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Why Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, is a Game Design Failure February 1, 2011

Posted by James in : all, reviews, previews, constructed , trackback

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas is quite powerful, and I agree that it’s not broken. So what’s the problem? The problem is that we can’t ignore it because it’s good. And the problem is that it’s the wrong colors. The problem is Tezzeret is wrong for the constructed metalcraft decks we should be able to make using cards from Scars of Mirrodin block.

tezzeret  agent of bolas

Look at Tezzeret. The first ability is similar to Jace’s brainstorm ability, but it actually makes him bigger. The second ability can quickly become a win condition. The third ability is icing on the cake. This is a planeswalker that deserves to be compared to Jace.

The reason that Tezzeret is a game design failure is because Scars of Mirrodin block only gives us two major decks and Tezzeret destroys the balance. We have Metalcraft and Infect. Metalcraft tends to be best in white, red, and blue. Infect is for green and black. Tezzeret is made for metalcraft (artifact) decks, but he’s the wrong colors.

Additionally, Tezzeret can’t be ignored. Metalcraft decks without Tezzeret will be at a severe disadvantage, so most metalcraft decks will be blue-black because of Tezzeret. Everything else is wasted. Red and white will have a lot less impact in Scars of Mirrodin block because Tezzeret gives such a strong advantage to black-blue decks.

Only having two major decks in a block is already a failure of game design. Only having two major decks that ignore green and red is a huge failure. That is the situation that is caused by Tezzeret.

This failure will not only effect block constructed events, but standard (type 2) events as well. The best decks from Scars of Mirrodin block will have a chance at making an impact in standard. And yes, Scars block constructed does matter. We wouldn’t even have “blocks” if they weren’t meant to be stand alone ways to play Magic.


1. 神の一手 - February 1, 2011

Since he is mythic, he will not have that much of an impact on draft.

2. James - February 1, 2011

Yes, I am mainly worried about the impact on constructed (block and standard). He will be great in Esper for extended and I have no problem with that.

3. 神の一手 - February 1, 2011

metalcraft and infect are really draft decks. I haven’t seen competitive metalcraft or infect decks in standard. I could see that being a problem in block though.

4. James - February 1, 2011

We haven’t seen if metalcraft or infect will be viable after Mirrodin Besieged or New Phyrexia. Scars of Mirrodin didn’t give us “enough” good cards to make those decks. But if Scars of Mirrodin will give us any decks for standard, it will probably be metalcraft and infect.

5. 神の一手 - February 2, 2011

I would be more inclined to see battle cry/Kuldotha Rebirth in standard (since it can potentially make turn 3 kills) than metalcraft.

6. James - February 2, 2011

You might be right that battle cry is another possibility, but even then a lot of the best metalcraft cards are in white/red and those cards will pretty much be wasted given Tezzeret’s existence.

Right now battlecry is mostly only viable in “standard” rather than block because it’s white/red, and there are only 4 red/white “enemy colored” lands in Standard (and none in block). The lack of proper mana fixing is another design failure.

7. Anton - January 10, 2012

I disegree, you can make Blue-Black tezzeret deck in scars of mirodin block.
Sample: Cryptoplasm, Distant Memories, Etched Champion, Gust-Skimmer, Ichor Wellspring, Piston Sledge, Semblance Anvil, Massacre Wurm, Wurmcoil Engine, Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, Memnite, Mox Opal, Signal Pest,… and + other simmilar cards.

8. James - January 12, 2012


This is what I said: Metalcraft decks without Tezzeret will be at a severe disadvantage, so most metalcraft decks will be blue-black because of Tezzeret.

I never said Tezzeret can’t be played. My critique has nothing to do with Tezzeret not being played.