Tuesday, May 31, 2011

CCDD 053111—Mashups 2

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/31/2011 - Today is part two of me trying in vain to steal Chah's glory. Check out part one or the posts (1 & 2) that inspired both.

Day two started with Firewild Borderpost and Ancestral Recall:

Monday, May 30, 2011

CCDD 053011—Mashups 1

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/30/2011 - If you haven't seen Chah's Mashup articles (1 & 2) this weekend, check 'em out now; it's a very cool design exercise. So cool, I knew I'd want to play along. Every time Chah announced the next pair, I stopped reading and designed my own mashup so that I could see how similar our solutions were. As it turns out, not remotely.

First up was Sulfur Vent and Butcher Orgg:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

21 Ways to Design a Card: More Mashup Cards

I made some more mashup cards using the Gatherer's random card button.

Alright, here's the first two random cards:

Friday, May 27, 2011

052711—Collect Pain

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/27/2011 - Black is always looking for variations on the discard mechanic because every single set has to have one since no other colors are allowed to do it and it's so ingrained within the game. For that reason, designers are always excited when they discover a new version that's relevant and relatively elegant. You'll let me know if I'm wrong, but I think Collect Pain passes muster:

21 Ways to Design a Card Part 5: The "Random Card" Button

A while ago, on one of WotC's forums called You Make the Card, there was a thread where people posted card designs based on mashing together two cards that you got from the Gatherer's random card button.

If you're ever stuck, combining two things is a good way to get an idea, as finding the link between two seemingly unrelated things lets you look at something in a new way.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

CCDD 052611—Pervasive Instinct and King Predator

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/26/2011 - Green doesn't get to kill creatures directly. Usually it gets the job done by presenting a must-block creature of its own, but recently it's been getting creature replacement like Lignify and Beast Within. Since the paucity of creature removal in green is one of the biggest drawbacks to my favorite color, I often think of other ways to alleviate the issue while sticking to the color pie. Pervasive Instinct is the theme I come back to most often:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

CCDD 052511—Demonic Teacher and Monster Call

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/25/2011 - Demonic Tutor is too cheap. Diabolic Tutor is too expensive. Grim Tutor's about right, but feels very downside. Praetor's Grasp depends on your opponent to have something that you want to cast. What if the tutor couldn't be used early but paid for itself?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

21 Ways to Design a Card: Part 4 - Design Around a Movie Villain

Top-down ideas can result in cards you haven't seen before. But just thinking "I'll make a top-down card" isn't restriction enough to breed creativity; you should settle on some category.

One fertile category is movie villains. Good villains tend to have very interesting traits, abilities, and persona, instead of just being strong and smart.

I designed some below. It was fun. See if you can guess who the model for each card was.

CCDD 05211—Fire Dance

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/24/2011 - Yesterday on Twitter @andrea2s1 mused that a Lava Axe that can also target creatures would be a reasonable card today. Beacon of Destruction fits that bill but at rare. I believe Lava Arrow could be a common. That got me thinking about other red effects that could use a boost. Toss in Mr. Rosewater's article about the value of the mana system and I was reminded how lousy Pyretic Ritual is. Consider this improved version:

Monday, May 23, 2011

CCDD 052311—The Embiggen Mechanic

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/23/2011 - I could have sworn there were more aborted Landfall alternatives discussed than I can find here and to a lesser extent here, but I can't find them. Regardless, I'm fairly confident R&D tried out the mechanic I'm showcasing today and shot it down in favor of the Landfall we all know and love (and rightly so). That doesn't make what I'm calling embiggen a bad mechanic, just inferior to Landfall. Check out an example before I go any further.

21 Ways to Design a Card: Part 3 - Find a Rule to Break

The Magic rulebook states that Magic is full of cards that change how the rules work. Haste breaks the rule that a creature summoned this turn can't attack. Vigilance breaks the rule that a creature attacking must tap.

Finding a rule to break (and an interesting way to break them) is a great source of ideas for cards. 

