This entry is part 16 of 41 in the series In General

Grandpa (Eric)

By Eric, AKA Grandpa Growth


The R&D department is given the challenging task of making new cards. Part of the process is to assign costs and effects to new cards. For obvious reasons, these quantities need to be kept in balance or the game could be disrupted by broken cards like Arcbound Ravager or Stoneforge Mystic. It’s particularly challenging to balance these cards for eternal formats like Commander where there’s simply not adequate time to test all combinations of cards for a constructed deck.


To make this task more manageable, the team at Wizards uses benchmarks to guide them on the general power level. Over the long term, adjustments to these benchmarks can shake up player expectations and drive or retard power creep. I use my own set of power level benchmarks as a shorthand to determine whether or not I’m getting good value from the cards I’m playing. Today, I’ll share some of those standards and talk about how CMC designs influence my deck designs.

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