I’m gonna be honest with you, Time Spiral Remastered might be the set I’ve been the most hyped for in a while. I wasn’t playing at the time when Time Spiral was released, but the block had some of my favorite themes and cards I’ve ever seen in Magic. The idea of Futureshifting and Colorshifting cards is just so cool to me! If I had the cash, I’d be swimming in Time Spiral Remastered.
Alas, with no funds to blow on my cardboard vice, I have instead decided to inject my love for it into this article! Today let’s talk about the Timeshifted and Colorshifted cards from Time Spiral block and what lessons we, as designers, can take from them!
Let’s start with the Colorshifts since they’re the easier of the two to understand at face level. Each of these 45 cards is, in most cases, straight-up reprints of older cards with the color, well, shifted. Each one is switched to a color where the mechanics still fit, sometimes even more than the original printing. I’ve chosen one of each color to briefly go over, just to highlight what I mean.
Mesa EnchantressA white version of Verduran Enchantress. Both white and green are colors that both deal heavily in enchantments.
Gossamer PhantasmA blue version of Skulking Ghost. The original card had the “If targeted, sacrifice this creature” ability that we commonly see today on Illusion creatures, making this a very good shift in terms of flavor and function.
DamnationA black version of Wrath of God. This card clearly illustrates the bridge between black’s kill spells and white’s mass removal abilities.
Prodigal PyromancerA red version of Prodigal Sorcerer. Back in the old days of Magic, pinging was a blue ability, but these days that sort of direct damage is a very red thing to do. This card bridged that gap.
Essence WardenA green version of Soul Warden. This shows that both white and green care about creatures and life gain.
As people who design cards, even as just fans, it’s important to think about this when making a card. Just because you’ve designed it to be a certain color, does that mean it has to be? What other colors could that card possibly represent and would it be a better fit there? These are all questions that you must ask yourself when assigning designs to colors and vice versa. Remember that the color pie does not have real separation and often has certain mechanics bleed into other colors over time.
Next up is perhaps the more interesting batch of cards to me, the Futureshifted designs. This group of 93 cards was printed as hints at future sets, planes, and events. Each one featured some kind of mechanic or place we’d never seen and had to look forward to! As of this writing, we’ve seen a bunch of them reprinted, but only nine of them have been reprinted in sets that tie them to a plane. (I actually have a scrapped article where I go one by one through them and discuss where they might be from.)
Now design-wise you might say that there’s not a whole lot to go into here, but that’s where you’re wrong, dear reader! You see a lot of these cards have incredibly interesting designs, with some even featuring mechanics that we still have yet to see. I think that if you’re ever stumped on what card to make next, take a look through the Futureshifted cards and pick one of these mechanics, then make a card featuring it! This can be an exciting way to get some fresh ideas in your head. Or even better why not design a whole set around these mechanics and planes from Future Sight? Hell, you could even create a whole set just to fit in one of these cards that has never seen a real reprint!
THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!!!!!!
But y’know, maybe that’s just me.
Let me know what you think about Colorshifting and Futureshifting in the comments below, especially if you have any designs in mind! You can also find me on Twitter @East2Westmtg or email me at East2westmtg@gmail.com.
As always I’ve been East2West, your resident time traveler and color pie anarchist, and I’ll see you guys on the battlefield!