Rules Fixes: The Legend Rule

Honestly, sometimes I wonder if Mark Rosewater's trolling his own column. In case you missed it, a couple weeks ago MaRo effectively threw down the gauntlet and challenged the community to design a better legend rule. Even if he didn't quite do it on purpose, his post started 27 pages (and counting) of forum chatter and managed to elicit a response from Tom LaPille of Magic R&D and "Latest Developments" fame. As a result, I've grotesquely over-invested my time on this troll-foolery, and here's what I've come up with:

Friday, May 20, 2011

21 Ways to Design a Card: Part 2d - Hand, Battlefield, and Exile

I've been making cards inspired by game terminology and jargon. Today's cards for the Hand, Battlefield and Exile.

Contest Results

After careful deliberation and some slight delay, the three designs (for what will hopefully be the first of many design contests here at Goblin Artisans) have been chosen. Though we didn't receive quite as many submissions as I would have hoped, there was still a fair amount of competition. As we contributors aren't of a hivemind, I won't be able to speak for the reasoning behind my compatriots' selections, but I'll do my best to explain what influenced my own thought process through the various critiques.

CCDD 052011—Disturbing Resemblance

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/20/2011 - Rise from the Grave was one of many solid flavor hits from Magic 2010. Very cool that the creature comes back as an evil zombie version of whatever it was. New Phyrexia had me thinking about horror tropes and I kept coming back to the good guys encountering the zombified version of their former friend/mother/lover and being extra terrified. Hence, Disturbing Resemblance:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

CCDD 051911—Goblin Giving

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/19/2011 - There are a few variations of equipment stealing and destruction across the two Mirrodin blocks: Magnetic Theft, Ogre Geargrabber, Metallic Master, Turn to Slag, and Unforge. Goblin Giving continues in that tradition and combines both goals.

21 Ways to Design a Card: Part 2c - Tomb Raider and Tome Raider

I've designed some cards for each zone in the game, and once again it was a good source of inspiration.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

CCDD 051811—Arborian Badgers

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/18/2011 - Arborian Badgers is the strange offspring of Giant Badger and Hungry Spriggan. While definitely best on offense, like the Spriggan, it has inherited the Badger's defensive instincts should it be blocked. I believe I made this at the same time as Auger Dodger. I went with the old badger's mana cost, but this could be just 2G in today's pie since it's still usually worse than the Spriggan.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

21 Ways to Design a Card: Part 2b - The Most Annoying Card Ever

If you've read my previous posts, you'll know that I've been making cards that draw inspiration from common phrases players say during a Magic game. These cards are based off of the phrases "I'll let it through" and "I concede." The second one resulted in an annoying card to play against.

CCDD 051711—Lessons of Battle

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/16/2011 - There are fair arguments for Lessons of Battle to be black (profiting from death), green (predation) or white (battle experience), but I like it in red (where it also represents battle experience) because I feel like white "war" cards should revolve around tactics and formations while red "war" cards should revolve around brute strength, passion and vengeance.

21 Ways to Design a Card: Part 2a - Cards Inspired by Magic Jargon

I'm going to continue with my series of cards that draw inspiration from Magic glossaries - namely, cards based on things that players say during a game.

Here's some card ideas based on the phrases "In response to that..." and "At the end of your turn...."

Monday, May 16, 2011

CCDD 051611—Communist Mandate

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/16/2011 - I like Praetor's Grasp. I doubt it's useful in Constructed except against a silver-bullet type deck or a control/combo deck with only one copy of its finisher (and perhaps not even then), but I know it's awesome in Limited. Grabbing your opponent's Karn and playing it against them is pretty satisfying the game after they wrecked you with it. Communist Mandate is the result of thinking about other similar effects that might be interesting.

21 Ways to Design a Card: Part 2 - Use a Magic Glossary + More Japanese-Inspired Cards

A great way to design varied cards is to look at a glossary of Magic terms or player jargon and make a card inspired by each item that appears on that word list. It will make you think about each zone, each permanent type, each type of player action, and each type of decision-making that players go through in a game.

