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CardName: Colored lands Cost: Type: Pow/Tgh: / Rules Text: Flavour Text: Set/Rarity: Conversation None

Colored lands
Created on 13 Dec 2013 by Circeus

History: [-]

2013-12-13 04:22:10: Circeus created and commented on the card Colored lands

I haven't quite been able to decide what kind of effects colored land (e.g. ((C29386))), basic or nonbasic, might have upon the various formats. Thoughts please?

Well, one major reason they didn't like it in the past was that it made them easier to destroy. And that was back when 2-mana land destruction was a thing.

But the colour hosers are less extreme now. So less of a problem.

There's also "My creature has prot green, can I pay its mana costs with mana from green lands?" Which is minor, but avoiding it is nice.

But apart from making life a little bit nicer for a new player (I mean, it is just obvious that forests are green, right?) I dunno what they should do specially. They feel like snow land - minor enough to not matter. (The set could have a devotion-like mechanic, I guess)

Most beginners expect lands to be coloured. If it was basic lands, I'd say the lands should be coloured by default, just because that's what you'd expect.

However, that doesn't really help with vivid lands, etc (one colour, all colours, all colours until they lose their counter)? Or Kessig Wolf Run (colourless? rg?)

Aggregation problems in another factor. Ancient Den seemed fair, if not weak, when it first appeared. One year later, it was banned. That was probably affinity's fault. Maybe. But affinity hasn't really been a problem since Wizards dropped the ban hammer on the artifact lands.

Colored lands seem to create similar problems with cards that ask you to count the number of colored permanents you control. Also of note: This is the reason why Wizards didn't print any card that said "Tribal Land - Elf" in Lorwyn.

Admittedly, most cards care about 'red creatures', not 'red permanents'. But the cards that do ask for colored permanents (Horde of Boggarts's cycle, and Halam Djinn's cycle, for example) get a crazy large boost. I don't think this is so much a question of "What design space am I gaining", but "What design space am I willing to sacrifice."

Good point. We may not be able to change now, even if it would have been more intuitive if forests were green to start with.

I'll note that the Fieldmist Borderpost cycle play quite like coloured lands (deliberately so). It's great to cast a Bant Sureblade on turn 2 off a t1 Borderpost, and have it power up your Faerie Swarm and View from Above as well.

(They're also useful in an extort deck or a Mishra, Artificer Prodigy deck because they're "lands" that count as artifact spells. But that's less relevant to this discussion.)

So it turns out Magic can cope with "lands" occasionally having colour (there's also always Dryad Arbor). But the question remains, why would you want to? What problem are you solving or what gameplay experience are you enabling by doing it?

They're not colored because they're not spells. You didn't spend colored mana to play it.

Apples are fruit because they contain seeds within their flesh.

Or, to put it another way - yes; that's true. So what? The question is about making coloured lands. I guess you bring up a point, it makes it easy to have lands that have a casting cost. Magic has avoided that, to try and keep lands and artifacts and enchantments distinct (and as Alex points out, kinda failed whenever they've stretched it - though I do remember HORRIBLY misplaying a deck that has those 'lands' in, because I saw the casting cost and mulliganned.)

Ignoring the tech needed to make it happen - maybe costly lands is worth thinking about? I mean heck, it opens up kicker land...

So what? I should ask you that. So what is the point of the desire for colored lands? What is so great about them? What groundbreaking gameplay can be achieved by their presence? Is there a hole that only they can fill, if there were such a hole?

Well, that's sort of the question here, yes. Mechanically; you don't actually NEED anything beyond the sorcery and a lot of rules test. But flavourfully, lands provide a lovely natural separation: These cards make mana, and the rest use it.

So maybe that's the answer. If you want to give them the "Consumes mana" background - lands that do NOT provide mana, but instead consume it for effect. Such lands have typically been shied away from as "But it's not really a land now"; and that's got some meat in it. But a land with the coloured frame? Well, that's obviously not quite land. The difficulty then, of course, is how it differs from an enchantment or artifact; other than by being hard to kill.

amuseum's "didn't spend colored mana" point doesn't really hold. There are plenty of cards whose colour don't correspond to the mana paid for them: Ghostfire, Transguild Courier, Intervention Pact, Withengar Unbound, and of course Dryad Arbor. Vitenka reminds me of cards like Rupture Spire that are effectively lands with mana costs. So Magic has done lands with colour, and lands "with mana costs", but shied away from lands with an actual real mana cost (and colour derived from it).

The rules would need significant updates to allow lands to have mana costs. The cards would need reminder text to indicate whether paying the mana cost was "as well as" the land drop (Rupture Spire) or instead of it (Fieldmist Borderpost, Petrified Forest).

However, I definitely agree with amuseum's questioning of what the point is in doing this. I think the game would almost certainly be better served by keeping the divide between lands (cost a land drop) and other permanent types (cost mana) as clear-cut as possible.

Is it possible to agree with a bunch of different simultaneous points? I agree with all of you. Weird.

I think part of the problem is that we're taking this from a bottom-up perspective: "We have colored lands. Now what do we do with them?" The correct answer to that question is throw them in the trash; we don't need them. I'm sure colored lands can be a part of the game, dripping with flavor and all that... but the only way that's going to make any sense is if we happened to stumble upon it from a top down point of view: "These lands feel a lot like enchantments. What if we gave them a color?"

That said, I'm going to try my hand at bottom-up. How about something like this?:

Icecrack Sheaf
Color - Blue
~ enters the battlefield tapped.
­{t}: Add {u} to your mana pool.
Discard ~ from your hand, {1}{u}: Counter target Red or Green activated ability.

Any set that featured these would have to have enough effects so that the color mattered. But you could save some in-set room by printing most of the colored effects on the lands themselves. That gives us two reasons for colored lands: 1). Flavor, since the lands feel like they could have been instants. And, 2). color is how these lands interact. They must be colored, or they need different abilities.

that still doesn't tell me
why it should be colored
what is gained from being colored

besides the usual "because we can".

that said, i guess most of you missed my recent cards Petrified Forest and Dangerwood Grove. yes it's a bold mash of a new (sub)type on a colored land. the latter is justified by the cost and abilities. the former because it just makes flavor sense. and hopefully grokkable way to merge two long-runningly craved design ideas that never made and may never make it to official cards.

nevertheless the coloredness of this new design is not critical or even useful. it's merely incidental due to the new way of playing these lands.

I never thought 'because we can' was a bad excuse to do anything. It's a bad excuse to keep doing something, true. But I've often found 'because we can' often leads to 'why didn't we do this before?'

That said, I don't disagree. I don't have a particular desire to see colored lands. I'm certainly open to monkeying around with the idea or reflecting on other people's designs on the subject. In the end, though, I wouldn't put any of that design in a set unless I was positive a tipping point was achieved, and some excellent and new space was being explored. My example doesn't do that. If I kept pushing, I could get there, maybe. It's a lot more effort than I'd be willing to put in, though.

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