Magic: The Gathering Head Designer Explains What Went Wrong With The Energy Mechanic

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Photo: Wizards of the Coast/ Artist: Chris Rahn

As many expected, today's Magic: The Gathering ban & restricted announcement killed Temur Energy decks (and some other Energy-based decks) by banning Attune with Aether and Rogue Refiner in Standard format among two others. It's easy to blame the design of Kaladesh block for introducing the versatile and powerful Energy mechanic. It's a fun mechanic used in creative ways but what really went wrong with the design of cards that produce and use Energy? According to head designer Mark Rosewater, the problem is not mechanic itself.

When a fan asked Rosewater what's Energy's place on the Storm scale, he responded on his Blogatog page: "Energy's issue is it was not properly costed, not that the mechanic is inherently flawed."


I get his point. a two-drop Longtusk Cub that could become 3/3 on Turn 2 (if you played Attune with Aether) sounds too powerful. It was proven to win games if unanswered, especially if it keeps growing its power and toughness by burning Energy. The values of many Energy cards are great for their cost, making them almost unbalanced and powerful. As MTGOTrader's video pointed out, Energy is also hard to interact with. You need specific cards that interact with Energy, and the latest set didn't provide that. Solemnity was printed but that was not enough to stop the dominance of Energy decks. If they made some of the Energy cards cost one more mana to play, they'd probably be more balanced but some of them might have seen play. I understand that they wanted to make Energy mechanic playable but they should have also printed anti-Energy cards to balance power levels in Standard.

Do you agree with Mark Rosewater statement about the issue of the Energy mechanic? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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