Tuesday, March 12, 2013

CCDD 031213—Jury-Rig

Cool Card Design of the Day
3/12/2013 - The idea of having various parts cards that may or may not be in your actual deck but can be combined to build something larger is the newest exciting idea for Ekkremes. I definitely want to explore that, but first I have to share a set of cards that offer a more traditional approach to basically the same end.


You can jury-rig any number of artifacts together and you get more and more effects as you do. You can activate them by attacking with a jury-rigged artifact creature or you can go a more combo route by tapping non-creature artifacts like Goblin Widget.

Jury-Rig won't blow any minds—it's almost identical to equipment—but it does open up some exciting possibilities. What do you think?


  1. I think it's a neat mechanic as an interesting riff on equipment. There's definitely a lot of possibilities.

    Can you jury-rig things together in a chain and build a Rube Goldberg-style monstrosity slowly that eventually connects to a dude or a tapping artifact, or does each one have to be jury-rigged to the thing that is tapping?

    I would recommend staying away from something like Goblin Widget (too obvious) and go with cheap artifacts that have tap abilities with minimal effects, like Darksteel Pendant.

  2. these are awesome.


    also you inspired me:

    Goblin X-Welder R
    Creature - Rigger
    T: Assemble a contraption (to assemble a contraption, you may attach two non-creature artifact cards to each other. They remain attached for as long as you control both of them, and are considered to be one card, sharing all abilities of both individual cards)

    example of gameplay:

    I control two Goblin X-Welders, Angelic Armaments, Acorn Catapult, and Argentum Armor. I tap Goblin X-welder, and assemble a contraption, by combining the armor and armaments into one "card". I then tap my second X-welder, to attach the Catapult to the equipment. I then play a Raging goblin, and a bone saw. I cast twiddle on my X-welder, untapping it. I tap the welder, and attach Bone saw to the contraption. that gives me:

    a 1/1 goblin with haste, and an artifact "card" that has the following abilities:

    Equpped creature gets +1/+0
    Equip: 1
    Equipped creature gets +2/+2, has flying, and is a white Angel in addition to its other colors and types.
    Equip: 4
    Equipped creature gets +6/+6.
    Whenever equipped creature attacks, destroy target permanent.
    Equip: 6
    1, {T}: Acorn Catapult deals 1 damage to target creature or player. That creature's controller or that player puts a 1/1 green Squirrel creature token onto the battlefield.

    So i pay 1, and Equip this massive armor (since it has equip 1, 4, and 6) to my 1/1 haste. (basically i created a massive armor war machine of death and my 1/1 jumped inside to pilot.

    I swing with a 10/9 flying red and white goblin angel with flying, and i destroy a permanent. then i tap my acorn launcher attached to the shoulder, to deal 1 to the goblin so that my battlesuit generates a squirrel.

    I think that ekkremes could look into this, because its similar to "battlecruiser" feel, but would not need as large mana constraints (assembling the contraptions allows you to bypass large "equip" costs if done properly. so the gameplay could be decks of artifacts and welders etc constructing "build your own" battle suits to wear and fight in. (AS LONG AS THE RULES CAN SUPPORT THIS)

    1. and this works with steamflogger boss, because when a goblin X-welder is tapped to assemble a contraption (i.e. connect two artifacts) he would assemble two contraptions instead (i.e. connect two artifacts, then connect two artifacts)

    2. Doesn't the ring for steamflogger boss say that contraption is a card type?

      Also, assembling two equipment together and paying the cheaper equip cost sounds like a reason not to do it to way to me.

    3. *ruling
      *not to do it that way

  3. This is the exact conversation Wobbles and I were having yesterday on Twitter: he remains skeptical that Assemble would work. The more we talk the more inclined I am to agree. It's not worth trashing ideas to make Steamflogget Boss work.

    It's like Fetch. We should stop.

    For argument's sake: the card we talked about.

    Assembly Goblin - 1R
    Creature - Rigger Goblin
    When ~ ETB, assemble a contraption. (Attach one artifact to another, then activate both without paying their activation costs.)

    1. Im not convinced its impossible, but for the sake of ekkremes design, i see no problem moving away from the idea of riggers *sigh / tear rolls down cheek* haha

    2. Right, any version that attaches things to other things is going to look more like Kor Outfitter.

      Assembly Goblin 1R
      Creature- Rigger Goblin
      When Assembly Goblin enters the battlefield, you may assemble target Contraption you control to target artifact you control.

      And it just runs into problems when you mix that ability with Steamflogger Boss, because the Boss doesn't use Assemble is a way that makes sense with targets.

  4. I like Jury-Rig! It was an idea explored with Fortifications in Future Sight, but having Equipment that can attach to other things is a neat idea.

    That said, I'm not sure about having all of these tapping shenanigans be tied up with it. Like:

    Darksteel Plating 3
    Jury-Rigged artifact is indestructible.
    Jury-Rig 2

    Seems like a fine card.


    Sol Machine 0
    Whenever jury-rigged artifact activates, you may tap Sol Machine to add 2 mana to your mana pool.
    Jury-Rig 1

    1. Agreed. I'm not married to the "when tapped" trigger.

    2. I like the implementation here. I think it loses some emotional impact, but we can be pretty sure it works. I'd make it a fallback if we can't figure out how to combine cards.
      That said, I think we HAVE to take Wobbles' approach (or a new one) if we're doing Jury-Rig because a lot of players will assume that Jay's version allows the artifact to tap itself.
      Perhaps "Whenever an artifact ~ is attached to becomes tapped, you may tap ~. If you do, DO X."

    3. Poster's regret. I immediately came up with a cleaner solution.

      {T}: DO X. Activate this ability only if ~ is attached to a tapped artifact.

