support the same things. Additionally, there should be some 1/1 Soldier tokens and/or 2/2 cat tokens to go help a battle cry theme as that gets better with more creatures (which is why Hero of Bladehold is so good). The Golem splicers will also assist in this theme.


Blue
The Vedalken hierarchy is run amok with the phyrexian infection as Jin-Gintaxius uses the Pantopticon and Lumingrid as his main base for experimentations. This affects the Neuroks greatly as well since they rose to rule the Vedalken following the original series. Phyrexian oil is being pumped into the Quicksilver Sea forcing the remaining Vedalkens and Neuroks to move further inland.
The blue strategy will focus mostly on metalcraft and charge counter support as the two races regroup inland using artifacts as their main source for sustenance, magic, and fighting. We should have some definitive charge counter support in blue that is not proliferate (being the Mirran side).

Black
All the Mephidross has been turned over to Phyrexia, thus all the Nim should be Phyrexian aligned. Morioks have been afflicted but still fighting. I honestly have no idea how they can be portrayed, they are blind for pete’s sake. A better version of the Moriok reanimator that is constructed worthy is a good way to go.

Red
Vulshok lead a heartened resistance against the Phyrexians and have an unspoken truce with Urabrask and his Phyrexians in The Forge. Urabrask turned a blind eye to the resistance hiding there and the Mirrans don’t attack them on sight in return. The Krark Clan has remained untouched in their hidden tunnel system.

I agree that Vulshok need more identity. The forge metal so I think that we need to figure out a way to use that in card mechanics. Reforge is a new keyword we are using so we can maybe find a way to use that on a Vulshok card, or at least synergy. Remember that reminder text can paint pictures too. Anyways, Vulshok should certainly be among the “splicers” in our Mirrodin forging Golems, maybe Koth’s Hammer tribe. Goblins should use push the battle cry theme too support a kind of Kuldotha deck strategy. Metalcraft should be biggest in red due to the forge and the fact that red is least tainted by the Phyrexians.


Green
Due to Glissa’s involvement in the war, the Viridians take the greatest hit in the battle. With Melira’s help the Tel’jelad and Sylvoks ally to push back the Phyrexians and kill Vorinclex.

Due to Melira’s cleansing we should have the few infect cards be non-sentient beings as all sentient beings would be “cured”. Although it might be cool to do some cards that start out afflicted and then cure themselves. For example, ETB with -1/-1 and then have activated abilities with removing counters as the cost. Or having infect, but metalcraft causes removal of infect. This would also allow players to play the card in an infect deck or non. It should be clear in the card designs that green won. Green should have an introduction of battle cry but we need to do it a way that makes sense for green. Ezuri’s resistance would certainly benefit from it. Green should have some good metalcraft themes to signify their victory as well as golem splicers. I think green could have maybe one card that removes poison counters in some way, but only if done right.


Phyrexians

New Phyrexia
With Vorinclex gone, Elesh Norn and Sheoldred continue their plans as best they can. Elesh Norn’s forces invaded the Leonin city and caused their retreat but failed to fully compleate them. Shoeldred has control of the Mephidross and uses it to launch all attacks on Mirrodin (Elesh Norn also used it to attack the Leonin city).

The black and white will be the main infect strategy for Mirrodin Pure, although a few green and blue cards will be there. New Phyrexia had an issue with putting infect in all colors thus spreading it thin and a good infect deck was difficult to make. We can easily amend that by including one or two common artifact infect cards thus rounding out each color that way. Reanimation should be emphasized as Phyrexia reuses bodies and parts. Waste not!


The Progress Engine
Jin-Gintaxius is greatly disappointed with the way that the other Praetors handle matters. His scientific approach just doesn’t mesh with Shoeldred or Vorinclex’s gain by power methods. When Vorinclex is defeated this fulfills his warnings. When Shoeldred and Elesh Norn decide to continue operations as planned he ceases contact not wanted to waste his time with their doomed efforts. Using the Lumingrid as his base of operation, he turns to his own plans for his “Great Synthesis”: rigorous research on Mirran body structure, recruiting unafflicted agents, and pumping oil into the water system.

