Building a custom set part 5: Overview

Hello! I’m almost out of things to say about my Binding of Isaac set, after talking about its creatures, items and cycles. Today i’m gonna finish up the segment by looking at the set in its entirety and criticizing its flaws and qualities.

Magic Set Editor has a very neat statistics option that breaks down your set in all kinds of ways. Now, this post is going to have a lot of graphs but don’t let that intimidate you; it’ll be a short one, to make up for the others. Let’s begin.

First and most importantly come colors.

A set should always have as close to a perfect balance as possible in these. On a glance it’s clear that there’s a rather severe lack of balance, especially between black and white. Note that the artifact column contains colored artifacts and, in these, white and blue artifacts outnumber the other colors. This helps but still doesn’t break it even (multicolor and hybrid are pretty much balanced so they shouldn’t add anything). I knew from the start white would be overwhelmed by the other colors and that the excess would have to go elsewhere; black makes sense, i suppose. Blue, however, was rather unexpected but it has to do with the lack of non-permanent spells where the color ordinarily excels.

In conclusion i probably should have picked out the items better, especially the demonic-flavored ones. I could also have taken some liberties, like adding more of these for instance:

The reason i didn’t was because 200 was such a pretty, round number that it felt wrong to add or remove content from it (i’m slightly obsessive-compulsive at times). On the bright side i’m pretty sure the expansion set will reverse these values, so on a whole they should balance each other out.

Next up is rarity.

Now, what i know about rarity breakdown comes only from observation; i don’t know how they determine the ratio at Wizards. What i observed was that sets (recent ones, at least) have a significant gap from commons to uncommons, then a small gap from these to rares and again a significant one to mythics. That’s pretty vague, i know. Let’s take Avacyn Restored as an example (because the double-faced cards in the previous sets throw off the math): that set has 116 commons, 60 uncommons, 53 rares and 15 mythics. The common-uncommon ration is almost 2 to 1 while there are almost the same number of uncommons and rares. When i made the set i thought the uncommon to rare ratio was much higher, so that’s how the set turned out: many uncommons should have been dropped to commons and probably a couple upped to mythic.

The ratio may be incorrect but, as someone who has a tendency to make more rares than anything else, i’m quite proud of having at least achieved a good curve.

Now let’s look at converted mana cost.

I’ll be frank and say that i have not analyzed this statistic as i did the others. My gut tells me that a set breakdown should be more or less like a common deck, that is, have basically a nice curve to it. In this set things were going pretty well until we look at CMC 3. A LOT of those should have been shifted to 2 and it would’ve been pretty much perfect (probably less 6s too; CMC 0 includes tokens and lands in case you’re wondering).

The thing is, i have a big problem: i find spells with mana cost 2 extremely difficult to create. The curve you see in that picture is a result of a lot of conscious effort to make more spells that cost 2, and even then that’s all i could get. I have no idea why this happens, it sounds bizarre but, everything just feels more at home on 1 or 3 to me. I’m trying to work on that.

In general, these 3 are the most relevant statistics. The following one is relevant in a tribal set like this one, however: creature types.

We already knew Abominations far outnumbered the other tribes. Next up should be Worms and Flies but the Avatar cycles threw that off. I’ve wondered whether i should have just made them all Abominations as well. Flies are tied with Humans, which isn’t very desirable but reflects real numbers from the game. What these should definitely not be tied with are Walls but these stats count tokens as well (i guess that actually puts Humans above Flies… damn it). At any rate, anything else i could say about this has already been discussed in the creatures post.

In conclusion, the set has its share of flaws which i expected when trying to make it as true to the source as possible. There are a few things i would try to change if i had to do it again but in general i’m quite proud of it. My goal was to create something fans of both games would enjoy and i hope to have at least succeeded in that.

Alright, now that this segment is done it’s time to look at the future. I’m thinking of updating this on a weekly basis with no real planning beforehand, so the next topic will be a mystery until it actually comes out. Monday sounds like a nice day. I’ll also upload this entire set by tomorrow so take a look at it, there’s a lot of stuff i didn’t talk about in there. Until next time!