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CardName: Great Designer Search 3 Cost: Type: Pow/Tgh: / Rules Text: It's up. Anyone joining? Flavour Text: Set/Rarity: Conversation Mythic

Great Designer Search 3
It's up. Anyone joining?
Updated on 22 Feb 2018 by Mal

History: [-]

2017-12-04 17:06:26: Mal created the card Great Designer Search 3

Cool! I'm definitely tempted!

I'm really interested to see how it goes, and I'd like to see how much my design skills have actually grown :)

But last time, I reflected realistically, I'm probably more satisfied to be a career programmer than a career designer, so I don't want to actually compete.

I figure if I win somehow, I'll just turn down the offer and tell them to pick another finalist because my actual interest in real MTG has waned dramatically over the last year.

Granted that's only if I win, so the chances of that are effectively zero, especially with that hefty salary being attached to an internship position.

On the plus side, it will probably increase the amount of people doing custom card design dramatically.

I have very similar reasons not to participate. However, it's a good point that the chances of winning are slim so that it might be a fun exercise nonetheless.

EDIT: Nevermind, it requires you to be residing in US.

I'll use my non-US status as excuse once again to sit by the sidelines. But I'll nevertheless be participating on the challenges from the outside as usual. I'll probably make a [GDS3] set here and put up my answers there, so you can all laugh at me getting an easy multiple choice question wrong (which IIRC would have kicked me out during GDS 1 or 2 already - but mostly because I didn't really make use of the whole time window).

A fun exercise is a fun exercise. :)

I recall during ( once again IIRC) GDS 2 one contestant late in the rounds was not technically eligible to work in the US yet, but they decided to go on with the contest on the basis that they would likely be able to arrange things if they made it to the finals (though they didn't and that was that).

I wonder whether a familiar name will turn up again. I recall being quite excited about Greg Krajenta making it in there and submitting some designs I recognized from their earlier posts at MtGS.

Yeah, it'd be cool if there's an open set for GDS3 where you just discuss essay questions, multiple choice questions, and design challenges.

I signed up for it! I know that the chances of winning are very very slim but if I'm sure it'll be a fun exercise for designing Magic cards nonetheless!

Woot, Woot! GDS3 here we come! Man, that was a long wait since I flubbed up the multiple choice section in GDS2. I somehow missed that Wizards printed 3 green creatures with vigilance. I could have just checked on Gatherer! I'm the Gatherer guy! Still bugs me.

Anyhow, if anyone on Multiverse gets selected, tell us. We have an awesome team here that are ready and eager to support you. Simply from being a part of this community, every person on this site has a leg up over the competition from word 'go'.

Oh, and here's one extra advantage everyone here has:

"Editor's note: If you submitted an entry for the Great Designer Search 3 prior to 11:30 a.m. PT on December 5, 2017, an internal error prevented your entry from being correctly recorded. This issue has since been corrected. Please resubmit your entry to ensure we receive it correctly."

It seems of our initial competition got eliminated by accident.

Not American

I'll be making an attempt.

Keep in mind it's a TOS violation to sign up if you're not willing to take the internship. I'll be done with classes by that point, but I will need to take a leave of absence from grad school. Too early to be able to finish up remotely, but I'll figure it out if I get there

Ahh, I forgot about that. I guess I'll just have to lose on purpose if I even get that far then.

link to contest?

Now I'm having second thoughts. I was originally just not going to do it because I wouldn't seriously take up the offer, but now I'm wondering, doing the first couple of rounds and dropping out is probably not actually a big deal.

At least sign up to get a peek at the essay questions. Certainly, there's no harm in that.

It's not like they won't make the essay questions public anyway. So why bother?

what is Great designer search?

Because if you change your mind after reading the questions, it is now too late.

@froggychum: The Great Designer Search 3 which is the current search.

The Great Designer Search 2 which was the previous search, back in 2011.

I was rereading some of GDS 2. I was pleased to see, I think I now could handle it a lot better than I could at the time. Partly from having got better at design, but mostly from being more willing to let go of ideas I have that don't work, and embracing the things that seem most likely to impress the judges. (Or that Mark explicitly asks for.)

I was impressed at how good the GDS2 contestents were, but also, how rocky many of their entries were. Their entries had more going for them than I could manage. But there are lots of problems that I could clearly see, even if hard to avoid, like "this plane just doesn't sound like a magic plane" applied to most of them, and "this is overcomplicated and isn't going to work" came up a lot.

rip im 14 and canadian

I agree a cardset here for discussion and such is a good idea - this one can do it nicely for the questions.

