Friday, December 21, 2012

CCDD 122112—Panic Elemental

Cool Card Design of the Day
12/21/2012 - I didn't design this for today, nor even consciously select it for today, but it does seem appropriate for the day the world was supposed to end.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

CCDD 122012—Deep Contemplation

Cool Card Design of the Day
12/20/2012 - I'm guessing Deep Contemplation is broken in a couple combo decks and nearly unplayable in everything else. Of course, that's true for most cards made to be combo pieces.

Somewhere between Hatching Plans and Cloudshift, I can see this getting some decent use in Limited. Bounce an ETB creature so you can recast it with a cantrip attached. Maybe two if you're mad for value.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CCDD 121912—Gnarly Aurakin

Cool Card Design of the Day
12/19/2012 - Force of Savagery is a pretty awesome Johnny card. It comes with a great big hoop and an equally sized reward. I was curious to see if we couldn't make a version with broader appeal by making it significantly easier to use (at the cost of some raw power). One of the questions casual players ask is if they can enchant Force before it dies to keep it alive. They can't. But maybe they should be able to:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

CCDD 121812—Consult the Dragon

Cool Card Design of the Day
12/18/2012 - What happens when you ask a Dragon for advice? If you're lucky or clever, it might give you a powerful secret. If you're not, it'll likely kill you on the spot. You'll learn something important either way, though that may be cold comfort to a dragon's meal.

Consult the Dragon will always draw you a card, and might help you hit hard or remove an opposing creature. Which one is entirely up to fate. Or, if you're a blue mage, you.

Monday, December 17, 2012

CCDD 121712—Headstrong Tutor

Cool Card Design of the Day
12/17/2012 - I think the inspiration for this design was probably, "What kind of Tutor can we get for four mana? What's an effect worth 1 less than Diabolic Tutor?" The only other possibility I can imagine is that I was thinking about how all the good black cards cost 4 and how cute it would be to have an efficient way to tutor them up. 

All I'm saying is, if this was a top-down design, lock me up immediately.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

What makes a major set mechanic?

The final pitches are due tomorrow at midnight, so I thought I'd say a bit about what I consider to be the most important questions in determining what makes a good central mechanic for a set.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

CCDD 121312—Nessian Battalion

Cool Card Design of the Day
12/13/2012 - Affinity got a bad rap in Mirrodin because it enabled one of the most broken Standard decks ever. We all know that the keyword has potential in another form. Many of us have messed with it a bit, and today is one of my attempts.

There are a few ways you can go with Affinity. Remember, it's a reward for getting a bunch of a certain type of permanent out. You could choose something ubiquitous like Affinity for lands, but that's silly; Lands are already a metric for how much you can cast and that ability would just mean "this card costs half what is says it does" most of the time. The Oxidda Golem cycle keyed off specific basic land types and while that's similar, it's kind of halfway toward Imperiosaur, Spectral Procession or Leatherback Baloth where we're asking the player to build her land base—and thus her deck—in a particular way.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Set Design: Final Pitches!

The three sets that made it to the last round have each undergone lots of revisions.  This challenge is your chance to present a "final" vision of how the entire set fits together.  Your task is to create a booster pack of Ekkremes, Frontier, or Ankh-Theb that illustrates most of the set's mechanics.  Your pack should be an ideal introduction to the set for a player who knows nothing about it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

CCDD 120512—Starry Landscape

Cool Card Design of the Day
12/5/2012 - This card is probably busted. Ultimately, any land that either generates mana of any color or draws you cards, regardless of the conditions and drawbacks ends up being busted in some deck. Given that this draws a card and gives you mana of any color, the question is, how busted is it, as measured by how many decks it goes into across Standard, Modern and Legacy?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Set Design: Round 3 Pitches are Up!

The third round pitches have been pored over with fine-toothed combs, and we are down to three sets left from the original eight.  The survivors are:
The sets we're cutting are:
  • Sephorgia.  Despite many promising attempts, we never found a truly satisfying mechanical heart for the enchantment set.  I have no doubt that it's possible, but it was far enough behind the other candidates that we gave it the boot.
  • Athambia Academy.  We loved this set a lot, but finding the right thing to focus on proved a serious difficulty.  There was no one direction that we found sufficiently promising, so it also had to go.
Our sincerest thanks to everyone who submitted pitches in the third round!  You may not know it, but we spend a lot of time reading and pondering the merits of everything you design for us.  This entire design process wouldn't happen without you, and we're very grateful for your time and creativity.

