Quote from Manite »So, what's Najeela's reason? She just that popular with Warriors?
We already had kicker in the set at this point, so we played around with [lands] that allowed you to [pay] mana when they entered the battlefield to play spell effects. Here's an example of an early card:
Land - Swamp
CARDNAME enters the battlefield tapped.
When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, you may pay 3B. If you do, destroy target non-black creature.
T: Add B to your mana pool
Deadly Bog was a black kill spell that doubled as a Swamp. (During early design, all the nonbasic lands that produced a color were lands of the appropriate type; this was changed during development due to power concerns) Pretty cool, huh? One small problem with it. While a more experienced player might see it for what it was—a black kill spell with the side effect of getting you out of mana screw—the less experienced players just saw it as a land. As such, when they put land in their deck they counted it as a land. We would then watch playtest after playtest where they would be mana-screwed and not play Deadly Bog. Why? Because they didn't want to waste it. Playing it as only a Swamp that enters tapped seemed like a waste.
Here is a valuable design tip. It doesn't matter how you meant for something to be used. It is how it is used that matters. The card as presented was causing unfun games as players were unconsciously mana-screwing themselves. And to be fair, the issue went beyond skill level. Even when I had Deadly Bog in my hand, played in my deck counting it as mostly a spell so that I was not mana screwed by it, I still felt bad when I had to play it as just a tapped Swamp. Yes, the intellectual side of me found it silly as the land ability was merely a bonus added to the kill spell, but the emotional side of me felt bad doing it. The card created a bad feeling.
Valuable design tip #2: Things that force your players to do something in the game that makes them feel bad are mistakes. This isn't to say you can't have tension or occasionally force your players to make tough decisions, but if the spell routinely causes ill will when they have to play it in a certain way, it is a mistake to print. Our job is to entertain the players and help them have fun. Purposely creating ill will does not advance either agenda.
We liked the lands though, so we decided what we would do was reduce them to just two cycles, one with effects costing one mana (at common) and the other with effects costing two mana (at uncommon). During the tail end of design, Bill Rose suggested that we try a cycle with zero-mana costs, lands that simply had an effect when they entered the battlefield. We changed the common cycle to the free version and the uncommon cycle was then reduced to one mana effects.
During development, it was decided that even the one mana effects at uncommon were causing moments of frustration, so we just left the free common cycle.