With mointainspalk AND tromple?
June 11, 2015 6:57 PM   Subscribe

Procedurally generated Magic: The Gathering cards More example output. Interestingly, the program generating these cards had no hand-coded knowledge of what Magic cards should look like — it learned everything it "knows" from a collection of real cards. And for nerds of the non-MtG variety, here's a fascinatingly thorough post on Recurrent Neural Networks, the technology behind all this.
posted by nebulawindphone (52 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

Don't miss the @RoboRosewater twitterbot, which is posting automatically-generated renders of some of the cards. Spirit of the Tree is amazing. "They was kicked."
posted by oulipian at 7:09 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]

Oh damn, that bot is lovely.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:25 PM on June 11, 2015

Some of these are so close to being legit cards. This one is actually pretty decent.

Blood Rhast
Creature - Goblin Shaman
3G: Blood Rhast gains "Sacrifice a land: Blood Rhast deals 3 damage to target player."

I think that's probably unbalanced, since by the point you have the 3G to activate that ability you can run through 4 lands for 12 damage, but it's a neat idea.
posted by codacorolla at 7:31 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

In particular, setting temperature very near zero will give the most likely thing that Paul Graham might say:

"is that they were all the same thing that was a startup is that they were all the same thing that was a startup is that they were all the same thing that was a startup is that they were all the same"
That does sound like Paul Graham!
posted by ignignokt at 7:31 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

> Shring the Artist - Legendary Creature - Cat

I need this on a business card.
posted by MysticMCJ at 7:39 PM on June 11, 2015 [11 favorites]

Flying cat wizard that resurrects your vanquished dudes each time you cast a spell? YES PLEASE. It don't even need tromple.
posted by trunk muffins at 8:16 PM on June 11, 2015 [14 favorites]

The Magic cards are pretty funny, but the random recipes make me feel like I've stepped into an episode of Chowder, and it's wonderful. I want to call up Mung Daal's Catering Company and see if I can order 16 servings of the Broak Plant Brock-Stuffed Blant For One.
posted by wanderingmind at 8:20 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

Rakile Volan
Creature - Human Knight
Whenever Rakile Volan blocks or becomes blocked, you may pay 1B. If you do, you gain 2 life.

Wow, I could actually see this card getting made. You can gain a little life when it dies, and bounce it off walls to gain more life. And it can have a big brother who is big enough to survive combat, and costs too much to be useful even in a limited format. They could flavor it as a wizard/cultist who performs life-gaining rituals using his enemy's blood.

Here's another batch of cards.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 8:51 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Holy crap this is awesome! Someone just needs to develop a way to check the cards for well-formedness, then generate a set of them and do drafts.
posted by Joe Chip at 8:52 PM on June 11, 2015

Sinat Bawe
Sexend R (You may pay an additionall you control gains indearth target artifact creature.)

I don't remember this card, but the "Sexend" ability rings a few bells.
posted by No-sword at 8:55 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

My husband and I spent a few minutes this afternoon talking about the art for Shring the Artist. He was thinking Shring wasn't very flavor-compliant since a flying cat in MtG probably wouldn't be black but I convinced him that a black flying cat in a cape reviving corpses from the graveyard would be so irresistibly badass that it wouldn't even matter. I kinda started building an imaginary deck around him and then I remembered he wasn't reeeeal

posted by town of cats at 8:56 PM on June 11, 2015 [10 favorites]

I have honestly been laughing on and off about Slidshocker Krow ever since this thread was first posted.


Also that card that requires you to kill your daughter....
posted by 256 at 8:57 PM on June 11, 2015

I think that Shring's art should just be a photorealistic picture of a cat licking its anus.
posted by codacorolla at 8:59 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

Also, I remember, as an undergrad, designing a neural network and trying to train it as a chatbot. The closest thing to a rational exchange I ever had with it went like this:

ME: Hello
NN: Hell
ME: Why did you say that?
NN: Why did hell

I also tried to teach a neural network to play chess. That went... worse.
posted by 256 at 9:07 PM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]

Even better, have drafts of the output, and use the pick order to train the network! Have another network trained on the keyword rules corpus, parse the generated carsa for new keywords and generate rules text for each of them.
posted by Joe Chip at 9:07 PM on June 11, 2015

Slidshocking Krow
Creature - Dragon

Tromple? Mointainspalk?

Gooby, plz
posted by sourwookie at 9:15 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

Daozfy 1B (Hound by frames a card in put all combat damage you control gains flying as long as you control with houdke until end of turn.)

