Scent of a Gamer

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Do the Clues point to Contraptions?

Do the Clues point to Contraptions?

In 2007 the card Steamflogger Boss was printed in the Future Sight set. It has remained controversial ever since.

Here’s the card:


And here’s the reason: what are Contraptions? Where are Contraptions? 10 years later we haven’t seen them, and most comments from Wizards of the Coast suggest we never will. I believe that situation has changed.

“I don’t really expect Contraptions to be realized in the game, but I’m sure some enterprising young designer will surprise me some day; in fact, Kenneth Nagle has already put forth a few ways that the game could incorporate the idea…”

The quote above comes from Aaron Forsythe in a 2007 article titled ‘Are You From the Future?’. Yes, I am.

In 2016, the Shadows Over Innistrad set released, with Ken Nagle on the team for initial concept and game design. It contains an interesting set of artefact tokens: clues.


Clues cannot be cast; they must be created by spells or effects. Here are two examples:


I am sure you see the similarity between Erdwal Illuminator and Steamflogger Boss.

Non-creature tokens are something that was not around when Steamflogger Boss was first printed. They are here now. Theros block had its Gold tokens and Shadows Over Innistrad has taken the idea further and made Clues a key part of the set.

Investigate is to Clues as Assemble is to Contraptions, an ability that instructs you to create the artifact token. I wonder if Steamflogger Boss would reappear with Contraptions, or whether a change is wording would rule the card out.

Looking around at how the game has changed since 2007 I think we are far enough into the future now that Contraptions are not only possible but inevitable.

\What kind of world would Contraptions fit into? In the 2015 Magic Origins set we saw glimpses of Chandra Nalaar’s homeplane of Kaladesh. It had a distinctly steampunk look and feel, no contraptions, but plenty of small artifacts and cards that created them.


Kaladesh was popular too: “Chandra’s homeworld premiered in Magic Origins and was an instant hit. Many players are eager to see Magic’s take on a steampunk plane” this is from a Mark Rosewater article titled ‘Tell Me What You Want’. I feel that a visit to Kaladesh, while not the only option, is the most likely scenario for Contraptions.

Thoughts? I think at this time Contraptions have moved to inevitable. What form they take, whether every Contraption will do the same thing, these are discussions for another time.

One comment on “Do the Clues point to Contraptions?

  1. Pingback: A plethora of Magic | Scent of a Gamer

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This entry was posted on April 17, 2016 by in Card Games, Game Design, Magic the Gathering and tagged , , , .
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