Blue will be minor in infect and have cards that push proliferation and other methods of poisoning. Additionally, it can have a fair amount of non-infect cards; maybe milling?

Also, see this.


The Quiet Furnace
Urabrask is impressed with the Mirrodin resistance and considers the Mirrans flesh/metal bodies to be leading to perfection. When Vorinclex is defeated he turns his eye to allow safe passage for the survivors and resistance, especially in their gained ability to reforge themselves. He also defects from the rest of Phyrexia considering that Mirrans may be the way to perfection. Although he does not think that their current form will do, he is willing to watch and wait until the right time to gain perfection.

We may have a few cards but for the most part, I think flavor text is our delivery method for these guys. I don’t even think we need to design a Urabrask but we can still brainstorm ideas. He is still Phyrexian aligned but just doesn’t consider the Mirrans a target at the moment.


A couple random notes:

Living Weapon – I think we should move this into Mirran territory as well. It works all too well with everything Mirran as it boosts equipment themes, artifact themes, and battle cry themes. Although, I do have issues with the whole germ token thing. Unfortunately, that makes it difficult to argue the flavor behind it. Thoughts?

Split cards – We need to be able to use what we put in each color to tell the story about what is happening. Split cards forces our hand against doing that. Although, I initially loved the idea I think we need to kill it. Especially since it is only one cycle. I think the idea has more place in something like Ravnica or Alara.

New Phyrexian card shifts – Besides the ones we “reprint” I think I see Lighthammer’s point about what we want to take from New Phyrexia. Certain cards are important and we need our own takes on it if we don’t reprint. Puresteel Paladin for instance. He defines an equipment based deck which is something we need. I already mentioned shifting splicers but making them Mirran aligned. There are other cards we may need to do though, like what is our Vapor Snag? Or Mutagenic Growth?

Please take a look at the set file and start making new ideas to add based off of my comments above. We can focus where Mirrans are the strongest- Red mana symbolGreen mana symbol but you can talk about anything if you have something to add.

Some of mine:

Spoiler:
Sentinel of the Hammer 3 mana symbolA 2/R hybrid mana symbol.
Artifact Creature – Human Warrior Colorless mana symbol
Reforge 4 mana symbolA 2/R hybrid mana symbol.
3/2

Afflicted of the Tel’jelad 2 mana symbolGreen mana symbolGreen mana symbol
Creature – Elf Warrior Blue mana symbol
~ ETB with a -1/-1 counter on it.
1 mana symbolGreen mana symbol, remove a -1/-1 counter from ~: Destroy target artifact.
3/3

Check out my updated set hub.

Sat, 2012-04-28 05:24
Lighthammer
Lighthammer's picture

Some well thought ideas there Guitarweeps. I'm probably gonna need to re-read this post and think about a few major aspects of it.

A few thoughts (in no particular order) come to mind:

Some of the New Phyrexia cards that still seem to serve the overall purpose of the block but are Phyrexian themed could simply be functional reprints. Vapor Snag for instance, could be reprinted as Quicksilver Pull (yea, bad name, but it makes the point). I'm unsure if the mechanic needs to be changed at all.

I'm not sure if we defined Puresteel much yet, but it seems to me that we could make a secondary equip cost for these items as "Remove all -1/-1 counters from target creature you are equipping to" (better wording needed) and make them either immune to having counters placed on them or (maybe even as a vertical cycle) immune to having -1/-1 counters placed on them (IE Unommon Equipment would make them immune to all counters and Rare would make them immune to -1/-1 counters).

As far as Neurok goes, the one main thing I should toss out is the story should follow Kara Vrist on some level in regards to Mirrian Blue. She is a Neurok who is following the teachings of Melira in the story. This block certainly paired colors as enemy colors largely on many levels.

WB - Elish Norn maybe?
UR - Nothing defined as far as I know
BG - Phyrexian
RW - Bladeold
GU - Melira's group

I wonder if those groupings shouldn't be highlighted more for cross compatibly ?

BTW --- could you please remind me what Reforge does?

PS --- I think I'll be able to think more along the lines of Mirrodin after all the Avacyn theorcrafting is done. My brain is totally in Angel and Demons mode. I can't tell you how hard it is to not suggest Angel and Demon sounding card names right now :-|