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CardName: Do we need Enchantments and Artifacts? Cost: Type: Artifact Enchantment Pow/Tgh: / Rules Text: Flavour Text: Set/Rarity: Conversation Common

Do we need Enchantments and Artifacts?
 
 C 
Artifact Enchantment
Created on 24 Apr 2014 by amuseum

History: [-]

2014-04-24 17:34:57: amuseum created and commented on the card Do we need Enchantments and Artifacts?

The main argument every time someone designs around enchantments and artifacts is that some colors can't deal with them. So should we not even make them if everyone wants easy mode? It will streamline the game to just have creatures, lands, and planeswalkers as the only permanent types.

2014-04-24 17:35:11: amuseum edited Do we need Enchantments and Artifacts?

Is this a troll post?

Indeed; we don't need old chestnuts or dead horses either. Short answer: See "Portal".

Mechanically, coloured artifacts and enchantments are identical. (As are colourless enchantments and artifacts.) - although they provide a clear thematic difference; Sigils and glowing energy, versus big physical thing you can hold.
But we can lump them together. Then; can we just get rid of them?

Well, they don't attack. Except Artifact creatures that do. So they belong on creatures rather than lands. So mechanically, we can do it, easy.

Is it worth doing? You lose complexity. That's usually a good thing. But you also lose some good complexity - including stuff that makes choosing which colour to play matter. You lose "This subset of stuff is easy for {g/w} to deal with, this subset is easy for {g/r} to deal with; and {b/r} can deal with this subset. {u} has a bit more trouble."

You lose thematics, as discussed - and also made mass creature kill frankly completely unreasonably powerful. That's a pretty big downside on its own; every wrath effect becomes nev's disk?

Trying to recapture that in subtypes pretty much just brings back the supertype; so...

In short; it can be done; it's in fact pretty easy TO do. But it's probably not healthy for the game. Plenty of simpler CCGs exist, almost all failed.

There is a mechanical nuance between artifact and enchantment, too (though it's been kinda artificially maintained, as MaRo points out): normally only artifacts are allowed to have tap effects. I'm with Vi in general, too. Plus there is a much stronger difference between Auras and equipments, and that introduces interesting play and design decisions of its own.

Because artifacts are colorless, they are allowed a lesser variety of effects than enchantment. An artifact with a blue colored activation cost loses the usefulness of a colorless casting cost.

Of course I'm assuming we wouldn't have colored artifacts to replace enchantments. One unexpected side effects is that at least one type of removal will become a lot more relevant. If sets now contain 50% more artifacts and no enchantments, red becomes a LOT better. If artifacts are removed, black and red get worse because that means there are more permanents they can't deal easily with. Multicolor decks are also hurt because colorless mana fixing is an important feature of limited, and often constructed.

Actually this topic is in response to people who harp on the fact that red and black can't deal with enchantments and artifacts. so does that mean we shouldn't make any strong ones, or even at all? no more interesting noncreatures because players don't like to main noncreature removal, if at all because of color pie. it's a hassle for the majority who just likes to turn creatures sideway and send them into the red zone.

Well Theros is a good supporting evidence for this. Note that this was the long-awaited "enchantment" block. It had only five total noncreature nonAura enchantments in the first two sets. in comparison RTR Block average 9 per set. Part of the reason is flavor of Theros and partly because it makes wotc's job easier if they don't have to worry about strategies built around noncreatures breaking standard or limited. JOU finally gave us true enchantments, but too little too late.

So now we have both majority of players and designers who don't miss noncreatures that much. Even armchair designers here making custom sets for an imaginary playerbase follow this fear of noncreature interaction, or lack thereof.

You don't have to avoid making strong cards completely.

You do need to bear in mind "Is this sufficiently interactive? If not, is a high enough bar being set to warrant that?"

Creatures naturally interact with whatever it is the other player is doing. Enchantments; well... some do, some don't. And that's a finicky thing.

Creature-Enchantments is kinda Theros' thing. So many of those does kinda reduce the available space for non-creature enchantments.

In short - think of them as being at their best when they're spice. Occasional "Look ma, no creatures!" is fine, but you wouldn't enjoy games where it was the norm.

I'm of the opinion that getting rid of enchantments and artifacts is bad, but not from a mechanical perspective. There would be a tremendous flavor vacuum in the game if both of them left. Wizards need their books, wands, summoning circles and mystic barriers. If you don't include those things, the theme of the game stops becoming Magic, and starts becoming 'Summoner Wars'.

