7, Feb, 23

Beloved MTG Creature Type Was Almost Ruined by Wizards!

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Article at a Glance

When creating new cards for MTG, Wizards of the Coast has to do a lot of work to ensure they don’t accidentally break everything. With over 25,000 unique cards available on paper, this is certainly no easy feat. Subsequently, before they’re released, MTG sets spend a significant amount of time in the oven. Typically, each MTG set will be in development for two and a half years before it is officially released. As you can imagine, Wizards is liable to make all kinds of changes throughout this extensive development period. As we’ve seen before, mechanics can be cut, and iconic creatures can be completely reinvented time and time again. These changes don’t just happen during play design, as occasionally, Wizards’ vision designers need to be reminded of what works and what doesn’t in MTG.

Myr Today, Gnome Tomorrow

Minn, Wily Illusionist
Minn, Wily Illusionist | Forgotten Realms Commander

In recent years, Wizards’ Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, has received a lot of flack for their ideas. Stickers, Attractions, and Unfinity’s eternal legal cards, for instance, were all blamed on Rosewater’s Un-set-loving antics. Similarly, Rosewater is often on the receiving end of countless complaints about Universes Beyond cards. While Mark Rosewater isn’t the mastermind behind all of Wizards’ decisions, they’re nevertheless often seen as responsible for them. This is partly thanks to their blog, Blogatog, which provides a refreshingly open line of communication. 

While Mark Rosewater shouldn’t be blamed for everything Wizards does to MTG, they recently admitted to almost making quite the blunder. In a recent Making Magic post, Rosewater revealed that they almost prevented one of Magic’s most beloved tribes from existing. Returning in Phyrexia: All Will Be One, Myr, are a niche but nonetheless adored creature type within MTG. When they were first envisioned for the original Mirrodin, however, Mark Rosewater didn’t want Myr, they wanted Gnomes

“Why Gnomes? Gnomes had oddly become an artifact creature type and were used on a bunch of small artifact creatures in the early years of Magic, and the public, myself included, found them endearing.”

Mark Rosewater

Despite Rosewater’s desire for more Gnomes in Magic, this idea would ultimately be scrapped by former Creative Director Brady Dommermuth. According to Rosewater, after shooting down the Gnome suggestion, Dommermuth set out to create “a brand-new artifact creature that’s lovable.” After a month or so of work, Dommermuth returned with the earliest designs for Myrs. Influenced by the Myrmidons from Greek mythology, Myrs quickly became a massive hit inside and out of Wizards. 

Unfortunately, when it came time to create Phyrexia: All Will Be One, Myrs couldn’t return in full force. Thanks to how much was going on in the set, there was only space for four Myrs to be created. While less than ideal, thankfully, this at least allowed for a Legendary Myr commander at long last

Potential Planeswalker Permutations

Prologue to Phyresis
Prologue to Phyresis | Phyrexia: All Will Be One

Alongside almost preventing Myr from existing, Rosewater also admitted to another embarrassing development blunder during their Making Magic article. When initially designing Compleated Planeswalkers for Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, Rosewater came up with some truly wild, and wholly broken mechanics. Their favorite of these played into the theme of Phyrexian mana, which used a player’s life points as a resource. Envisioning a “Phyrexian Loyalty” concept, this mechanic allowed players to pay life in place of Loyalty Counters. Unfortunately for Rosewater, however, this idea was quickly shot down. “Play Design told me that this was inherently broken.”

After revealing this development tidbit, some players, such as u/Zephyr_______ on Reddit rushed to ridicule Rosewater’s overpowered suggestion. “Mark in one article: ‘exchanging life for resources is generally broken.’ Mark later: ‘but what if you could pay life instead of loyalty.’” While it’s easy to imagine how Phyrexian Loyalty would be broken, other users noted that it’s not Rosewater’s job to balance abilities. Reddit user u/SleetTheFox, for instance, highlighted how it’s explicitly Play Design’s responsibility to reign Rosewater in when it’s needed. 

“[He’s] Vision Design, even. So he casts a wide net and takes chances and then lets people like Play Design tell him no way. You never know when they’ll say something is okay, such as switching text boxes in black border.”


Following their Phyrexian Loyalty suggestion being shot down, Rosewater didn’t immediately envision the Compleated mechanic as it exists now. Instead, Rosewater pitched five possible suggestions for Compleated Planeswalker abilities. Outside of suggestion four, which centered around Proliferate, each of Rosewater’s ability concepts utilized a different resource. Suggestion five, for instance, made use of the library, with cards being exiled as an additional cost. Alternatively, suggestion one inflicted Poison Counters whenever you used a Compleated Planeswalker’s abilities. Ultimately, as interesting as Vision Designs’ suggestions were, none of them made the cut. Sadly, Rosewater didn’t explain precisely Compleated was chosen over these other suggestions, only revealing that they’re “happy with how they ended up.”

Into the Unknown

Confront the Unknown
Confront the Unknown | Shadows over Innistrad

Unfortunately, while Rosewater did reveal many tantalizing MTG development details, much of Wizards of the Coast’s decision-making remains in mystery. As Reddit user u/AokiHagane pointed out, for instance, we don’t know why Wizards Compleated the Planeswalkers they did. “I kinda wanted to know how did Wizards choose the five Compleated planeswalkers for this set. (And Ajani, too).” Thankfully, while this detail remains elusive for now, March of the Machine’s Making Magic posts may provide the answer. Reddit user u/Kaiser_Winhelm, for instance, noted it “may be hard to answer that before we find out where their stories go (are they dead, are they going to continue on as evil versions, will some be cured but scarred, etc.)” 

While Compleated Planeswalkers being cured certainly seems like it’s on the cards, ultimately, we won’t know who gets that treatment until March of the Machine and or, March of the Machine: The Aftermath. Until then, thankfully, there’s a brand new set to enjoy! Hopefully, this will make the incredibly brief wait until March of the Machine’s first spoilers not feel like an eternity.

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