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CardName: Multicolor Flying in GDS 3 Cost: Type: Pow/Tgh: / Rules Text: Flavour Text: Set/Rarity: Conversation None

Multicolor Flying in GDS 3
Updated on 10 Feb 2018 by Jack V

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2018-01-30 10:39:08: Jack V created and commented on the card Multicolor Flying in GDS 3

The question about, "We avoid doing two-colour creatures which could be done in a single colour. Which of these colour combinations is best for a 4/4 flying vigilance?"

I went back and forth a bit but after the first sentence, I felt they were clearly looking for BG, not WU.

I still think that's true, but after the test, I went fishing in gatherer and if so, the detractors seem to have a stronger case than the question itself.

In theory, WG creatures can have flying plus a green keyword. But they never do. Almost ever. The entire stable of GW flying seems to be: several cycles of angels or dragons where the whole cycle has flying; one planechase rare; three pre-modern cards. Vigilance doesn't arise, they don't seem to do GW flying at all. I think that's less than RG flying.

And conversely, flying vigilance creature are several WU and no BG.

Or did I screw up the search? I do that a lot. If so, disregard.

This does seem to be a "know what we say, not what we do" question (unless I'm wrong about the answer) :)

­{w/u} white / blue hybrid

The Question itself is misleading. In multicolor set, these creatures seems baseline, expected.

Um... Pure-White gets 4/4 flying vigilance. Famously. It's almost the only flying white DOES get.

So sure, {w}{u} can have it. The {u} is presumably doing something else.

I saw this question formatted as this in another place:

"We try to avoid making two-color cards where the card could be done as a monocolor card in one of the two colors. Given that, suppose you have a two-color 4/4 creature with flying and vigilance (and no other abilities). Which of the following color combinations would be the best choice for this card?"

It's the bolded part that would make me really nervous about what does the questioner actually really want.

Wizards has changed their policy about gold and hybrid over the years. It used to be that ability color overlap was normal for gold. But now they see that as the perview of hybrid. A 4/4 creature with hexproof and flash could cost {3}{u/g}{u/g}, but should never cost {3}{g}{u}. Or at least that's my interpretation.

These questions were not well written

The issue with these questions is there is a huge disconnect with what they think they want and what they actually allow to print.

But change my answer to UG. Fact is, vigilance is no longer part of blue. No blue creatures with vigilance since Alara. So you can't print this in monoblue (any more.)

So pair blue for flying and green for vigilance, this would be a blue green card that might actually be printed. Contrary, this would never be printed as Black green.

Okay, how is the question confusing? The first sentence can be easily read: "We avoid making white- cards if the card could also just be done as monocolor white card. Repeat for each other color."

So knowing that for each color combination offered as an option you ask yourself two questions:

  1. Can these two colors have these abilities?
  2. Can one of these colors have all/both of these abilities?

You want to pick the color combination that is "yes" to 1. and "no" to 2.

You are supposed to be aware of 1. already and they give you the hint to take 2. into consideration as well for this task (hence "Given that").

Note that this is something they "try to avoid" not a hard rule.

I also wouldn't be surprised if the explanation given was a simplification that is missing an "only" or "exactly" e. g. "flying, vigilance" in white-blue or green-white would be bad, but "flying, lifelink" in white-black would be decent.

So, what I'm getting at is that they probably still employ the "Chinese Menu" method and the "Venn Diagram" method, but want to avoid cards like Rhox War Monk where colors are not equally represented in the abilities (or not at all).

Sure the answer is easy, but only as a trivia question. The conflict is that the answer is so far apart from the practice, that the question is misleading for future designs.

In all of Modern, there is exactly 1 {b}{g} flying. In all of Modern, there is exactly 0 {b}{g} vigilance. So the chances of {b}{g} flying vigilance is near 0.

So how is this a good lesson for future designers to adhere?

I suppose they used an example that requires understanding the underlying principle rather than searching a card database for a similar card, so they use a combination that has not occured.

As an aside: You also seem to be unaware or ignoring that there were five options to choose from and green-blue was not one of those options - though it would certainly otherwise fit.

The problem is, they will never print a BG flying vigilance creature. Black is third at flying, they can't reasonably use it to grant flying; likewise with green, it's a distant second at vigilance, it's unreasonable to get vigilance from it.

Huh. OK, I noticed something interesting. UG gold cards in modern often DO get flying. But WG ones basically never do. I wonder why that is?

I think green has so many negative flying points, that only blue has enough flying points to get it positive again

I thought W and U got flying equally, is blue still better?

I think that's basically the case, but I'm not sure the official description of the colour pie includes colours having negative abilities. Are there any other examples? BW gets Enchantment destruction for instance

Blue feels more flying, imo. And green is so much more fundamentally anti-flying than any other color/mechanic combination. This is in no way official, but I bet there's still a subconscious bias

You touched on another facet that the question sidestepped: the identity of the color combination together, not just individually. The error is the question conflating two parts of the understanding of the color pie: the indivdual color identity and color pair identity. The 'correct' answer implies that you can combine any two attribute of different colors, and it will become acceptable for the color pair. That's a wrong lesson for future designs.

But you CAN combine any two attributes of different colors to make an acceptable color pair card. That's chinese menu design, and they do it reasonably often.

By the rules, yes. Doesn't mean the color pairs' unified identities don't introduce biases towards what they actually do in practice. A BG card might be allowed to have flying and vigilance, but that feels very wrong. BG feels like an earthy, deliberate pair, not flighty and reactive. Designing cards is way more of an art than a science, but some of these questions felt like going down a checklist, which isn't reflective of how design is done.

It seems to me that the main issue here lies in the exposure we have gotten to {b}{g} factions. Incidentally, neither the necromancer farmers of Golgari nor the dark elves of Gilt Leaf have any predilection towards flying. Does this mean that {b}{g} cards general don't fly? No, I don't think so.

Let me present to you:

"Neldanc Coven" (image render link)

Are we done here? xD

As i've shown, in all of modern, exactly 1 {b}{g} flying. There's simply no impetus in this direction.

Even {r}{g} would have a better chance. Especially since the question specifically mentions 4/4 flying, that's Dragon territory. Then there have been several {r}{g} creatures with or granting vigilance. This could actually be a thing.

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