Now that we're down to three candidates, there's only one step to go before we choose which of these ideas will become an actual set.  The final challenge will be posted in a few days.  In the meantime, please post feedback in the comments of the entries (or on the message board) so that we know what you like and don't like about our top three options.  It's also never too soon to brainstorm where you think each set should go.  In the final round, there will be no restrictions at all on who can pitch which set.

Ekkremes: Embrace the Age of Mana

HV: This pitch is by James Bartolotti.  My comments are in blue.  Here are the pitches from rounds one and two.

Set: Ekkremes

Pitch Name: Embrace the age of mana

Mechanical Themes: Sunburst, Monocolor-Hybrid, Colorless matters (with Building subtype for colorless-producing lands)

50 Word Summary:
Sunburst, representing Ekkremes's reemergence of mana, appears in all colors but is focused in Green and Red, with Red getting one-shot mana filtering to support it. Monocolor-Hybrid and colorless-matters (all colors, but mostly Blue/Black/White) represent the technotopia that dominated a mana-poor world. Smoothing mechanic Bulldoze supports both multicolor and colorless.

Frontier: "This town ain't big enough."

HV: This pitch is by Pasteur.  My comments are in blue.  Here are the pitches from rounds one and two.

What set are you pitching?

What is the name of your pitch?
"This town ain't big enough."

What are the major mechanical themes in the set according to your vision?
Madness, Duel, and powering out huge fatties.

Please present six common cards of a color different from the color in the second round pitch.  These cards should clearly demonstrate at least one major mechanical theme of the set.

Ankh-Theb: The Mummy Returns

HV: This pitch is by James Bartolotti.  My comments are in blue.  Here are the pitches from rounds one and two.

Set: Ankh-Theb

Pitch Name: The Mummy Returns

Mechanical Themes: WBR desert society, with Mummify and Exiling creatures from graveyards as a cost. GU river society, with Cyclic growth ("Thallid" mechanic).

50 Word summary:
The path to the afterlife is getting harder to achieve. Instead of finding peace, the recently deceased are returning as undead husks of their former selves. Some blame the secularization of the river society, who forgo the gods for bountiful life on earth. Others blame the cultists who desecrate the dead.

CCDD 120312—Encase in Solitude

Cool Card Design of the Day
12/3/2012 - Arrest is a very white card. The idea of answers that can be answered is fairly unique to white. Blue has a bunch of Frozen Solid auras that end up being similar even though the design focus is on the creature not untapping rather than the aura being disenchantable. In a similar way, today's card is black and uses the effect not to impinge on white's 'thang' but for its own reasons.

Friday, November 30, 2012

CCDD 113012—Dig

Cool Card Design of the Day
11/30/2012 - Pasteur's latest submission for Frontier includes Dig as a smoothing mechanic half-way between cycling and landcycling. You don't get to search your library or choose which card you get, but you are guaranteed a land card. He wasn't the first to propose Dig for this challenge and this challenge wasn't the first time Dig has been proposed, but it's an appealing mechanic because it fixes mana well while remaining fairly quick to execute and of low enough power level to go on a lot of cards without ruining their appeal.

Dig 2 (2, Discard this card: Reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a land card. Put that card into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

CCDD 112912—Stoic Defender

Cool Card Design of the Day
11/29/2012 - This card's been sitting in the file for a while. It had an additional clause which ensured you only got the defensive exalted bonus if you also attacked with Stoic Defender, but that seemed much too fiddly to keep. I'm guessing it had been included originally to force you to risk an attack and prevent you from just sitting back and blocking, but it read strangely and introduces (light) memory issues. The card's just cleaner without. It probably doesn't need vigilance now either.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

CCDD 112812—Resilience Sphere

Cool Card Design of the Day
11/28/2012 - I'm confident we'll see more hard-to-target effects like Frost Titan's in the future. In fact, I fully expect "spells [and abilities] targeting ~ cost opponents N more to cast" to be keyworded someday. Until then, we'll seed the future with one-off effects. Today's card actually makes the added cost symmetric, but it does so as a cost for a useful effect, rather than a penalty.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

CCDD 112712—Ashen Furnace

Cool Card Design of the Day
11/27/2012 - Loosely inspired by the Ruins of Trokair cycle and Lake of the Dead, Ashen Furnace turns out to be a sort of reverse Dust Bowl.

