Thursday, March 21, 2013

CCDD 032113—A Whack on the Side of the Head

Cool Card Design of the Day
3/21/2013 - I was thinking how black is the only color that gets discard, and wondered how other colors could do it. I remembered how red often discards in order to draw, ala Goblin Lore. What if it could do that offensively? I set out to make a card like that and this is the result:


I ended up making the number 7 because it needed to be large enough to reliably make an impact and because it calls back to Wheel of Fortune, which looks very similar but plays quite differently. You can use this offensively to really mess with a player's hand without actually causing their hand size to change. You can also use it on yourself pretty much the same way you would Goblin Lore. The flavor is equal parts creativity and insanity, hence the name, art and flavor text.

I set out to make a red discard spell (and while it uses the term 'discard' it's really just hand disruption without card advantage) and ended up making a red mill spell. Is Whack pushing the color pie too hard? What do you think?

17 comments:

  1. I think it's interesting space to explore for red. Also, red's already gotten this mechanic in Burning Inquiry in M10 though that hit every player. I think it'd be perfectly valid as a targeted spell though.

    It would also give red/blue some more crossover.

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  2. I'd be cautious. Random discard leads to occasionally miserable games.

    Imagine playing this on your opponent off an elf? Some times it does nothing, other times it just wins you the game?

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  3. Is this in-pie? Yes. Is it fun? Well, I haven't played with it, but my gut says "no."

    Regular discard spells (e.g. Mind Rot) get rid of your opponent's worst cards. Targeted discard (e.g. Duress, etc.) get rid of your opponent's best cards. With random discard, assuming you're playing against someone with a decent poker face and you don't know their deck, you don't even know how much good this spell did. It's a complete mystery. So you cast it, and you see 7 cards go into your opponent's graveyard, and you don't know which of those were in their hand to begin with...and then what? Should you be happy that you cast it? Disappointed? Was it a great play, or a mistake that cost you the game? Who knows.

    You could throw it at yourself, but Tibalt's +1 isn't worth a card even when you get to use it 7 times in a row.

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    Replies
    1. Good point, it's hard to get satisfaction from randomizing the opponents' hand when you don't know if it got better or worse.

      I wish this was a catrip, especially for randomizing your own hand. In fact, I've made a cantrip version of this with a smaller draw/discard size in my own files. It had the same name.

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    2. If Brainstorm was a sorcery that cost R, but the cards that went on top of your library were random, would you play it? I might.

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    3. Awesome, Chah.

      A Whack on the Side of the Head isn't at all for Timmy. It's for Johnny to find uses they can always feel good about (like a zany grixis mill deck) or for Spike who can be happy with non-measurable results that are statistically favorable, or to sideboard against slow combo decks.

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  4. I always thought Vendilion Clique's ability felt red, I assume I'm in the minority.

    Imagine for a second that Vendilion Clique didn't exist, and instead there was a red sorcery that called Gobsmack or something that Clique'd people instead. Telepathy is the hard part here, it's an exclusively blue ability. Maybe it could reach out, and red often gets tactically weakened versions of blue effects, so seeing an opponents hand might be okay. From there I think most people agree that the idea of hitting someone so hard they forget what they were planning is very Red, and it gives Red something to do outside the battlefield, which is something the color needs.

    Considering Clique is not only one of the best, but also most beloved blue creatures of all time it would be pretty impossible to colorshift it's ability, but perhaps an Izzet card could help bridge the gap. Am I totally mad?

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    1. I don't think you're mad. This looks reasonable to me:

      Gobsmack R
      Instant
      Look at target player's hand. You may choose a nonland card from it. If you do, that player reveals the chosen card, puts it on the bottom of his or her library, then draws a card.

      You're right that looking at hands isn't very red, but there's nothing anti-red about it, philosophically. Considering how marginal this effect is, I don't see Gobsmack causing too much trouble for Magic as a game.

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  5. Just get rid of the card selection/telepathy ability:

    Gobsmack R
    Sorcery
    Target player may discard a nonland card. If they do, they draw a card. If they don't, they discard a card at random.

    That makes it feel more like red looting.

    Or:

    Mind Swot 1R
    Instant
    Each player takes 2 damage, then discards a card and draws a card.

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    1. So they get to discard their worst spell and replace it? I can't imagine a single case where they choose to discard at random instead.

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    2. I think there might be an unwritten rule somewhere in the flawed part of the color pie that tells us 'Don't give red value!'

      The only time people seem comfortable breaking this rule is when red is blowing things up!

      Gobsmack2 1RR
      Instant (Sorcery?)
      ~ deals 3 damage to target player. Look at target player's hand. You may choose a nonland card from it. If you do, that player reveals the chosen card, puts it on the bottom of his or her library, then draws a card.

      Or

      Gobshrapnel 2RR
      Sorcery
      ~ deals 2 damage to each creature. Look at target player's hand. You may choose a nonland card from it. If you do, that player reveals the chosen card, puts it on the bottom of his or her library, then draws a card.

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    3. Bonus points if the art is someone hitting a Blue Mage with an actual goblin.

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  6. In the right format, this is a crazy graveyard enabler.

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  7. This card pays into the wheel of fortune side of red's color pie and can be worth the hail mary. Using it on yourself with 3 bad cards should slightly improve your hand, hitting it on your opponent when their late in the game and holding onto a couple of bombs their a turn away from casting could be devastating. I'd personally up the rarity and cut down the mana cost.

    The real test though is this, if I got all lands save AWotSotH in my opening hand, what mana cost would make this hand a keeper?

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    Replies
    1. I was tempted to go to rare, but I figured this isn't nearly as good as Wheel of Fortune and didn't deserve to be rare. The narrow-ness of it might justify it though.

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