      This way we don't have to deal with millions of triggers, but players can still just turn everything sideways. On the downside, now the effects won't often all happen at once, so there's some added board complexity.

    4. I think "Whenever jury-rigged artifact becomes tapped, DO X" would be the simplest way to go. The only reason I added my twist was because there are so many artifacts that don't tap to do their thing.

      I would like to just do "Whenever jury-rigged artifact taps or activates, DO X", but that does limit the design space to mechanics that aren't broken when activated repeatedly. Most abilities are probably fine, but something like Sol Machine would be SUPER broken.

    5. That implementation is cleaner, but it begs the question: "what does it matter what you attach it to?"

      Also, what is a common jury-rig card that a player can look at without having seen any other cards from the set and immediately understand how to use it well?

      I want to see the jury-rig equivalents of cards like these: http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Search/Default.aspx?action=advanced&set=|[%22Mirrodin%22]&subtype=+[%22Equipment%22]&rarity=|[C]

    6. Spring-Loaded Machine 1
      Artifact—Machine (cmn)
      T: Untap jury-rigged artifact.
      Jury-Rig 3

      Forcefield Machine 4
      Artifact—Machine (cmn)
      Jury-rigged artifact has hexproof.
      Jury-Rig 1

      Pellet Machine 2
      Artifact—Machine (cmn)
      Jury-Rigged Artifact has "T: This artifact deals 1 damage to target c/p."
      Jury-Rig 4

      Animation Machine 2
      Artifact—Machine (unc)
      Jury-rigged artifact is a 5/3 creature in addition to its other types.
      Jury-Rig 3

    7. These are awesome! I would make Pellet Machine uncommon, as repeatable creature damage shouldn't be common, even if it's expensive. Look at Heavy Arbalest and Wolfhunter's Quiver.

    8. I like these, except for pellet machine. I think these really want to be add ons to the original device, not override the original device.

      Machine Gun 2
      Whenever rigged artifact is activated or tapped, you may pay 1. If you do, Machine Gun deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
      Jury-Rig 4 (4: Attach Machine Gun to a non-machine artifact you control. Jury-rig only as a sorcery.)

      The wording on the ability is a little strained, but it's the best way I can think of to use this on both Artifact Creatures, while also being a Johnny combo with non-tapping artifacts.

    9. In the 4 cards Jay just listed, there's one card that has a tap ability and another card that gives the equipped artifact a tap ability. I feel like this is a case of "one or the other, but not both." (I'm leaning towards giving the artifact itself an ability, since Maro has said that auras that tap are hard to track on the board, and I feel like that applies here too.)

  5. For Ekkremes, here's something to think about:

    In limited play (the place where common equipment really matters), common equipment matters because you run a lot of creatures in limited. The only way that jury-rig can provide much of interesting play for limited is if players are expected to run a lot of artifacts. Because players probably won't want to raise the number of noncreature spells much higher than 7 or so, this means that in order for jury-rig to work, there will have to be lots of artifact creatures.

    So if we have a set with a high number of artifact creatures, why not just have a subtheme of "CARDNAME can only be equipped to an artifact creature"? It would carry all the flavor of having machine modifications without introducing new rules. Might be a more elegant approach.

    1. While I think we can agree Ekkremes most likely wants lots of artifact creatures regardless, I would argue that many players will be happy to run a deck with a whole lot of non-creature artifacts provided that doing so is strong and very synergistic. How interactive that deck is, on the other hand, is a good reason to push for more artifact creatures (without tap abilities) than non-combatant artifacts.

    2. A cheap way to get that effect is simply to have a number of normally non-creature tapping artifacts simply be creatures with haste.
      Cards like:

      Happy Robot 1
      Creature - Construct Worker
      T: Gain 1 life

      Basically implementing them as creatures (even small ones) makes them more interactive and easier to kill. Though it does feel a bit like cheating, a few of these might help an glut on tapping artifacts. Attacking to tap artifact creatures should create interesting gameplay, but it is a little unintuitive. Adding a few creatures with tap abilities might help bridge the transition.

    3. If we use the transform and combine mechanic I posted in a previous thread, there could be more "half" artifact creatures/normal artifacts. Two normal artifacts combine into a mecha.

    4. I Definitely want to try DFCs for Ankh-Theb. Whether it's for artifacts that break down into reusable parts, machines that can be built or contraptions that can be assembled together (and IF that works, it will absolutely be the star mechanic that sells the set).

  6. Yeah, this is awesome. The FLAVOR man, dat flavor. I've never felt such a raw amount of tinkering going on in a set of cards. I imagine a deck centered around jury rig would feel a lot like being inside the brain of that mad scientist the patrician keeps holed up in pratchets discworld.

  7. Ooh, looks like I missed this when it first came around. Just saw it linked from Jules's Tesla Index.

    I've playtested a mechanic very similar to this, Connect: example card, playtest Connectors deck near the bottom here, playtest discussion.

    It turned out to be the most problematic of the mechanics in my steampunk set. The big problem is that, if you're attaching things to artifact creatures it's just a restricted form of equipment, and if you're attaching things to noncreature artifacts it becomes really quite hard to interact with. If a deck is packing 4-8 maindeck artifact removal spells then it becomes whether they drew enough answers, and if it isn't then you just spin your wheels doing your thing.

    That said, I had a go at redesigning some of the Connector cards based on these discoveries, but never got around to doing another playtest with the changed cards. It's possible it can be made to work, and I hope so.

  8. One major problem with this whole jury-rig idea.
    Basalt Monolith. 3 mana artifact, T: add 3 to mana pool, 3: Untap. Jury rig anything to it and you activate its on tap ability as many times as you want.