And if we're to assume that enchantments and artifacts exist, then we've got to assume that good ones will be printed, because Magic isn't made by one guy. Some of the team will end up disagreeing with the 'artifact and enchantments can't be good' theory, and end up making good arts. and enchs.. It's kind of inevitable.

If that's the case, and it still really bothers people that Black and Red can't do anything in this environment, then I guess the correct response would be to change what black and red can do (It's kind of what they did to Green, anyway, and I haven't heard too many people complain.) I'd speculate as to ways black and red could handle arts and echs in this environment, but I get the feeling that discussion is outside the realm of this one...

i remember the "good ol' days" when artifact and enchantment hate was prevalent, including stuff like power leak and feedback (both were blue, but could move to black and red.) back then, Magic had a much stronger aura of mystique and broader realms of possibilities compared to today's safely-designed and easily-solved "summoner wars". there were a lot of cool build around cards like stasis/winter orb (and later the fairer version in rising waters), enduring renewal, seismic assault, etc.

I'll just join in on this one point:

Even armchair designers here making custom sets for an imaginary playerbase follow this fear of noncreature interaction, or lack thereof.

I gave my full custom set Clockwork Wings a fair amount of playtesting. Most of the themes and mechanics playtested very well. Would you like to guess what the most problematic mechanic was? It was the "connectors" idea, which are "equipment for artifacts" like Calistronic Galvaniser and Ergetric Resonator. The big problem? It was uninteractive.

Sometimes the connector player could assemble a pretty powerful chain of connected artifacts, and there was very little the opponent could do to stop it; even given this was an artifact-heavy set and therefore had a greater than usual amount of artifact removal at common. Sometimes, by contrast, the connector player would spend a while fiddling with artifacts that didn't interact with what the opponent was doing, and so the opponent was able to stomp them. In both cases, the games felt uninteractive, and therefore less fun. If I ever go back and fix Clockwork Wings, the connector mechanic is definitely the one I need to pay the most attention to, and the one most likely to be junked, because it's hard to make it interactive and that means it's hard to make it fun. This isn't just ivory-tower theorycrafting; I've played games with it, and those games were less fun than the other games with that same custom set.

And of course, it's worth remembering the times in Magic's history when an uninteractive theme has been prominent. Shadow. Stasis. These are mechanics that have their place, but when they're too good and too prevalent, games become less fun.

The fact that you cite Stasis / Rising Waters / Winter Orb not just as notable enchantments/artifacts (which they clearly are) but as the "good old days" suggests that... well, the charitable interpretation is that you happen to find noninteractive mechanics more fun than most players. That's fine as far as it goes, but for those of us custom designers who do the standard "design like Wizards unless otherwise stated" thing, it's very important to identify which mechanics we have a much greater or much lesser tolerance for than most players. We need to not just design for players like ourselves.

Mmm. The original StarWars CCG is another very good example of a game of that sort; where the two players pretty much rush to their own goal without interacting much.

And some people swear by that game. And keep making unofficial expansions for it. So there is an audience.

But, well, they stopped making it. There isn't a very BIG audience.

(Oh, it wouldn't be called 'Summoner Wars'; it's be called 'Lords of Chaos' and I wants it! And.. thinking about it; the rise of the terrible rush of clone CCG-battle monster crap on mobile suggests that yeah, there's a big market for a grossly simplified magic.)

I swear by that game. Though, to be fair, it only started to get non-interactive in Dagobah, after I stopped playing. Before that, the game was incredibly interactive... at least in my group. The meta was crazy... but I think part of the problem was that you needed access to most of the cards for that to matter...

if all you want is creature interaction, then magic is quite poor at it. there are much better CCGs for that. those CCGs are designed from the ground up to maximize combat strategies and creatures interaction. Magic's strength is pulling back and look at the bigger picture by abstracting all facets of the game. which includes embracing strategies around noncreatures. however, it trades deep combat for abstracted combat.

those were the good old days because Magic used to be so open-ended and full of possibilities. look, the last two blocks RTR and Theros were so tame and uncreative. Rehashing old mechanics, trite limited fodder that are repeated in every block. an enchantment block where very few of them are actually playable or even memorable, what a joke.

"Limited fodder" isn't new. You're kidding yourself if you think it is. It extends the life of the game, too, which can't be ignored.

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