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.

(Click the card to see it full-size.)


This card is about as simple as you can get and yet it has 6 lines of rules text. That limits what we can do with this keyword and also means it better be awesome to play with to justify the text. (Which seems unlikely.)


This card shows that both versions of the mechanic work with X spells. I worked on several versions where you paid mana to bury the spell and then could cast it for free when it came back to the top. Those versions didn't work with the X spell.




I also had to check to see if the keyword worked on creatures. Version A does and if you've been favoring B up until now, this is a limitation that may change your mind.


There was a work-around for the creature problem, but other permanents aren't so easy to duplicate. This card is awesome in version A* but doesn't work at all in version B.
*Actually, this version requires you to remember what X was and that's not really an option like it was in another iteration where you paid the mana balance up front. Still, it could be Bury 6 or something.

While it's a neat idea, and arguably an improvement over Suspend's implementation (provided the Rules Manager can handle face-up cards in the library) the text is quite long which makes it hard to justify at common. You could arguably go the Proliferate route and just stick it on a couple commons, then spam it at uncommon, but I don't know. I'm skeptical it's worthwhile.

30 comments:

  1. I bury a card, then an effect causes me to shuffle my library. What happens now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of the cards in your library is face-up. When it's on top again, you can cast it.

      Delete
    2. I'm supposed to randomize my library, and have my opponent cut it after I've shuffled, with one of the cards clearly marked?

      Delete
  2. The rules could be changed to take into account face up cards in your library. But it would be very complicated.

    I like it, but the rules manager would kill you! Also mill would get a power up this way. Sirens could fit the role.

    Other cards that could be a bit broken: http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Search/Default.aspx?output=standard&text=+%5B%22play+with+the+top+card+of+your+library+revealed%22%5D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mill would be a required companion to bury.

      Delete
    2. One solution could be to exile it face up and then exile the top so many cards of your library on top of it. Include the text that whenever you would draw a card from your library you could draw a face down exiled card instead, and when last card is drawn you can gain the benefit.

      Obviously this wordier and slightly more complicated but it down get round the shuffle/scry problem.

      Delete
    3. The rules would have to specify whether "putting/returning" a card in the deck cares about the original position of that card in the deck or if that action always result in the card being placed face-down.

      Personally I'm fine with a general ruling (oddly enough, there is nothing to that explicit effect in the rules, it's simply implied), probably 400.2a, that says card "put" or "returned" into a hidden zone do so face down even if they were revealed in that zone prior to the effect putting them there, unless that effect (or another effect, like Magus of the Future) explicitly allows them to stay so.

      Delete
    4. I think the natural interpretation is that scry puts the card back the way it had been facing when you picked it up, since it doesn't say otherwise. I don't think that would break with bury. That said, you could make/clarify a rule that explicitly turns such cards face-down or add it to the already lengthy rules text of bury.

      Delete
    5. I'm not sure I entirely. If that were the case, shouldn't scry interact with Future Sigt effects by allowing the card to be put in the deck face up?

      Delete
    6. Future Sight cause the top of your deck to be face-up, not a specific card. Bury causes a specific card to be face-up. Certainly debatable.

      Delete
  3. I like the flavor of this, but I'm trying to see where the gameplay is that you couldn't get from Suspend. The core gameplay here is "let's cast this spell later at a discount in mana cost," which is pretty much the design niche of Suspend. (And that was a mechanic that was likely far too complicated for NWO.)

    It definitely synergizes well with library manipulation effects (like Scry) but at the cost of added complexity and feel-bad moments (suddenly cards like Burning Inquiry can really hose your opponent.) I'm also wondering how bury (particularly Bury X) interacts with Future Sight (the card, not the set.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It doesn't require counters, exile or auto-haste like Suspend does. So provided that putting a card face-up in your library passes muster (and that's a big 'if'), it's much simpler.

      The core idea is putting the card face-up into your library. Whether you pay for it when it you put it there, or after it comes back determines whether players liken it to Suspend or Miracle, which is inevitable. I went this way because it felt the newest.

      Future Sight doesn't not work with it, but it does require you to remember whether the card was buried or not which is rarely a reasonable option. If we go the Suspend-ier route (pay U to bury ~. Cast it for free when it's on top) then it works seemlessly.

      Another solution definitely worth considering is to remove the on top clause from the keyword such that bury just puts the card face-up into your library. Then, each card would have its own ability that makes it relevant. Some would have "You may cast this from the top of your library for up to 3 less." Some would have "You may cast this from the top of your library. When you do, copy it." In any case, they would all be compatible with Future Sight.