I'm currently designing cards that are inspired by words that Japanese people use when playing Magic in Japanese. (I will start up a blog on how to play Magic in Japanese very soon.) It's had the same effect as going through a glossary of Magic terms. At first I was just hoping the cards I make would help leave an impression about Japanese words and make them memorable, but I've discovered that designing based on Magic words allows me to think about cards that wouldn't have occurred to me otherwise.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Japanese Card of the Day: Giftstone of Dohzo

Within a few days, I'm going to start another blog about teaching yourself to play Magic in Japanese. It will focus on language learning, but each post will also contain a card design inspired by a Japanese word or phrase. I'll simultaneously post just the card designs in this Goblin Artisan blog too, since it may be of interest to any readers of this blog.

The first one is based on the word Dohzo. It means "please, go ahead," and it's used to offer a gift or a seat, give permission to do something, ask a guest to come inside, etc. When playing Magic, "Dohzo" (along with a hand gesture) is sometimes used to pass the turn.

21 Ways to Design a Card: Part 1 - Improve a Card You'd Never Play

We each have our tendencies as card designers — I like creatures, and if left to my own devices I tend to design too many cards that modify creatures or affect creature combat. In order to diversify our designs and avoid focusing too much on our habitual space, writing out a list of techniques for coming up with card ideas can be helpful since it lets us design from many angles.

I will make this a weekly series. The number 21 is a placeholder. I have no idea how many ways to design a card I'll be able to find or reference. And it's like the number of oceans or continents in the world - there are different ways of counting the same thing. If I manage to reach 21, I'll keep going on.

Friday, May 13, 2011

CCDD 051311—Phyrexian Mana Stone

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/13/2011 - My draft group was able to play NMS last night thanks to the packs we won at the prerelease. I discovered there that while Etched Monstrosity is still a very solid 5/5 for five, he is nothing more. This was in stark contrast to how he played on the Magic Online beta where the New Phyrexia packs are drafted alongside all the old sets, but most importantly, the Alaran tri-lands and Lorwyn Vivid lands. It got me thinking more about the references that NPH makes to its predecessor, Fifth Dawn, and—more acutely—those it does not.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

CCDD 051211—Augur Dodger

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/12/2011 - Augur Dodger is meant to be an uncatchable fairy (a brownie, specifically). Like the Gustcloak creatures but on defense as well as offense. I like that it's a reasonable threat (requiring a blocker each turn, yet never being eaten) as well as an amazing blocker (good against everything but trample and creatures like Inferno Elemental), though it could get annoying after a while.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

CCDD 051111—Smarterer

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/11/2011 -Peek effects, like Gitaxian Probe, are not desperately in need of nerfing. (That's understatement, for you literalists out there.) Even so, I had been looking at a repeatable peek effect and was thinking about ways to mitigate the effects of such and stumbled upon the idea of having to show your hand in order to see your opponent's. And so Smarterer was born:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Top-Down Tuesday - Executioner's Deathmask ( + Contest)

Though I intended to return with yet another hearty dose of ghastly blather, editing the many articles of my fellow contributors got me itching to write something with a bit less heft. (Yet hopefully just as much chew — like a Baby Ruth.) And it being Tuesday, what better day could there be to discuss a couple of top-down designs? Presumably none as alliterative, that's for sure.

CCDD 051011—Path to Corruption

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/10/2011 -What if you didn't want to destroy your opponent's Journey to Nowhere? What if it still returned the exiled creature to the battlefield, but under your opponent's control instead of your own? Such an effect would have to be black (though there's an argument for white or blue) and would represent basically sending that creature to Hell or some other dark, mind-twisting place such that when (if) it finally gets back, you have so thoroughly corrupted its soul that it works for you now.