For the actual card design - would we all want to create our own sets; or all in a big messy set? There's interesting possibilities either way.

Interesting how many of the mechanics in GDS 2 later got printed in real magic. It looks like {c} was designed there, not long after the first zendikar/worldwake block (??)

Hey! The GDS3 questions were just sent to me in the mail!


And that's all I can legally say about them. 🤐

Good luck!

Oh; GDS3 isn't public? Huh.

@Jack: Thanks!

@Vitenka: Each stage isn't public until the stage is complete. So posting the questions (and/or my answers to them) would be a breach of the game rules and result in elimination. I'm sure part of this is to just eliminate both plaguerism, and crowdsourcing for answers.

Once the answers have been submitted and the deadline has passed, we can probably post them then.

I was going to, but I'm just not really in the mood to answer all of the questions. I mean, I guess I 'll see what I can churn out.

Yeah, the 10 page essay is probably a dealbreaker for a lot of applicants.

That's.. wow, that's quite a lot for a job interview process.

I made a habit of doing do 2,500 to 3,500 words bi-weekly, so this was just another week for me. But when I first started writing, cranking out something coherent of that size was a real challenge. The first step sure does favor writers, true enough.

I looked at answering the questions as I looked at writing essays at school. I just found my schoolwork had been more enjoyable.

I found that I had difficulty with the upper word limit, rather than the lower.

I was pleasantly surprised, I used to be really bad at writing what I knew someone wanted, but I seem to have slowly become ok at it.

Much of it is just an experience thing. I can bang out between 250 to 350 word response because I can visualize what that will probably take. About 4 long-ish paragraphs, or 5 tight ones. What points do I plan to hit? Major points that need to be explained in full require a paragraph apiece, etc., etc.

Nowadays, I don't even think about this stuff. I just bang it out, cause I kind of know where I'm going and trust myself. Ten years ago, though, I wouldn't really have a frame of reference. I used to do this sort of stuff back when I was in school, but that would have been ten years before ten years ago.

I do remember that the essays for GDS2 were more difficult for me to compose, yessir. I also remember padding a couple question/answers with words to pass that 250 word mark. Wasn't even a consideration this time around.

I should point out that I'm not trying to boast over here. I just think it's important for new writers who are struggling with their writing to know that it gets easier. Unless it gets harder. I don't suggest being one of those kinds of writers, though. You kind of have to do that to yourself.

I definitely felt like I was padding these out or repeating myself to meet the word minimums. I mean, I'm still a grad student and am in the mode of banging out nonsense, but I spent 8 hours on this on Sunday and it was difficult.

Looks like I made it to Trial 2. Anyone else?


I suspect they do a really cursory triage now, just to see who sent a response in and fits in the word limit, and do the real reading after the multiple choice test (or after the design challenge?). There are a LOT of essays. But I'm not sure, maybe they do cull out ones that seem bad or similar.

I have to assume that everyone who answers and stays within the word limit gets accepted for the second trial. There's no way to analyze the many essays in such a short time.

I'm glad you guys said something, though, because like the first email it was for some reason marked as read without me viewing it.

Yeah, Mark said it's just if you followed the rules. After all 3 are in they grade us

@jmg: Oh yeah, very well written. Thanks for sharing.

I can be more realistic about my own essays. I think the content was solid. But I could have been a lot clearer (e.g. more specific examples like an example haunt card). I debated saying "be more progressive, doofuses" but went with something design-focussed instead, but now I somewhat regret that.

@Jack: Thanks Jack! Having not seen your essays I can't really comment on them. But I wouldn't be too down about them if you don't feel they were as good as you'd want them to be. I'm sure the judges are more interested in stage 3 anyway. That's what the work really curtails, after all.

According to the rules, they're about 40% interested in the essays, 10% in the multiple choice, and 50% in stage 3

Some of these questions are rough.

I'll post which one tomorrow evening, but there's at least one that I feel has two equally valid answers. I must be missing something.

Probably not. There's going to be a few which people split hairs over. I know one of those questions drove me mad.

By my count, I had six questions that really could have gone in one of two ways, and one that had a potential 3-way split. We'll have to compare notes tommorrow.

There was a set of three questions the drove me mad, and a couple of others I was less sure about than I would have liked.

Yeah. I felt they did better than before at making clear questions, and I mostly had an answer I was happy with, but there were some I felt i understood the situation but wasn't sure what was asked, and one or two where I gave the best answer I could but really couldn't tell between two answers.

And some I'm just not good at like rarity, I think I did the best I could checking them out on gatherer.