      Delete
  4. The text could be a bit shorter, by using the cycling style.
    Bury 3 - B (Put this card from your hand into your library three cards from the top, face up: This card can be cast from the top of your library for B.) But it may still need a clause about shuffling, like Alex points out.

    The Ocean/Pirate world we're working on could definitely use some kind of mechanic for representing treasure, and so does the D&D-inspired Mechanics world. I'm sure R&D would at least explore crazy ideas like these and that some spinoff mechanic might be found from it.

    But while this mechanic does read like it's buried, I'm not sure the game play around it captures the feel of going on a treasure hunt, or the surprise factor of opening a treasure chest. It feels more like stashing something for the future, a cache.

    It might fit more perfectly with some other flavor for some set, for example a set mechanic about prophecies. Maybe there's some Demons and Angels that are prophecied to come to this world. Maybe their activated abilities can be activated from the library while they're face up.

    Prophecied Demon 3BBB
    Creature - Demon
    5/5
    Flying
    1B, Pay 2 life: Draw a card.
    Prophecy 3 - 2B (2B: Put this card from your hand into your library three cards from the top. Until your library is shuffled, it remains face up and its activated abilities may be activated.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. argh, the Prophecied Demon above should really put itself into play after it reaches the top, so that you can't keep "suspending" it into your deck forever. But then the text would be too long.

      Delete
    2. While I like this card in a vacuum, I doubt the activated ability part will improve enough designs to be worthwhile. I'd rather just use it as a suspend mechanic and have a cycle of rares with abilities that specify that they can be activated when the card is revealed from your library.

      As a side note, I suspect part of Suspend's ungrokkability was due to the use of two different numbers in the keyword, so I'd just as soon find a way to link the two. Unfortunately the number can't just be a colorless casting cost because then any deck can grab these spells, so I went with Jay's cost reduction approach.

      Tall Tale 3UU
      Creature-Illusion (R)
      4/4
      Flying
      Prophecy 3 (Put this card from your hand into your library three cards from the top: Until your library is shuffled it remains face up, and if you would draw it, you may cast it for 3 less instead.)
      1, Put the bottom card of your library on top of your library: Target creature gets -1/-0 until end of turn. You may activate this ability while ~ is revealed in your library.

      Delete
    3. I originally templated bury as an activated ability, but I didn't like the fact that you cast it at the end of your opponent's turn and effectively reduce the wait by one turn. Yes, you could increase the number by 1 but then the players who don't think to do that will miss out. And your balance might be off.

      You're right that 'bury' isn't for discovering unknown treasure; I was very much going after "I'm a pirate who stole this loot and I'm burying it on a deserted isle so the navy doesn't catch me with it and I can retire on it in a couple years."

      Delete
  5. I'm not a fan of Bury. Long-Term Plans dabbled in this area, but it's super awkward. It also doesn't help that the word "Bury" already has an in game meaning.

    I'd think of:

    Bury (Put this card anywhere in your deck except the top as it resolves.)

    and

    Bury (Put this card anywhere in your deck except the top when it dies.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bury (as in destroy-can't-regenerate) hasn't existed in Oracle since ~1997.

      Delete
    2. Sure, but Wizards is never going to repurpose it.

      Delete
    3. We can't use a specific word? Well, guess the entire idea is unsalvageable! Dang.

      Delete
    4. If NAMING is the problem, surely a solution can be figured out?

      Delete
    5. Sassy Jay is far and away best Jay.

      Delete
  6. The more I think about this mechanic, the more I like it. I was wondering how repetitive the gameplay would be - how much would you need to fine-tune to make Burying an decision rather than a default - but the fact that you're effectively losing a card-draw works as a perfectly balancing drawback.

    While it should work fine with "play with the top card revealed" effects, I would say/expect shuffling effects would need to turn the card back face-down. How do you sufficiently randomize if you can track the position of one or more cards?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ultimately, the shuffle is the only thing that really threatens the viability of cards face-up in the library for exactly the reason you state. One could argue that having a face-up card in your library means that you can shuffle around it as you will and that your opponent can cut around it as she will, but that's a tough pill to swallow. You could also require players to look away from the deck as they shuffle, but that's just asking for infinite judge calls.

      Delete
    2. Would it be too much to add a rule to the game which says 'whenever a library is shuffled, first turn all cards in that deck face-down.'

      Delete
    3. If there is a rule added that turns all cards face-up in the library face-down when shuffling, then Soldier of Fortune can rejoice.

      Delete
    4. Seems like a reasonable rule.

      Delete
  7. Also, I think there might be some fun combo interactions between Shahrazad and this bury mechanic. : )

    ReplyDelete