Friday, March 22, 2013

CCDD 032213—Heart of the Taiga

Cool Card Design of the Day
3/22/2013 - I was thinking this morning about how perfect the Sunpetal Grove cycle and the Razorverge Thicket cycles are, when it occurred to me that they are entirely bottom-up designs. Both answer the question, "What kind of restriction can we put on a dual land that will keep them very usable in the right kinds of decks?" That's an excellent question to answer, but it's all about gameplay and none about resonance. What would a dual land with a top-down restriction look like?

I failed to answer that question today, but the attempt led me to something interesting just the same:


This dual land cycle never comes into play tapped, never costs you life, and can always provide either color of mana. The only restriction happens (usually) at deck-building time. Heart of the Taiga will perfectly fix your red and green mana provided you don't sully its honor by deigning to play any other colors of mana in your deck.

This land cycle should prove cheaper on the secondary market than it's cousins, because it's useful in fewer decks. That's neither good nor bad, it's just different. Duals are often a key component of 3+ color decks, and this cycle really doesn't help there—it's specifically for two-color decks. If you ask me, two-color decks could use a little love.

12 comments:

  1. I like it. Not sure about the templating, but I like it.

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  2. Deep rules question, if you control this and, say, Underground Sea You Later, do they lose all mana abilities or can they still add colorless mana?

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    Replies
    1. My Gatherer- and Google-Fu have failed:
      What is Underground Sea You Later?

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    2. I believe he's referring to a hypothetical:

      Underground Sea You Later
      Land
      You can't add red, green, or white mana to your mana pool.
      T: Add U or B to your mana pool.

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    3. Ahhh. Of course.
      You would get no mana from anything. Ever.

      I considered making the drawback merely "If white, blue and/or black mana would be added to your mana pool, that much colorless mana is added instead" but decided that the stark version is just cleaner and safer.

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  3. What about:

    Heart of the Taiga
    Land- Mountain Forest
    Spend mana from Heart of Taiga only to cast green or red spells or activate abilities of green or red cards.

    Too good?

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    Replies
    1. I like it. Not sure about power level, that's more a development thing, but it's elegant and straightforward. I guess that I would leave off the basic types just to be on the safe side.

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    2. It's awfully good, but I'm not sure if it's too good. It's certainly an intuitive restriction, even if the wording is a bit clunky. I agree with Alex it's probably better without the basic land types, but I like it very much.

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    3. One issue is that it's actually significantly worse in two color decks because it can't cast your artifacts.

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  4. I must admit that I don't like any of these designs. What makes dual lands interesting is that there's some sort of trade-off for playing them. If the 4-of rule weren't in effect, you still wouldn't play a manabase of 24 Watery Graves (or 24 Drowned Catacombs or 24 Darkslick Shores) in a U/B deck; you'd supplement it with some basic lands. But you'd almost certainly play 24 Underground Sea You Laters, and that makes me sad, because it's an uninteresting deckbuilding decision.

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    Replies
    1. There's no in-game tradeoff, but I do like the deckbuilding tradeoff that restricts you to two colors. That said, it's a very blunt tradeoff, as you would never play these in anything but a two-color deck. I wonder if printing good colorless lands is a better way to reward monocolor and two-color decks.

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