In general I felt i did well doing the best I could, not getting trapped in a dodgy answer, but researching on gatherer and in the articles and choosing uncertain answers based on what I thought was most likely to succeed. But that still leaves quite a few I'm likely to have wrong, plus I probably made at least some silly mistakes.

Ok, looking over jays answers on goblin artisans, I screwed up a couple of questions from reading badly and several rarity questions. I should have checked those better.

And a few were just ambiguous but I think I did the best I could have done. Interested to see which jmg meant.

I felt that questions 4-6 were the most frustrating for me (though by all means, not the only tough questions.) For question 4, I felt that red-green and blue-red were almost equally valid choices. I can't even remember which one I picked, but I hope it was red-green. I felt that question five was difficult to answer because it depends so heavily on the environment. I think [I hope] I chose uncommon, especially since the card was multicolor. Then, I found 6 frustrating because it made me doubt my answer to question 4.

The battlecry question drove me batty. The obvious answer was Boros. But then the "Why would they bother asking the question if it's in the same two colors" specter rose its head.

What makes it worse it that Battlecry makes sense philosophically in Gruul and Rakdos. ("Waarg! Attack!" for Gruul. "Let's gang up and get 'im!" for Rakdos.) It's... um... not a great flavor choice for Boros. I mean, they're the military police. Detain makes a lot more flavor sense for those guys (obviously not a red ability. But you get the idea.)

Battlecry, though, doesn't reall match mid-range, which is where Gruul sits. I only kept doubling back to it because I was torn between Boros and Rakdos. And while it works with Rakdos' small team of aggressive creatures, Rakdos is really a strategy of 50% creatures and 50% spells. You want a high concentration of creatures, like in Boros, for Battlcry to work.

The question didn't really specify philosophy versus gameplay. But I figured Boros edged out the other two when both were combined. Still... must have spent 15 minutes going back and forth.

Just looked at Jay Treat's answers. I'm pretty sure I got two wrong off the top. Straight up missed that the cloning card had an enters the battlefield ability, as opposed to using 'as'... which makes sense from a design point of view as well because you want reanimation to target something. How weird. This was a tough question if you didn't notice the 0/0 wasn't possible. Once it was impossible, however, it becomes obvious.

I also chose to make a card I wanted development to like be as strong as possible instead of asking for help. My thought was that development would cost the card fairly, and I didn't want that. But in retrospect, asking for help was clearly the right answer. I'll be kind of upset if I lose by choosing wrong on this one...

On the Lightning Bolt/Llanowar Elves split: I went with Elves. My only notes for this question was, "What a rough split." Tough.

There's a fair shot Wizards won't agree with me on a number of the other ones. The rarity questions, for example, are tough. I'm pretty sure the Threaten variant is an uncommon, but I could also see someone saying "Too many little parts. Can't be less than a rare." Shrug

On a separte sidenote: It's going to be real funny if Llanowar Elves is reprinted in the upcoming set 'Dominaria'...

I just went with Boros. I wasn't sure, but several of the other questions seemed to be too obvious to be worth asking, like which plane had lots of wolves, so I went with the obvious answer.

The red green or red blue one was a pain. The typo makes me suspect it was changed and might not be a kosher question. I went with red green based on intuition of what they wanted but I don't think it was clear.

I screwed up a couple of question by reading them wrong and caught most but not all before I submitted. It is a real pain that sometimes the card is wrong, but the mistake is something you'd just assume wasn't meant in a real card, but in the test you have to notice the "mistake"

I hated the play design question, I'm pretty sure they ask sometimes but not usually, and it's not clear which the question meant.

Likewise, does counterspell deck mean draw go, or blue control deck but not solely counterspell based? I guessed they were asking about the former but I think you can't tell from the question

I get the impression that the Play Design question was intended to be "What you should do" versus "What we really do."

It's one of those job interview questions like "An employee bad mouths the customers and makes snide remarks just when they get out of earshot. What do you do?" The 'correct' answer isn't the answer they're looking for.

Ah, I see what you mean. I did go with ask as the answer, I felt they were fishing for it, but I wasn't really sure why. Your description makes sense. I was like, your ENTIRE JOB is to make cards play design likes, you can't always fob it off on them. But I guessed they wanted to make sure you ask sometimes.

I can't remember what I put for the question about play design. It was one of the ones I thought about for far too long. None of the answers were what I would have done. I sure hope I put "ask someone from play design," because there's what my gut tells me is right.

magic nerrrrdssss

no but really i wish you specialty brand Lucc, extra effective ;D <3

No emails yet, expected some time "in the morning" california time (6am was the time they sent out the other email, but if they need to do stuff manually, it might not be till noon).

