The Myrs of Mirrodin were once going to be gnomes, head MTG designer Mark Rosewater says in a recent Magic: The Gathering blog post. Fortunately for the Myr species, fellow employee Brady Dommermuth found gnomes a wee bit too silly, apparently swooping in with a fresh artifact creature.
“When I started designing original Mirrodin, one of the first things I created was the cycle of mana Myrs”, Rosewater says on February 6. “I liked the idea that on this artifact-themed plane, the common mana stones would be on creatures.” “This allowed me to make them at two mana, as being creatures would give them extra vulnerability”, he adds. “For their creature type, I chose gnome.”
“Gnomes had oddly become an artifact creature type and were used on a bunch of small artifact creatures in the early years of Magic, and the public, myself included, found them endearing”, Rosewater says. “Then one day, Brady Dommermuth came to visit me.”
In Rosewater’s dramatised version of events, Dommermuth’s cutting gnome slander included phrases like “it just doesn’t make any sense from a story perspective”, and “so when this artificial plane was created, someone said ‘you know what we need? Gnomes’”. Dommermuth even offered to create a new (but still adorable) artifact creature that made more thematic sense for the plane.
Rosewater eventually conceded, and the Myrs were “a huge hit” when they made their Mirrodin debut. “Looking back, I’m so glad Brady steered me away from making gnomes”, Rosewater says in the MTG blog post.
This Myr musing is inspired by the new Myr cards included in the Phyrexia: All Will Be One set. Only four Myr are present, and one of them is technically an MTG Phyrexian, but we apparently couldn’t return to the former plane of Mirrodin (now Phyrexia) without them.