Making_Magic

Support Group

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BUYBACK

(Buyback cards)

Okay everyone, it's time to start. Can we please all take our seats?

We have a new member for our support group, so I thought maybe we'd start by having him introducing himself to you and then all of you could introduce yourselves to him.

Go ahead.

UNDYING

(Undying cards)

Um, hi. My name is Undying. I'm a mechanic in the new Dark Ascension set.

Where do I start?

I'm been having a lot of difficulty dealing with an issue that has really been kind of defining my self-esteem.

I'm a strong mechanic. Development was honestly a little scared of me. This week on DailyMTG.com is a theme week in my honor. I'm getting very positive reviews. Yet despite all that I feel in most people's eyes I'm just "Persist with upside."

VANISHING

(Vanishing cards)

It sure beats being strictly worse.

REINFORCE

(Reinforce cards)

Vanishing, I don't think you're supposed to interrupt.

BUYBACK

It's okay. The whole point of having a group is to spur discussion.

VANISHING

I'm just saying that I don't have much sympathy for strictly better. You know why? Because the players like you when you're better.

UNDYING

That doesn't mean I don't want to be my own mechanic. I don't want to live in my big brother's shadow my whole life.

VANISHING

How about living in another mechanic's shadow and being despised? You know how sick and tired I am of hearing, "Why can't this just have been Fading"?

HORSEMANSHIP

(Horsemanship cards)

At least design was trying to improve you. I'm an identical copy of the most popular mechanic of all time except with worse flavor.

EVOKE

(Evoke cards)

But you were in Portal Three Kingdoms. That wasn't even sold in most of the world. Most players don't even know you exist.

HORSEMANSHIP

Thank you, Evoke. That was very comforting.

REPLICATE

(Replicate cards)

I don't think he meant anything by it. Emotions can run high in group.

BUYBACK

I think we're straying a little bit. Undying, why don't you tell the others why you're here?

UNDYING

Well, I've been having quite a problem dealing with this whole identity issue. I didn't know where to turn or how deal with it so I did something stupid-I tried committing suicide.

It didn't work obviously. You think I'd know my own mechanic.

Anyway, it became clear that I needed some help, so my therapist suggested I come here. And by suggested, I mean court ordered.

That's my story.

BUYBACK

Let's go around and introduce everyone else.

Evoke, why don't you start?

EVOKE

I'm Evoke. I'm from Lorwyn. I'm always compared with Kicker.

ENTWINE

(Entwine cards)

I thought we agreed not to say his name.

EVOKE

Sorry. I'm often compared to Mr. K.

ENTWINE

Thank you.

INFECT

(Infect cards)

I'm Infect. I'm from Scars of Mirrodin block. Players seem to think I'm just the combination of two previously existing mechanics, Poison and Wither.

Isn't that like saying a Reese's Peanut Butter cup is just peanut butter and chocolate? Isn't the combination of two things unto itself something new?

Plus, I don't even work like Poison. Poison's not damaged-based.

SPLIT SECOND

(Split Second cards)

Wither is.

INFECT

Yes. Once again, the combination is what makes it new.

SPLIT SECOND

Whatever.

INFECT

Seriously? You're the one to talk? Mr. "Look At Me, Interrupts Are Back?"

SPLIT SECOND

I am not an interrupt. That is not how interrupts worked.

Not exactly.

Anyway, I'm Split Second. I'm from Time Spiral.

CHANGELING

(Changeling cards)

I'm Changeling. I come from the Lorwyn block as well.

My issue is not a mechanic but a card, Mistform Ultimus.

When I was created, a lot of players yelled at me for making Mistform Ultimus less special.

A lot of people didn't get that that was the point. Of course you copy things people like. Why would you copy things people hate?

Serra Angel predates vigilance but you don't see players going after her like they go after me.

I don't understand. If you like something, why wouldn't you want more of it?

Isn't design supposed to make new mechanics people like?

Why do players have to be so mean?

So, um, that's my issue.

ENTWINE

I'm Entwine. I'm from Mirrodin. Like many here, I have some issues with a certain Invasion mechanic I believe overstepped his boundaries.

How do you compete with a mechanic that does everything?

I don't even think he should count as a mechanic.

He's not really even a mechanic. He's every mechanic.

Of course, everyone follows in his footsteps. They're giant footsteps.

How can you not?

REINFORCE

I'm Reinforce from Morningtide.

I think a lot of players just think of me as a Cycling variant.

Which I am. I freely admit it, but I have a different effect.