...and at that point I would just rage quit.
posted by sourwookie at 9:17 PM on June 11, 2015

From the "more cards" CrunchyFrog linked to:

"Bronfustaris Kinazorssorge
T: Destroy target creature without power Wobling."

Sounds overpowered, until you realize they put Power Wobling on everybody in the new block.
posted by thefoxgod at 9:20 PM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]

Huh, I just found Shring's perfect compliment:

Creessavage Aty
Creature - Elemental Wizard
Discard Creessavage Aty: Draw a card. Prevent the next 2 damage that would be dealt to you this turn.

Stack a deck with Creessavages and one Shring. Get target creature summoning or ways to pull them out of your deck. Become immortal. Well, sort of immortal. Ok, it's not a great combo. This is why I was never good at Magic.
posted by codacorolla at 9:23 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Creature - Zombie
: Add G to your mana pool. If you do, put a -1/-1 counter on Skengi Hellldadietsn.

This is so good it's nearly broken. For a one-time casting cost of 3, it can add up to 3 (4 if you don't mind it dying) mana to your pool each turn.
posted by sourwookie at 9:23 PM on June 11, 2015


Not each turn, as the -1/-1 counters won't go away. The bigger problem is that, if I understand the rules correctly, you could use it to generate an infinite amount of green mana on the turn it came into play, by repeatedly activating it in response to its own ability going on the stack.
posted by 256 at 9:37 PM on June 11, 2015

Won't state-based actions be checked after each resolution? So sure you could put 1000 activations on the stack, but after 4 of them he'll be at 0 toughness and get put in the graveyard. Then when the next one comes off the stack he won't exist and it will fizzle.

But (a) I'm a little rusty and (b) they keep changing the stack/timing rules.
posted by thefoxgod at 9:39 PM on June 11, 2015

ALSO: Someone made a mockup up of Slidshocking Krow where they included reminder text for Tromple: (If this creature would deal enough damage to a blocking creature to destroy it, it deals the rest of its damage to you).

It's pretty clear that that is exactly how the NN intended the keyword to work.
posted by 256 at 9:40 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Of course if he had mointainspalk this would all be different.
posted by thefoxgod at 9:41 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Won't state-based actions be checked after each resolution?

Yes, but I don't think that him not being around to put the -1/-1 counter on will cause the rest of the ability to fizzle. We probably need to call a judge.
posted by 256 at 9:42 PM on June 11, 2015

omg, I am dying. "Tromple,Mointainspalk"... I think Slidshocking Krow would make a great metafilter username.

Also great:

Arnoftuee, whose only effect is giving you the option to play 2 mana. Good for avoiding manaburn I guess?

Roon War Medoma, who requires you to name a card. Just any card at all. I wonder what happens if you say something that's not a valid card name.
posted by isthmus at 9:43 PM on June 11, 2015

Skengi Hellldadietsn is a pretty great name too.
posted by isthmus at 9:46 PM on June 11, 2015

I love Roon War Medoma. You are required to name card as an effect of the resolution. If you fail to do so (OMG, just say "Roon War Medoma." It's right there!), I think you still gain the life.
posted by 256 at 9:52 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

256 is correct, mostly. In practice, that ability actually does nothing: the colon is placed incorrectly, so there is no cost. As such, the ability cannot be activated at all! (At least, if the rules for absent CMCs established in Kamigawa apply by extension to abilities.) If we conclude that the "real" wording puts the colon after the first sentence, however, then the green mana generation becomes a cost, which can be activated an arbitrary number of times in response to itself, before any counters are placed.
posted by fifthrider at 9:53 PM on June 11, 2015

I was assuming it was:

0: Add G to your mana pool. If you do, put a -1/-1 counter on SH.

But I agree if it it is:

Add G to your mana pool: If you do, put a -1/-1 counter on SH.

That seems different.
posted by thefoxgod at 9:55 PM on June 11, 2015

Actually, I missed a nuance: mana abilities can't be responded to, so if you template it with zero cost, you actually have to place the counters before you activate the ability again. If you make the mana gain a cost, not only do you still get the same protection from ability counterspells like Voidslime, but you get a window during which you could bounce the creature before the counters are placed. Run this thing with mana fixers and a repeatable flicker ability like Roon, and you have as much G as you like whenever.

Yeah; my playgroup really enjoys pedantic, fiddly cards. Why do you ask?
posted by fifthrider at 10:00 PM on June 11, 2015

Good for avoiding manaburn I guess?

