Tuesday, 24 May 2022 09:12

The Beeble Scale: A Useful Magic List Borne Out of a Largely Unliked Creature Type

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Artwork for Bouncing Beebles. Artwork for Bouncing Beebles. WOTC/JEFF MIRACOLA

Magic: The Gathering has had it's ups and downs over the years and has been around so long with so many cards produced that a fairly accurate system of success has been made. Things that don't work or that broke the game or simply annoyed players were removed or never used again while things that were liked were kept around or at least traded in and out over time.

However, some were so bad that entire scales were named after them just for the company to show that they were never going to make them again.  For example, the Storm mechanic gave way to creating the Storm scale, which measured just how likely a mechanic would be used again.

A tool designed by Magic head designer, Mark Rosewater, and people at large seemed to like this idea, with it actually giving Magic makers and players alike something to consult with new sets and where to place new cards and concepts.

Over time, other charts sprang up too. One of these is the Beeble Scale.

First seen in Urza's Legacy in 1999, beeble's were little fist sized creatures with wings who ran around being mischievious.

Despite being designed as something fun and magical, they were quickly seen as something annoying by most players. Like Gazoo, Cousin Oliver, or pretty much any small, cutesy character put in artistic mediums since culture was first created, beebles followed everything like it before and were just dismissed. They were so hated that, since around the turn of the millenia, they have only been included in un-sets, most recently in Unsanctioned in 2020.

Besides the rare un-card that serves as a reminder to just how unpopular it was, the beeble did have one other effect - making the creature likelihood scale being named after it. Known as the Beeble Scale, Magic currently uses it to gauge what the liklihood they will use certain creatures again. With a "1" meaning it will be seen again very soon, to a "5" meaning it just needs the right place to come back, to a "10" meaning a major miracle will be needed to come back. In short, the scale more-or-less gauges just how much the creature types are needed as well as liked. 

Some on the list are no-brainers, such as angles and demons being a "1." Werewolves are a "3," kobolds a "7," and so on.

As for the "10s", well that's been reserved for the most hated and least desirable. Here you see lord, minion, and yes, beebles.

While they are still undesired by most all Magic players still today, at least the beebles helped to create a handy tool for set design.