However on tumblr, Mark describes making the decisions on Mon

3,085 people took the test. Three people got perfect scores. The cutoff ended up being 73 (of 75) in order to include approximately 100 people.

OK, that's a little higher than I expected but given the number of entrants I'm not surprised it was very high. I'm pretty sure I don't make the cut, there's two questions I got wrong, and I'm fairly sure there's at least one or two more. On GA, it looked like Jay got 74 so he's hopefully through. I don't know about anyone else.

Good luck anyone still hoping!

ETA: I'm fairly happy with how I did. I think I could have improved my score slightly with another round of thorough checking but since I was not really planning to succeed beyond the third round even in the best possible outcome, I don't think it would have been worth the considerable extra effort. I have learned more about how to take tests I'm serious about -- the main takeaway for me was recognise which questions I tend to be bad at and give them an extra separate round of checking imagining how people other than me are likely to answer them. And if I'm really really serious, to brainstorm the questions, asking "what might they be looking for" and "what might this be based on" to see if any relevant references emerge.

Results out! Apparently not breaking down the answers in detail, just "thank you, yes", or "thank you, no". There might be more when things in R&D are a bit less hectic. I think anyone who made the cut is doing the design challenge right now. Jay on GA made it through after a last minute scare that a couple of his answers were doubtful after all, don't know about anyone else.

Yeah, looks like I didn't pass either. Oh well!

Bad luck! :(

Did you get an email if it was a no? I haven't gotten an email either way, though when I looked over Jay's answers I remember thinking mine were very close. With my luck I probably missed just one too many. Lol

I got a "Bad luck, thank you, sorry, no" email, and everyone else seemed to be sure too; if you didn't I'd thoroughly check spam filter and if you still don't have anything, message Maro on twitter and ask him to check.

Someone on Goblin Artisans linked to a reddit thread which has a fairly canonical version of the right answers (based on which people made the cut and which didn't). I should have looked to see reddit's opinion earlier.

Of the suspicious questions, the answer seem to be:

  • Stealing +1/+1 hexproof trample is RG (but we don't know if there's a specific reason its not RU)
  • 4/4 flying vigilance is BG
  • "whenever this deals damage, draw a card" is U/G, untap isn't (despite the accidental 'trick question' that it should be combat damage)
  • Green doesn't kill for sport (I think this one is obvious if you read "for sport")
  • Play design, you should ask.
  • Commander decks, people should want to build new decks for the commanders more than the colours need to balance (I would have gone for that myself, but I missed that felt that wizards always made colours balance -- I should have realised they wouldn't have put "people are excited to design around them" as a fake answer)
  • Reprint Llanowar Elves (despite the worry that they wouldn't reprint elves even if they reprint a functional duplicate.)

What did I get wrong? The killing for sport one, the commander decks one, and I think I stuffed up a couple of the rarity questions as well.

Ironically, I think I got all of the harder questions correct, if I'd been willing to spend more time on it, I should have rechecked the questions I was a little bit uncertain about, not only the ones I was significantly uncertain about.

Ah, it was in my "promotions" folder. It was no, as I suspected.

If the Reddit thread is correct I belove I indeed missed 3 questions. Sigh.

Oh no! I'm so sorry. Off by one is so aggravating. I'm not exactly sure where I fell, I couldn't remember which answer I ended up giving for the ones where I wasn't sure, but I think I did worse than that :)

I'm still in it, I think with a score of 73.

Yeah, I was off by one too. It's a shame, but I made some stupid mistakes (didn't catch that removing haste was the least likely thing to happen).

I got all of the harder questions correct as well, but I missed the obvious ones. Aside from the 4/4 flying vigilance question, which I definitely should have read into a bit more.

wow , great jobs everyone! you probably did better on these tests than i did on my exams this year xD

Also I must have missed by one. Got dinged on the Gravedigger not being a common anymore. I chose Cloudchaser Eagle instead because it's a more direct two-for-one, and Wizards doesn't like to print that at common (Gravedigger takes more time to resolve its two-for-one, and is closer to a Divination than to an Nekrataal effect.) But digger gets digger. I can see where they'd think that's more important.

You know, for what's it's worth, I learned my lesson from the GDS2 and did a ton of research for every question I saw. Kind of funny that I failed this test because I evidently didn't look up Gravedigger to find that it's been an uncommon the last two times it was printed.

Opponent having an enchantment is less likely than you having a dude or two in the grave.

Ouch, bad luck :( Looking back at the 0/0 creature one, I am a little annoyed that for THAT one (and a few others) you're supposed to take the text as printed, even though it clearly SHOULD be "as ETB" not "when ETB". But for some other questions (like "when this deals damage" not "when this deals combat damage") you're supposed to answer as if it says what it obviously should say.