Monday, May 9, 2011

CCDD 050911—Piker Elite VS The Legend Rule

If you haven't already, start by reading Mark Rosewater's article today: The Issue Is Legen—Wait for It—Dary. Within, he discusses certain flaws tarnishing the rules for legendary permanents, not because the current rules are bad, but because there is room for improvement. It is this attitude of "fixing what ain't broke" that has sustained Magic as the best game in the world even after so many years. We cannot be content with "pretty good" or "good enough" but must always strive to be as close to perfection as possible. No one ever mastered anything by becoming the best and then stopping there.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

CCDD 050611—Kinetic Efreet

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/6/2011 - Some inspiration comes in the basest forms. This one started off with being reminded of Frenetic Efreet, my brain automatically punning/rhyming of it, and deciding that would actually be a pretty good name for a card. From there, I started thinking about what would make an Efreet kinetic, and it seemed pretty apparent the thing needed to move around as much as possible.

Holy Crap! Phyrexia is Evil! (Part 2)

Tomorrow is the New Phyrexia prerelease, so I'll be heading out to inflict terror on the pathetically incompleat. But before I do, I wanted to write a follow up to Part 1, in which I explain why I have a few reservations with the new set regarding how its designs affect the way the game works. To do that, I first want to explain the different types of actions available in a typical match.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

CCDD 050511—Epiphany, Eureka, Dark Revelation, Tap the Wellspring, The Wheel Turns

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/5/2011 - Every creative act is theft. Want to create something new to Magic? You need only look elsewhere. Fantasy films, books and art are common inspiration for Magic cards, but it's also standard to find puzzles, riddles, and mind-games that you enjoy from work, school, life in general and other games. This kind of idea borrowing is artful because it is something that gains a part of you in the translation. Today, I give you the cheaper version of creative theft: look at another game and steal an existing mechanic 1:1.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

CCDD 050411—Vetorerry

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/4/2011 - I'm a big fan of educated guesses, bluffing and secret information in games. I'm also a fan of turning your opponents' weapons against them. Vetorrery is in the Pithing Needle/Meddling Mage family but takes things a step further. What if instead of just blocking that nasty spell, we took it for ourselves? Well clearly our opponent isn't going to play into our trap... if he knows which card we've chosen.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Wording for Diminish Effects

Diminish is one of my favorite common cards in M11. I don't actually play it a lot because of the riskiness, but the flavor of shrinking your opponent's creature into a small creature at the right moment to squash it is delicious and evocative.

Fairy tales and legends are full of Witches that will turn you into a mouse and eat you, or heroes that defeat a genie by tricking it into making itself small. Transforming things is one of the things spellcasters tend to do. It provides a nice contrast to other combat tricks that give +X/+X or -X/-X. I also like cards like Wings of Velis Veil because they are evocative.

CCDD 050311—Titanic Golempants, Platinum Lance & Plate of Kaldra

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/3/2011 - Yesterday, I panned the design of Batterskull on the basis of it feeling uninspired, a dire quality for a mythic rare. While I don't remotely think I'm a better designer than anyone on the New Phyrexia design team, where I come from constructive criticism is at its best when followed by earnest suggestions for improvement. Today, I attempt to design a better mythic rare living weapon.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Designer's Set Review—New Phyrexia (Artifact)

A Designer's Set Review—New Phyrexia (Artifact)
You will see any number of reviews of New Phyrexia in the context of their impact on limited, standard, extended and legacy play. This week, I'm bringing you a new perspective: How does the set stack up in terms of design? Follow along with the official spoiler.
Alloy Myr is like Palladium Myr, but you get * instead of 2. I would feel that this is unnecessarily derivative if the whole point of this set wasn't to show Phyrexia adapting to all colors. But it is. I will say that it's creepily Fifth Dawn-ish and makes me wonder if they shouldn't have made a Phyrexian version of Sunburst.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Few More Red Counterspells

In my previous post, "A Red Counterspell?" I talked about the rationale of a red counterspell. In some RPGs like D&D, you can stop a spell by damaging the caster before he/she finishes the spell to disrupt his/her concentration.

I proposed a red effect that damages players to "distract" or "daze" them, where the disrupted spell only gets bounced to hand instead of being completely countered. This kind of spell could live in a different space from traditional blue counters, since they care about tempo and they sacrifice card advantage.

Here's some different versions of that idea.