Outlaws of Thunder Junction and Parasitic Flavor

Years ago Mark Rosewater talked about parasitic design. This was the situation where a set or block (remember those?) worked well mechanically on its own, but not really with other sets. I think the go-to example was the original Kamigawa block.

The original Kamigawa block included mechanics such as Splice onto Arcane and Soulshift, which only worked within the context of the set (although nowadays spirits are quite common, especially after being a type in Innistrad).

Now the problem is different. Take crimes for example. Its flavorful in Outlaws of Thunder Junction, but it also has weird effect on cards outside of the set.

This isn’t really new. Take vehicles. Since crewing is tied to the power of the creature, it means that many cards from the history of the game make you a better pilot.

It doesn’t really seem like the roads in Multiverse are very safe for regular drivers. So, yes, the flavor of a specific set will have consequences for the bigger picture. However, crime just seems worse. Things that can now be crimes include…

Also, outlaws are a very specific subsection of all creature types: assassins, mercenaries, rogues, pirates and warlocks. Why are pirates even being type here in the desert, as they will change the types freely based on flavor in other sets (I’m just saying that they are very bad at their jobs due to the inconsistency in their thinking, nothing more, because somehow Izoni and Lazav were suddenly detectives in MKM) and pirates don’t really fit the theme here? Here we are anyhow (although, I would give them some points, if they remembered that Vraska was, for a time, a pirate captain, so they should have brought that back in some way if they are bringing pirates into this set, but at this point I’m not going to read the stories, because it all feels so stupid).

Because they chose these five types to represent outlaws, they had to give the main creatures a type from this selection. So, Rakdos, who is basically a god among his own guild, is now a mercenary, because he needs money I guess, and Kellan, who has already been a scout and a detective, is now a rogue. On the other hand, just looking at Standard creatures, there’s a lot of people from Innistrad who have just been outlawed:

Does Yuta Takahashi know that he has now been outlawed? Who bothered to outlaw Stinging Hivemaster? Or those ghosts on Innistrad, who just happen to be rogues?

Or what about all the creatures that aren’t outlaws? These are some examples of Street of New Capenna, which works well as an example, as its supposedly run by criminals.

And yes, I understand that they can’t really take into account the whole 30-some years of games history, but at the same time, is it really worth it to make their game laughable by not thinking about the larger consequences at all? I mean, they just could have ditched these two sorry excuses for mechanics. They already knew party didn’t really work out that well, so is there really any point to making a more watered down version of it?

I guess its good that committing a crime now exists in this set, because we know that if they tried to write it out every time, they would have messed it up and there would be big differences in the texts. On the other hand, they have learned nothing. Targetting anything of your opponents with anything will now and forever be known as committing a crime. People will joke about it and they will not be laughing with WotC, they will be laughing at WotC. And there is a difference.

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