Monday, November 26, 2012

CCDD 112612—Steal Fate

Cool Card Design of the Day
11/26/2012 - Reverse Fatespinner. Instead of robbing an opponent of part of her turn, Steal Fate gives you more turn. It happens to do so in a punisher-mechanic way, that lets your opponent prevent you from taking a particular bonus by conceding it herself, but that would be a desperate choice indeed and one you're just as likely to profit from.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

CCDD 112412—Peer Below

Cool Card Design of the Day
11/24/2012 - I don't know that this effect is particularly red, though I do think it's at least arguable. It's really just what came to mind when I saw this Dwarf inspecting this crag.

What do you think? Red can discard cards to draw a cards and it can sacrifice Mountains to empower effects. Is this kosher? Assuming we agree it doesn't belong in a core set, what kind of expert set might Peer Below belong in?

Friday, November 23, 2012

CCDD 112312—Migration

Cool Card Design of the Day
11/23/2012 - Caring about or messing with the colored and colorless symbols in a card's mana cost isn't a deep well, but I come back to it every now and again. I found this art, knew it had to be Migration and immediately made Naked Singularity. Dang. Tried again and... this very non-Timmy card came out.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

CCDD 112112—Ka's Pyramid

Cool Card Design of the Day
11/12/2012 - I was thinking a little about how to express pyramids for Ankh-Theb. I started with Level-Up on a land and was immediately convinced there's only one good design there. The three artifact solutions that follow aren't amazing either, but they have a good identity to them and express the intense labor required for great pyramids pretty well.

With some luck, maybe they'll be enough to start a conversation that leads us to something awesome.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mark Rosewater, Please Read This Article: Differentiating Green and White

[This series consists of articles about the future of Magic.  Because they are intended partly as feedback for R&D, they contain no original designs.]

I'm thinking of a color. 

It likes playing lots of creatures, including tokens. It likes pumping these creatures as well, both temporarily and permanently. It sometimes gives them vigilance or untaps them. It tends to be good with enchantments. It gains life at the drop of a hat, and can prevent damage to itself or its creatures. It can destroy both artifacts and enchantments easily, but has less direct methods for handling enemy creatures.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Round 3 Pitches!

It's time for the next round of pitches!  We have five worlds left, and each of them has tons of potential but also some unanswered questions. Here is the "homework" for each world after the second pitch.

  • Ankh-Theb: Find more mechanical themes. Possibly determine factions and/or color pie divisions.
  • Athambia Academy: Clarify the flavor of the Academy itself. Show us something about other Houses, or the role of the school in its world.
  • Ekkremes: Show us what kind of world this set takes place in.
  • Frontier: Invent more mechanics.
  • Sephorgia A: Decide which mechanics are important for evoking the Arthurian flavor.
  • Sephorgia B: Demonstrate something that goes on in this world besides enchantments.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

CCDD 111612—Training

Cool Card Design of the Day
11/17/2012 - I sincerely doubt this is a unique idea. I'm not even sure this is the first time I've thought of it. Even so, it's kinda neat and fairly inoffensive. Reverse Kindle:

A Forum for Our Set Design Project

We've set up a forum for our set design project. It's here.

While it requires you to register an account, it should be easier to hold discussion in this threaded forum rather than the comment section of this blog, since we tend to have parallel discussion on many topics for each set.

This is an example of how the mechanic design section for a set would look. Each mechanic would have its own thread, so it should be possible to browse through them like an idea list when you're looking for mechanic ideas to use in your pitch for this project.

Friday, November 16, 2012

CCDD 111612—Sanguaro

Cool Card Design of the Day
11/16/2012 - The idea for a cactus treefolk was not mine—I believe it was Antny's—but I just had to make the card. So awesome.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Set Design: Round 2 Pitches are Up!

After reading an astonishing thirty-five pitches from you based on our original eight sets, the Goblin Artisans authors have finally completed the task of narrowing the field from eight to five.  We based these decisions partly on the quality and number of pitches we received for worlds, but also on our own opinions of their potential for future growth.  It was a tough decision, and we're sure there will be some surprises.  Read on to find out which worlds made it!

Set Design: Ankh-Theb 2

HV: This pitch is by George Gone.  My comments are in blue.  The pitch from round one is here.  The wiki page for this set is here

Set Design: Athambia Academy 2

HV: This pitch is by James Bartolotti.  My comments are in blue.  The pitch from round one is here.  The wiki page for this set is here.  