If they hadn't eliminated mana burn in M10. That said, most people maintain mana burn when they play the Un sets, because it's necessary for cards using half-mana quantities to function as designed, and all of these would be most at home in an Un set, so...
posted by fifthrider at 10:05 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Carnor Sprith
Creature - Fish
Inlect (When this creature deals combat damage to a player, you may put a 2/2 green Wolf creature token with deathtouch onto the battlefield.)

Love the idea that such a specific mechanic gets a keyword. Imagining a whole block designed around 2/2 wolf tokens with deathtouch.
posted by Zarkonnen at 11:57 PM on June 11, 2015 [8 favorites]

They eliminated mana burn? Why?
posted by No-sword at 1:51 AM on June 12, 2015

The full explanation is given here, but the short version is that they concluded that it was an un-fun rule that mostly punished novice players and was very rarely relevant except in cheap gimmicks and gotchas. Getting rid of mana burn makes it possible to go with spectacular "battlecruiser Magic" decks, without having to waste deck slots on dedicated mana sinks, which detract both from playability and from flavor. The result: Braid of Fire is a lot better than it used to be, a handful of older cards are a lot worse, a bunch of cards had to be retemplated, and on the whole the game is easier to play without having to worry about tapping out as precisely.
posted by fifthrider at 7:05 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

So this is pretty cool, but the neatest thing I've seen done by an RNN is this (by a researcher mentioned in the article). Basically, given "recordings" of people writing down words, an RNN can itself learn how to correctly handwrite any input phrase -- and you can even get it to imitate different people's scripts.

I have to wonder whether it will get to the point where forging a signature is so easy that it's no longer considered even a slightly reasonable proof of identity. Will we all have to get chops registered with the government like in China? Will there be a boom in business for notaries? Some sort of public-key cryptosystem with the government as a trusted entity? Although I guess this wouldn't help a human actually handwrite the signature in person.

The machine learning pendulum has definitely been swinging towards neural nets these past few years. I just wish people would stop trying to pretend like they have anything to do with brains.
posted by vogon_poet at 7:13 AM on June 12, 2015

We've gotten this far into a discussion of RNN and yet no one has put the AskMe corpus in to generate terrified questions about eating things?
posted by mittens at 7:19 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Well, the Magic R&D team is safe, but if I was the guy in charge of naming Magic cards, I'd be sweating bullets.
posted by absalom at 8:24 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

Also: I want to take a load of these, put them into some proxy-making software program, and set up a cube draft.
posted by absalom at 8:26 AM on June 12, 2015

I have the most perfect image in my head for Shring the Artist and I dearly wish I could draw it. A little like this, but more whimsical. And flying through the air.
posted by trunk muffins at 9:05 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm not particularly interested in Magic or RNNs, though I have a passing familiarity with both. For whatever reason, however, the combination of the two generates sheer mirth for me. Thanks, Internet!
posted by Alterscape at 9:40 AM on June 12, 2015

If I ever open a hip boutique in the Mission or Williamsburg I'm going to call it Mointainspalk & Tromple.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:54 AM on June 12, 2015 [6 favorites]

Scold, you quiunt

I love this name, so much that legit want to see a cycle of card like this, like:
Tavvy, you Scamp
(Art: imagine a towheaded-bright-eyed little moppet getting his/her hair mussed by a loving elder)

Whenever Tavvy, you Scamp dies, search your deck for a card named "Unruly Mob" and place it onto the battlefield. It gains haste.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:59 AM on June 12, 2015

Additionally: where is everybody seeing the art for these cards? Aside form the Twitterbot I'm only seeing text.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:01 AM on June 12, 2015

These cards read a lot like a collectable card game set in the Homestar Runner universe. Something Strong Sad would be into.
posted by JHarris at 10:31 AM on June 12, 2015 [7 favorites]

isthmus: " Skengi Hellldadietsn is a pretty great name too"

Icelandic, I think.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:13 PM on June 12, 2015

tromple Is my new favorite word.
posted by Windopaene at 4:11 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have seriously returned to this so many times today and gone into laughing fits, and I haven't really played Magic since I learned that Netrunner exists.

However, these two:
Slethward Bestroh
W: Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.

Anaboth Cubblue
2,T: Target land becomes a 4/4 white Spirit creature with flying until end of turn.
Seem pretty solid, at least. I'd play them.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:07 PM on June 12, 2015

You may pay ②.
This is amazing.
posted by valrus at 10:28 PM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

Oh god, I'm dying here:
Oraden Seers
Whenever Oraden Seers attacks, you may pay 1. If you do, that player discards a card, then shuffle your library into his or her graveyard.
posted by dorque at 5:03 PM on June 13, 2015 [4 favorites]

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