I think I got those right through "guessing what they wanted" techniques, but they tripped up some very very good designers who weren't exactly wrong.

I'm not surprised some of that slipped through, avoiding it is really hard. Overall I'd say the test is v good. But that kind of thing is v aggravating when you're post-morteming.

@Tahazzar: True that. I don't think I'm exactly wrong about Cloudchaser Eagle. It just wasn't the best choice out of the five.

It occurs to me that I did look that question up on Gatherer, now that I think about it. But I framed my search as a search for commons with these specific etb abiliites. Neither CE or GD ability is in common in Standard. After that point, I used what I thought was a logical answer. It didn't occur to me to look up the card Gravedigger specifically. That would have the solved the problem immediately.

@Phopus: Hey! Good jorb! It's easy to get lost dwelling over one's mistakes in contest as involved as this one, so I almost missed that you're still in. Go knock 'em dead!

@jmgariepy: Thanks, Coach Z! I'm excited.

So... I had a scheduled lack of access to the web for a while...

Will somebody fill me in on whether this is still in progress?

Trial 3 was due on Sunday. We're not supposed to share details about it yet. The results of that will be announced March 9; hopefully we will hear back privately before then.

Third trial's been made public:

Tldr: 10 cards, 2 of each 2-color pair, 2 of each card type (other than artifact), at least 2 of each rarity

Yeah, so the first 3-4 cards are pretty open-ended, so you can pick your best designs first and use those, but then you pretty quickly get locked in on what your other cards need to be. Although the two flex slots in rarity were pretty nice.

It was a really enjoyable challenge.

Following that link makes things much clearer "2 of each card type" would have been a much harder task.

Well, with two planeswalkers given you don't really have to worry about the mythic rare slot - which would be a blessing for me, personally, as I tend towards making commons.

I actually am confident that making good planeswalkers would be the restriction I would worry most about. I expect some designers to go all out with some of the more experimental design ideas there, too. While WotC has by now made the box a lot larger with four-ability walkers, {x} casting costs, no plus-abilities etc. There are still some weird ones out there.

Woah, that's hard. I used to design individual cards a lot, but now I usually focus on mechanics or sets, it's really hard to design an individual card that says "I'm such a good designer".

I'm almost glad I didn't have to try this.

And the combination is hard as well, although a good idea: fulfilling weird combinations of requirements shows off a breadth and depth of design skills.

I would have been tempted to randomly choose a valid combination of colours and rarities and types, and then design ten cards to fit that, rather that constantly trying to rejig stuff.

Would you look thruogh your old designs and pick your favorites? Or start from scratch by making ten new cards?

Maro in the podcast said that the intent was to force people to do a bit of each. Show off some of their best work, show the ability to convert stuff to better fit constraints, and come up with a few off the cuff.

Seems like a good plan.

After having created thousands of cards, it's hard to even remember what cards one has made. Let alone decide a favorite or best. Thankfully the task is easier with a database like this site, where you can peruse all the stuff you have created over the years.

The test also demands that you infer what they look for in each card. For example, rarity matters. Common designs have different criteria, limitations, expectations than rares and mythic rares. Then obviously how well the cards match with their respective color pair / guild.

But other conditions may be more dubious. They didn't specifically for, say how exciting or out of the box the designs should be. Let alone how much value or points into such areas.

In short, what constitutes 'better' designs? Balanced? Exciting? Conforming?

All that said, what strategy would you apply to this test? What combination of guild+type+rarity for each card? Planeswalkers can only be mythic rare. Would you make a third mythic? How about legendary creatures? Are they safe or risky to include?

Actually, given the constraints, there are only 6 ways to couple the guilds. Let's define E(nemy) and A(llied) colored guilds.

The obvious pattern is five A-E couples. This pattern I use, naturally, due to first to pop to mind.

The other pattern allows five variations. Five ways to form a set of A-A, A-A, A-E, E-E, and E-E couples. The key is the sole A-E couple; once that has been determined, the rest will fall into place.

I have no idea what you mean with couples. What do the coupes have in common? Card type?

I wouldn't worry to much about card type coupling to allied or enemy color combinations - neither for rarity.

I probably would make a planeswalker, creature, enchantment and instant/sorcery for each color combination too amass some concepts and have a pool to draw from and cull from those everything I don't like until I have a handful of good designs and start filling out holes.

Then I would iterate.

Disappointingly, I did not make top 8. Plus side, I can finish my sets on here, which I know you are all dying for me to do.

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