WOTC has been doing a hit-or-miss job on designing new cards/sets. The sets have exciting cards in them, but it is pretty obvious which cards are supposed to be good, powerful and sub-par. There are a lot of things that could make new sets better, and there are several tropes that were set up by Time Spiral block that could make for good practices in modern design.
1. Combinations of old keywords: Bringing back one keyword per set was a pretty cool idea. One of the things that made Time Spiral block/Future Sight, fantastic, was the combination of mechanics of days past. How cool was it to finally see Cycling and Madness on the same card, only to find it somewhat unplayable/uninteresting? Bring back cool old mechanics that have synergy and introduce them to the same set, the same CARD even. Scry and Kinship or Clash.
2. Use the new mechanics from future sight to create a set's mechanical theme: Transfigure, Aura Swap, Delve, the infamous Contraptions. These would all be great starting points for set themes. Who wouldn't love to see another Graveyard themed block where removing cards from graveyards (instead of cards in graveyards) mattered. Aura Swap has the potential to make an Aura themed block that has enough Oomph! that it would be recieved well, and everyone would be shocked to find out "CONTRAPTIONS ARE REAL!?"
3. Use the flavor of cards from Future Sight: When I found out that future-shifted cards from Future Sight would be reprinted with new flavor slapped on them, I was dissappointed. The cards that were timeshifted in Time Spiral were cool, because they appeared to have "come from the past". The Future Sight cards don't seem to come from the future at all when they return with new art, a new frame, new flavor text...etc. They seem like they were crammed into a set to honor the "These cards are from the future" trope so that we don't retroactively feel like Future Sight was a lie. Also, several of the future-shifted cards appeared to spoil cool new worlds that we would be visiting in the past. I say to you WOTC, VISIT SOME OF THOSE WORLDS! The one Shadowmoor plant aside, we haven't visited ANY of those worlds (except on planechase planes, which were but another single glance). I am sure there was a TON of work done on future sight. Creating a bunch of new worlds and peeks into different planes. Draw upon that work! We were excited by the glimpses Future Sight gave us, GIVE US MORE !
That's all I have for today, New Phyrexia seems to be ushering in a new wave of much more interesting sets than in the recent pastthe other two in the block. I hope WOTC keeps on that path and makes more sets like New Phyrexia for a while. Maybe one of them will even read this article and take my advice...who knows.
Until next time...
Use YOUR shoes as counters!