New World Order
When designing commons for a set, there is a strict limit on what is considered acceptable complexity. This was outlined in Mark Rosewater’s article “New World Order”, and Reuben Covington did a stellar primer on how to design for NWO here.
The list below, pulled from Reuben’s primer, indicates every indicator that a card is red-flagged (not typical at common). The two rules of thumb to remember are that 1) Less than 20% of your commons overall should be red-flagged, and 2) Any red-flagged cards you keep in your set must make an important contribution to the set’s theme or limited environment. Each red flag has a linked example of how not to do it - for more information, check out the primer.
- Does it affect other permanents? (like Kithkin Shielddare)
- Does it have four or more lines of rules text? (like Kinscaer Harpoonist)
- Does it need to be read twice? (like Dead Ringers)
- Does it create card advantage? (like Cultbrand Cinder)
- Does it have the potential to kill multiple cards at once? (like Boulderfall)
- Can it create a loop? (like Sprout Swarm)
- Is it problematic in larger numbers? (like Kindle)
- Does it use complex Magic terminology? (like Dragon Breath)