Doesn't that count for something? Trading a card in your hand for +1/+1 counters just isn't the same as a card, right? If you pull back too much, aren't we all just Kickers and split cards?

ENTWINE

We promised that we weren't going to mention his name!

BUYBACK

We all know Entwine is a little sensitive about You-Know-Who, so let's just call him Mr. K.

INTIMIDATE

(Intimidate cards)

I'm Intimidate, or as the kids like to call me, New Fear.

Not to my face, of course, because I will punch them.

BUYBACK

I know this isn't your Anger Management group, Intimidate, but I have to remind you that we do not talk about violence here.

INTIMIDATE

I thought this is the place for us to express our feelings. I'm not going to hurt anyone. I'm just expressing that I feel like I would like to.

I understand that on a black card I am very similar to Fear, but that was the point. Fear pigeon-holed himself to one color. Not to mention his name. Why does instilling fear into something make others not want to block it?

"I'm so afraid. Don't block me."

My take on this is that if you just think of the players as idiots it's a lot easier to handle.

UNEARTH

(Unearth cards)

I'm Unearth from Shards of Alara block.

Players tend to refer to me as Flashback for creatures. Which is true. Rosewater said when he designed me that I was inspired by Flashback, so I've come to terms with that.

Mostly.

MULTIKICKER

(Multikicker cards)

I'm Multikicker from Worldwake.

Obviously, I'm often associated with Mr K.

INFECT

Because you are Mr. K.

You're not a new mechanic. You're at best a variant and I'd call you a tweak. You and Landcycling should start your own group-mechanics that can't read their own name.

MULTIKICKER

I think one could see me as an extension.

INTIMIDATE

Infect's right. You're just Kicker.

ENTWINE

We promised!

INTIMIDATE

I never promised anything.

Kicker! Kicker! Kicker! Kicker!

He's the reason half of you guys are here. Why can't we say his name?

MULTIKICKER

I have the ability to be activated multiple times. Kicker-Mr. K can't do that.

INTIMIDATE

Fine, you're the love child of Kicker and Replicate. That still doesn't make you original.

REPLICATE

I'm right here.

MULTIKICKER

You're the one to talk?

INTIMIDATE

I opened up the mechanic to four other colors. Plus, I work differently on multicolor and colorless permanents.

MULTIKICKER

In a confusing way.

INTIMIDATE

Oh, you're playing the comprehension card?

Does Comet Storm ring a bell?

[**][VANISHING GETS UP AND LEAVES.]

BUYBACK

Discussion is good. Fighting is not.

UNDYING

What just happened?

BUYBACK

Vanishing doesn't handle conflict well.

EVOKE

Vanishing doesn't tend to stay for the whole meeting. He usually leaves partway through.

INFECT

Typical.

BUYBACK

Horsemanship?

HORSEMANSHIP

I'm Horsemanship from Portal Three Kingdoms.

I'm Flying flavored for a different market.

INFECT

Remind me again. Why can't creatures on the ground block a guy on a horse?

Knights are on horses. They can be blocked.

REPLICATE

I'm Replicate from Guildpact.

Another associate of Mr. K.

Although, as Multikicker pointed out, I can activate multiple times, which Mr. K. can't do.

That's really all I got.

Go Izzet.

BUYBACK

Now that everyone else has been introduced, let me introduce myself. I am Buyback from Tempest. I too am thought of as being a subset of our famous Mr. K, although in my case I predated him by several years.

I am the counselor for this group.

Since Undying is new to the group, I thought we could spend today's session letting Undying talk about his issues and we could share our own personal related stories.

Undying?

UNDYING

I'm not sure what you want me to say.

BUYBACK

How about this. I sense some frustration. Why don't you explain why you're so frustrated?

UNDYING

I just feel like the game of Magic is all about variations on a theme. Every year has a Giant Growth dressed up in new clothing. No one seems to blink about that.

Why, then, is every new mechanic measured up against whatever mechanic worked closest to it?

SPLIT SECOND

It has to do with human nature.

Humans just need context.

It helps them adapt to new stimuli.

INTIMIDATE

Are you played?

UNDYING

What?

INTIMIDATE

Are you played? Do players play with you?

UNDYING

Yeah, especially in Limited.

INTIMIDATE

Then stop your whining.

If the players play with you, who cares what they say?

UNDYING

I just want to be thought of as my own mechanic.

INFECT

I don't like agreeing with Intimidate but he's got a point here. Why are you so obsessed with how you're perceived?

You play differently. You know that. The designers and developers know that. What else matters?

