On the Commutativity of Spells

Hi all! The rather convoluted title on our article today is meant to introduce the following question: in Magic, is doing the same effect 3 times the same thing as doing an effect three times stronger once? I think the answer is quite obviously no and we are about to see why, thanks to a partial cycle of cards that I have – uninspiredly – named ceremonies.

Kindle CeremonyKindle Ceremony.

This one was the first design that came to me. A rather simple and straight forward spin on something we have seen a couple of times before, more recently in Fiery Confluence.

Being able to chose between one damage to three targets and three damage to one is great, even though definitely less powerful than Flames of the Firebrand.

Does that allow us to pay only two mana – albeit one more red – and have it be instant? You tell me.

River CeremonyRiver Ceremony.

This one was quite predictable. As is turns out there aren’t many X effects in each color, and by that I mean effects that can grow linearly, based on a number.

Green mainly has +1/+1 counters. Life gain and card drawing only come next, and aren’t the greenest in spirit.

Power-wise I based myself on cards like Cached Defenses and Reap What Is Sown, hopefully finding a good balance for a flexible sorcery.

Deadwood CeremonyDeadwood Ceremony isn’t too surprising either.

Apart from draw X, lose X – which really wouldn’t make sense with 3 targets – I couldn’t think of many black X effects at all.

The black ceremony could be very powerful, though somewhat similar to the red one. As such you can see I decided to make it a sorcery and make it cost one more.

I costed it based on comparisons to Marsh Casualties and Drown in Sorrow in order to get something that would be powerful but fair.

What do you think? There is something extremely satisfying in the symmetry of those effects. Even though I am not certain of the costs, I think they will get a lot of Magic designers excited. As an exercise, you can try and come up with a white and blue one. Those look quite harder to design!

Hope you enjoyed this week article. Now is time for me to wish you a great week and I’ll be seeing you on Christmas day!

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