Making Cards More Realistic

Making Cards More Realistic ...or... Correctember!

In the quest to make our cards as realistic as possible, we thought it would be a great idea to explore eight of the most common mistakes that Cardsmiths often make.

Color Pie Break

If you want your cards to be seen as realistic, it's important to choose the right color(s) to go along with the effects on your cards. Here is a great link to help you see if the mechanics of your card make sense with their color identity.

Mechanical Color Pie

Monocolored cards are very straight forward, but cards with more than one color can be tricky if you don't know the difference between gold bordered cards and hybrid cards. Even an experienced cardsmith can sometimes fall into this trap, so to avoid it you should always keep the following in mind when selecting the type of mana in your casting cost.

*Hybrid cards can only do what BOTH of its colors are able to do.
*Gold bordered cards can do what one of its colors is able to do.


If a card is too wordy and too complex, most people will skip over it while browsing the site. It's easy for us to lose sight of this as cardsmiths, because we're constantly trying to explore new dynamics in our card construction. Understanding how to control the complexity of your creations will greatly improve the end results. Common cards must be especially simple.

Gamepedia talks about this briefly in New World Order

Put, Get, Have and Gain

The first of the most commonly mixed up wordings is knowing when and where to use "Put", "Get", "Have" and "Gain".

"Put" is used when a counter is placed on an object and when cards are moved into different zones.
Target creature gets a -1/-1 counter. (X)
Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature. (O)

"Get" is used when an effect modifies a creature's power and/or toughness. It is also used to distribute counters and emblems to a player.
Target creature gains +1/+1 until end of turn. (X)
Target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn. (O)

"Have" is used when a static effect from a permanent gives abilities to objects.
Other permanents you control gain indestructible. (X)
Other permanents you control have indestructible. (O)

"Gain" is used when an ability is temporarily given to a permanent. Players can also gain life and gain control of permanents.
Creatures you control gain flying. (X)
Creatures you control gain flying until end of turn. (O)

Card, Spell and CARD NAME

Magic cards are described differently, depending on where they are, and using the correct form in your creation will enhance it's realism. As you may have surmised by now, knowing where to use "Card", "Spell" or the card's name is the next most commonly mixed up wording.

When a card is in your hand, library, graveyard or in exile, it's referred to as "card"
Search your library for a creature spell, .... (X)
Search your library for a creature card, .... (O)

When a card is on the stack it's called "spell".
As an additional cost to cast "CARD NAME"... (X)
As an additional cost to cast this spell... (O)

When a card is on the battlefield, it is called by its permanent type or its card name.
When this card enters the battlefield,... (X)
When "CARD NAME" enters the battlefield,... (O)

Searching the Library

Quite possibly the most forgotten wording faux pas is forgetting to reveal cards and shuffle the deck after searching a library. If you search a library for a specific card and put it into your hand, you MUST reveal it so that your opponents know you're not cheating. Don't forget shuffling after searching too!
Search your library for a card, put that card into your hand, then shuffle your library. (O)
Search your library for a creature card, put that card into your hand, then shuffle your library. (X)
Search your library for a creature card, reveal it, and put that card into your hand. Then shuffle your library. (O)

Damage Source

Another thing we can't forget is identifying the source of damage. There are cards that don't work if sources of damage aren't identified.

Any target takes 2 damage. (X)
Deal 2 damage to any target. (X)
"CARD NAME" deals 2 damage to any target.(O)

Using the : In the wrong place

The colon ( : ) is a very important component in the Text Box. It is only used in activated abilities. Costs appear on the left side of the colon, and the effects appear on the right side of the colon.
Choose one: ...(X)
Flying: vigilance: ...(X)
{t}, Pay 2 life: ... (O)

The Order of WUBRG

Some people follow the WUBRG-line order when they make multicolored cards, but it should be viewed more as a WUBRG-wheel.

Two-colored Pairings follow a clockwise pattern.

Allied color pairs
WU - UB - BR - RG - GW
Enemy color pairs
WB - BG - GU - UR - RW

Three-colored Combos have variations based on Primary Colors thus Wedges and Shards

The primary color within a Wedge is the color that is enemy to both of the other colors.

Abzan - WBG - Primary color is black. Tarkir clan color is white.
Jeskai - URW - Primary color is red. Tarkir clan color is blue.
Sultai - BGU - Primary color is green. Tarkir clan color is black.
Mardu - RWB - Primary color is white. Tarkir clan color is red.
Temur - GUR - Primary color is blue. Tarkir clan color is green.

A shard is a series of three colors in an unbroken chain on the color pie. The middle color in a shard is its primary color, allied to both of the shard's other colors.

Bant - GWU - Primary color is white.
Esper - WUB - Primary color is blue.
Grixis - UBR - Primary color is black.
Jund - BRG - Primary color is red.
Naya - RGW - Primary color is green.

Four-colored Identities

Artifice - WUBR
Chaos - UBRG
Aggression - BRGW
Altruism - RGWU
Growth - GWUB

Featured Cardsmiths

DeepSky has been an inspiration to Cardsmiths for quite some time now, and we felt this Feature was long overdue! His contests are always fun and he always provides great feedback at their conclusion. Check out DeepSky's cool Lord of the Rings set and if you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the rarely seen "DerpSky". We think his cards are pretty amazing, and we think you will too!

Our second Featured Cardsmith for September is one that isn't very active on the Forums, but one that we felt needed to be seen. AtlasXII is very creative and a top notch designer. Just take a look at some of what we brought to show and tell, and we think you'll agree that their cards are worth taking a look at!

Each month we're excited to highlight just a couple of Cardsmiths that have helped make MTGCardsmith the best interactive online Card Creator. We hope you'll take some time to check out their creations!

Sep 02, 2019 by Corwinnn, & Tomigon
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