MULTIKICKER

I get what Undying is saying. Every mechanic wants to be able to feel that it has something unique to contribute to the game.

INFECT

But Undying does. He plays differently.

I think this is just a case of bruised ego.

UNDYING

Meaning what?

INFECT

Look, every mechanic wants to be seen as the next great thing. But to do that, you have to be seen as original.

If you're perceived as derivative, you're treated as a second-class citizen.

UNDYING

But I'm not derivative.

HORSEMANSHIP

Of course you are. We all are.

That's why we're here.

CHANGELING

We all read Rosewater's take on your origin. He would have used Persist if he had access to -1/-1 counters. You are about as derivative as it comes.

REINFORCE

Why is derivative bad?

If I go and buy shoes there's no dishonor in buying shoes similar to the ones I bought before.

In fact, it's kind of comforting to know that you already have some working knowledge of the new thing.

UNEARTH

I agree.

If you just accept who you are, I think you will find some inner peace.

People want to call me Creature Flashback, okay.

What does it matter?

UNDYING

I don't know why it matters, but it does.

I feel like I'm living in someone else's shadow.

HORSEMANSHIP

Oh, Shadow. Don't get me started.

MULTIKICKER

Undying, I feel your pain. You know how many players think of me as a new mechanic?

You know how many mechanics in this room think of me as a new mechanic?

I didn't name myself.

SPLIT SECOND

Rosewater named you in design, and then he fought to keep your name.

He felt the name made it easier for players to understand what you were and how you worked.

MULTIKICKER

My point is I've been there.

I'm still there.

You get by.

ENTWINE

I like to focus on the differences.

Think about what you do that is unique to you.

What do you have to offer that no other mechanic can?

INTIMIDATE

Okay Entwine, what do you have to offer that no other mechanic can?

ENTWINE

Mr. K is A or B. I'm A or B or A and B.

INTIMIDATE

What?

ENTWINE

It's a subtle difference.

INTIMIDATE

Why couldn't Kicker just be a modal spell with the kicker effect being able to do both?

ENTWINE

Will you stop using his name?

Buyback, we all agreed.

INTIMIDATE

I never agreed.

ENTWINE

The majority agreed.

INTIMIDATE

So? Support Group isn't a democracy.

You want to call him Mr. K. Fine. I'll play your stupid game.

Why are you any different from Mr. K?

Don't give me this A and B nonsense. You could have been written as Kicker... as Mr. K.

ENTWINE

The whole reason to have mechanics is not to meld everything into one giant category.

Yes, you could probably turn most of the Magic mechanics into three or four super-keyword mechanics.

But why would you do that?

Don't you get why design keeps making more of us?

INTIMIDATE

Enlighten me.

ENTWINE

Their job is to take a game that fundamentally stays the same and make it feel different.

Yes, there's a Giant Growth and a Lightning Bolt and whatever every set.

The game stays the same.

Design has to create the appearance of change.

The reason they keep making mechanics like us is that they want to create mechanics that feel a little different.

Yes, I could be Mr. K, but then all that does is make me feel less special.

INFECT

So your defense is we could just be the mechanics that everyone compares us to?

The only reason we're not is the illusion of change?

I call baloney.

ENTWINE

And what do you think we are?

INFECT

We're evolution.

We're Magic design technology in action.

Poison was okay. Wither was decent. But put them together-and bam-you got something special.

REPLICATE

I think Infect is right. I think you're thinking of this backwards, Undying.

UNDYING

What?

REPLICATE

I think you're thinking of it backwards.

UNDYING

I heard what you said. What do you mean?

REPLICATE

The mechanic that came before you was a success.

There are a lot of mechanics made for Magic, but only a few of them really stand out as something special.

But when designers extrapolate from you, that's a sign you've succeeded.

Yes, you're an offspring, but one of good stock.

Don't be ashamed of your heritage.

Embrace it.

UNDYING

I never thought of it like that.

Persist was a pretty cool mechanic.

EVOKE

Damn right.

UNDYING

Maybe being "Persist With Upside" is an okay title to have.

Thanks guys. This really helped.

BUYBACK

That's why we're here.

Okay, everyone we need to wrap this up.

The colors have their group meeting to continue to flesh out the color pie.

ENTWINE

Are they still meeting?

BUYBACK

Every week.

I'll see you guys next week. Our topic is going to be Nuts and Bolts.

CHANGELING

What's that?

BUYBACK

You'll find out.

I hope everyone got something out of today's meeting.

I'll see you next week.

Until then, may you see the good that led to where you are.

Night everyone.


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