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A Missed Opportunity for Poison? (Scars of Mirrodin) September 29, 2010

Posted by James in : all, random, design , trackback

Mark Rosewater explained why poison became the “infect ability” in his article, Something Wicked This Way Comes Part 3. R&D decided to make poison as different from a separate life total as possible:

  1. There would be no direct poison damage — you could only get poison from creatures.
  2. You can’t recover from poison. It’s more permanent than damage.

These restrictions prevented poison from becoming truly innovative. I wrote about various innovative ideas to use for poison in the past, such as using poison as a resource. Why was such innovative rejected? Because it would give people a way to remove poison.

I think this innovative idea in particular would be inappropriate for a sequel to Mirrodin just because it’s too wacky and doesn’t have the classic feel of Mirrodin. At the same time I don’t expect to see poison again for another 10 years, so such innovation might never happen.


1. J-Con - October 2, 2010

with the griffon that is
you would have to put poison on yourself, not take one off
lo siento on my rudeness

2. James - October 2, 2010

The whole point is taking one off. I don’t see what’s wrong with the idea. Someone else suggested that you could take one off the opponent instead, which is another possibility. However, to “spend” something instead of mana would more intuitively be something you have. That’s why you must sacrifice your own permanents or discard your own cards to pay “costs.”

If you look at my other ideas, one of them did involve putting poison on yourself, but the Griffin is a “different” idea than that.

3. 神の一手 - October 5, 2010

could always have dangerous cards with a big reward.

Poisonous Demon BBB
creature - Demon
when ~ comes into play, put 8 poison counters on yourself.
flying, deathtouch, trample, protection from white.

4. SmellyCat - October 8, 2010

This would be better if the COST didn’t include a “get rid of poison free” clause… Something more like this:

As an additional cost to cast Deadly Griffin add 1 poison counter to yourself.

It just doesn’t make sense to use a positive ability (like removing poison counters or gaining life) as a cost for something…. i.e. Gain 4 life, counter target spell… Just wouldn’t work

5. James - October 10, 2010

Yes, that is pretty much what some of my other ideas were. I wanted something like a mana cost. It is a unique and interesting idea despite the fact that it actually helps you.

You don’t think it “makes sense”, but that is part of the charm of the ability. I am very aware that it doesn’t make sense in normal ways of thinking. The real question is whether or not it could work in the game, and it’s quite possible that it could work.

Gaining life is not the same thing because it’s not that easy to get poison counters. That’s why poison could be used as a resource.

The idea of using poison counters as a resource is similar to the idea of treasure/gold counters, which was explored here: http://www.recoculous.com/2010/03/31/gold-from-rise-of-eldrazi-part-1/

I would agree that gold counters would “make more sense” in an intuitive way that “feels right” unlike poison counters.

6. Xythius - March 22, 2011

Its not that easy to get poison counters? Are you high? When I can have a Pathrazer with Phyresis out on like turn 4 and turn 5 make him unblockable. Infect was a radonculous r-tarded idea to begin with and as usual we as players have blown if far out of proportion from what it was originally suppose to be.

7. James - March 22, 2011


You said, “Its not that easy to get poison counters? Are you high?”

Who are you talking to and in what context did they say it?

8. Xythius - March 23, 2011

5. James - October 10, 2010

Gaining life is not the same thing because it’s not that easy to get poison counters. That’s why poison could be used as a resource.

I may have misunderstood the comment but that was how i read it. Sorry for the outburst lol.