Set Design: Ekkremes 2

HV: This pitch is by Jacob Munford.  My comments are in blue.  The pitch from round one is here.  The wiki page for this set is here

Set Design: Frontier 2

HV: This pitch is by Prophylaxis.  My comments are in blue.  The pitch from round one is here.  The wiki page for this set is here.  

Set Design: Sephorgia 2A

HV: This pitch is by Nich Grayson.  My comments are in blue.  The pitch from round one is here.  The wiki page for this set is here.  

Set Design: Sephorgia 2B

HV: This pitch is by Jacob Munford.  My comments are in blue.  The pitch from round one is here.  The wiki page for this set is here.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

CCDD 11/13/12—Reform

Cool Card Design of the Day
11/13/2012 - Sometimes people buy two of the same antique car so they can rip the good parts out of one to replace the bad parts from the other. Fallout uses this model for repairing all your equipment (and it's a great way to handle the So Many Guns problem). Is there a Magic mechanic there? (Hint: I think so.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

CCDD 111212—Æthershift

Cool Card Design of the Day
11/12/2012 - This mechanic was inspired while reading Mark Rosewater's Designing for Izzet. I share it today not because I think it would have been a better choice than Replicate or Overload (I don't) nor even that it should be used if we come back to the Izzet in the future. Æthershift fails in one of the primary goals of an Izzet mechanic: creating variance. In fact, this keyword will create more repetitive gameplay. That said, it's kinda neat and designing it was interesting.

Friday, November 9, 2012

CCDD 110912—Buried Treasure

Cool Card Design of the Day
11/9/2012 - I mentioned that Wednesday's crazy mechanic bury had been inspired by an idea that was itself inspired by the set submissions. Today, I want to show you the middleman, but I can't do that without telling you about the original because—and yes this is a serious flaw—it really doesn't make any sense out of context.

Actually, there wasn't a single mechanic I can point to, it was more a confluence of similar mechanics. Dig, Explore and some un-keyworded abilities all shared in common a similar action: looking at or revealing the top N cards of your library. For the most part, these were smoothing mechanics—the kind of thing that's important for keeping games moving forward and making more games competitive, but that tends not to be terribly sexy. Smoothing mechanics keep exciting sets selling because of the good gameplay they support, but they don't make a set anymore exciting to begin with.

My goal was to make the choice to use one of these mechanics more exciting. To compel people to make their decks better by adding interest to the workhorse cards they might ignore otherwise.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

CCDD 110712—Bury

Cool Card Design of the Day
11/7/2012 - This keyword was inspired by a keyword that was inspired by a couple of the recent submissions for Sephorgia. I made literally 12 versions of it, swinging between things that were more like Suspend, more like Miracle or more novel. I settled on two versions I want to share with that I feel are simple, unique and interesting enough. I'm going to share six cards executed using each version to demonstrate the differences.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Set Design: Processing Round 2 Pitches

Readers, you submitted a truly amazing thirty-five pitches for the second round of the set selection process!  We're all quite excited by the level of audience engagement in this project.  We're also going to be swamped reading and judging all these designs for the next several days.  I can't make any promises about the exact length of time it'll take to finish; despite our love for Goblin Artisans, we've got day jobs and enough geographic separation that it isn't feasible to lock ourselves in a conference room until the decision gets made.  But rest assured, we are extremely grateful for your ideas, and look forward to reading all of them.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Set Design: Round 2 Deadline Approaching!

The due date for the second round of pitches is midnight on Sunday, November 4.  Details are here.  This is an update to let you know the current numbers of pitches received for each world.

When all the pitches are in, we'll have another blog author huddle to make the cut to five candidates.  Whether a set survives will depend partly on the quality of the best pitch(es) for that world, but also on how many Goblin Artisans readers are actually excited about it.  To measure this, we'll consider number of pitches submitted, wiki activity, blog comments, etc.  So even if you don't have the time and energy to make a full pitch, please do head to the wiki (or comments section of the appropriate set, if you're wikiphobic) and contribute your brilliant ideas to the world of your choice.  That'll increase the likelihood that we pick your favorite set to work on!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

103112 CCDD—Bare Troll & Friends

Cool Card Design of the Day
10/31/2012 -The random thought occurred to me that a fairly natural regeneration cost for a creature is its casting cost. Regeneration is a little like getting to recast a creature right after it dies, so what does it look like to make that metaphor more concrete?

The immediate concern when I mused about this on Twitter was "Bad gameplay- ties up way too much mana in future turns" which is fair—A card like Selesnya Sentry will rarely be regenerated because it costs so much to do. That said, who's to say the card is only good if it can be regenerated? Sentry is efficient enough to play without the regeneration ability. Can we make cards with matching costs that don't suck?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Set Design: Round 2 Pitches!

Now that we have eight set ideas to work with, the next step is to flesh out some mechanical themes for these sets.  And it's up to you, dear readers, to pitch these sets in the second round!  You may submit a pitch for any set that you did NOT pitch in the first round.  (For example, anyone except Pasteur is welcome to pitch Athambia Academy.)  You are also welcome to pitch more than one set, if you have the time and energy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Set Design: Pitches are Up!

The top eight pitches have been posted!
Let the discussions begin!  Please comment on each individual pitch's thread and start throwing around ideas to flesh out the sets.  The next challenge will be posted in a few days.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a pitch.  All of us at Goblin Artisans are very grateful for your work.  Of course, we couldn't pick all of them to promote, but I sincerely hope you'll all continue to apply your design talents to this project.

NB: The people who submitted these pitches are not eligible to submit the round two challenge for their own sets.  That means you -- yes, you! -- are the ones who should be figuring out what direction to take the sets in.

Set Design Pitch: Athambia Academy

HV: This set pitch is by Pasteur.  My comments are in blue.

What is the name of your set?
"Athambia Academy"

What is the core concept of your set?
Magical dueling academy: Top-down "Hogwarts" + "It's time to duel!"

Seven Commons:

Set Design Pitch: Ankh-Theb

HV: This set pitch is by fading shadows of a memory beloved.  My comments are in blue.

What is the name of your set?


What is the core concept of your set?

An egyptian plane (top down designs) has its 3 kingdoms fighting over the control of sacred areas. Whoever controls them can influence the set of planar rules that determine who gets to have a pleasant afterlife and who will be left to the dead-eating gods. The plain is crossed by a river like the Nile. There are 3 kingdoms (Low, middle and high, corresponding respectively to the end at the seaside, the rocky middle part of the river and the swampy sources of the river). The High kingdom is black (minor green) aligned, the middle kingdom is Red (minor green) and the low kingdom is White (minor blue). The priestly organization tries not to interfere, with the kathari (as seen in Shards of alara) gathering knowledge, while the river priests care for the fertility rites.

Submit seven designs for common cards which represent some of the basic mechanical themes of your set.  All five colors must be represented.  You may repeat colors and/or design colorless cards.

Set Design Pitch: Frontier

HV: This set pitch is by cfnlc.  My comments are in blue.

Set name: Frontier

Set theme: Top down western with hints towards an eldrazi invasion

Card designs:

Set Design Pitch: Sephorgia

HV: This set pitch is by Ben Nassau.  My comments are in blue.

Name: Sephorgia (the plane on which it takes place)

Core concept: The enchantment block. Finally.

Cards (all common):

Set Design Pitch: Muraganda

HV: This set pitch is by Devin Green.  My comments are in blue.

Muraganda: Time of the Dinosaurs

This is a set I've been tinkering with for some time. It began as a top-down attempt to bring Dinosaurs into Magic, and to pull slightly away from the relentless fantasy of each and every world Magic visits. Naturally no world visited by a Planeswalker could (or should) be completely devoid of mana and magic, but the magic of each world works differently. Muraganda is teeming with naturalistic magic, the magic of survival and fitness and adaptation. And, of course, Dinosaurs.

Set Design Pitch: Seas of Higaro

HV: This set pitch is by Jacob Munford.  My comments are in blue.

Set name: Seas of Higaro

Core concept: Top-down 'Brave New World' with Pirates, Conquistadors and Natives fighting over the resources of a recently discovered continent filled with dangerous monsters and treasure.

Seven Commons:

Set Design Pitch: Mondombre

HV: This set pitch is by Bradley Rose.  My comments are in blue.

What is the name of your set?


What is the core concept of your set?

Dungeons & Dragons-inspired dungeon-crawling

Submit seven designs for common cards which represent some of the basic mechanical themes of your set.  All five colors must be represented.  You may repeat colors and/or design colorless cards.