Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Card Ideas for You Make the Card 4

WotC's community card design project, You Make the Card 4, is now in the stage of accepting the actual card text ideas. I can't submit any cards because this stage of the process is limited to residents of the United States and Canada. But here's some ideas of what I might have submitted. Any critique would be welcome.

I kind of like cards that let you reanimate things.

At the beginning of your upkeep, put target creature card from your graveyard onto the battlefield, tapped, and lose life equal to its power.

A callback to Bitterblossom. Maybe the returned creature should turn into a Black Zombie.

Stealing Spells
I love cards that allow you to cast opponents' spells.

Whenever an opponent discards a card, exile it. You may play cards exiled with Stolen Spellbooks as if they were in your hand.

This is kind of similar to Fiend of the Shadows and Nightveil Specter mechanically, but different in terms of deck building. This would be fun with effects like Reforge the Soul and Whispering Madness.

When I Own Your Hand enters the battlefield, target opponent exiles X cards from hand. You may play cards exiled with I Own Your Hand as if they were in your hand. (Pay mana as usual.)

I don't want this to be too general of a tool (because then it would have to be toned down in power level). This one, like the Stolen Spellbooks above, requires that you build your deck around it, making sure that you have access to other colors of mana. Maybe the cost should be {X}{1}{B}{B} or something to be easier to cast since you would need a multicolor mana base.

Whenever you cast a spell from your hand, search target opponent’s library for a card with equal converted mana cost and exile that card. That player shuffles his or her library. Until end of turn, you may cast the exiled card as if it were in your hand. (Pay mana as usual.)

Tutoring for a card in an opponent's deck could be fun. If you can't cast it, at least you're Extracting a card from an opponent's deck. Maybe it should allow you to cast that card for free, or maybe you should be allowed to cast the exiled card on a later turn. The cost of the enchantment would have to be increased by a lot, though.

Skip your draw step. You may play cards in opponents’ graveyards as if they were in your hand. You may spend black mana as if it were mana of any color. Whenever a card would be put into an opponent’s graveyard, exile it instead.

A kind of Yawgmoth's Agenda except it's using the opponent's grave. It could combine well with discard and mill. It might be fun to bounce this after you're done casting the opponent's grave. Since this requires a lot of build-around already, I made it so that it doesn't require you to have mana sources of every color.

Combining Creatures
I seriously love cards that allow you to merge creatures.

2BB: Exile three creature cards from a single graveyard. Put a black X/X Zombie token onto the battlefield, where X is the combined power of the exiled creature cards. It has all keyworded abilities of the exiled cards.

This barely fits into the 300-character limit. To make it fit, it has some weird limitations, exiling only Black creatures and mentioning only keywords that appear in Black. It's not a good solution, and it would probably would be easier to mentally process if it actually listed every keyword ability even if the text got longer. Although Warp World has text longer than 300 characters, Frankenstein Maker probably isn't right for this project.

Overall, I didn't hit on any kind of effect or card text that's completely new. But I feel that each of these would be super fun to play.


  1. I love Stolen Spellbooks. Stealing from your opponent is such a Black way to 'draw' cards, and the fact that it interacts so well with all of Black's discard is a major plus. I could see it being frustrating to play against at too low of a cost though.

    1. Thanks. I thought it would be ok to cost {1}{B} because Stolen Spellbooks->Mind Rot requires two turns of not doing anything on the board. But maybe it should cost {2}{B}.

  2. I agree that Stolen Spellbooks is the best of the bunch, though I think most of these could see print.

    As for Frankenstein Maker, I love these sorts of cards, but we really need to figure out some rules technology to cover a consistent set of cases because the textiness leads to players messing up what these actually cover.

    1. I wish it was possible to refer to all the abilities like first strike as "keyworded abilities." Those abilities could be in bold text. The rules text about copying abilities could read, "That token has all keyworded abilities of the exiled cards. (Keyworded abilities are in bold.)"

    2. Bolding keyword abilities is a great idea, and provides a nice cue to beginners that these words have specific rules meaning that can be looked up.

      How does bolding work in non-Roman scripts, like Mandarin Chinese or Japanese?

    3. Zombie Blossom is Debtors' Knell with a drawback. The drawback certainly allows the card to be more aggressively costed, but drawback mechanics are fairly disliked because they're, well, drawbacks. I think this might also just be a case where this isn't an effect that you really want to have happen early in the game, because the incremental advantage it provides is really difficult for most decks to overcome. Even with the life loss, if this comes out early the game is going to be very frustrating to win, especially because it doesn't exile creatures after the fact.

      Of the Stealing Cards, I like Stolen Spell Book the best. I'm just not sure that, again, this is really the type of card you'd want to push. Like Land Destruction, aggressive discard decks move the game to a place where one player isn't really playing. When the effect is on a creature, it has the upside that when the creature is connecting its actively advancing the game. When such a deck can rely entirely on making it's opponent discard, then playing one of it's opponent's threats it's a much more miserable experience.

      The other Stealing cards are interesting. Potential issues: I Own Your Hand is really just a sorcery, not an enchantment. I own your deck would require a TON of shuffling, literally every time you play a card. I own your graveyard is pretty fine, but the problem of there not being many lands in a graveyards leads to the inelegant solution of giving black Celestial Dawn.

      Frankenstein Maker is a neat concept, but really one that's better suited for a one shot spell or a creature. Making more than one of these really seems like overkill, and having a card that can reanimate 3 creatures a turn for 2BB is pretty crazy.

      Just some feedback, all of these show interesting space to for the YMTC to play in!

    4. @Wobbles
      To say that Zombie Blossom is a Debtor's Knell with a drawback feels very technical to me. My mind recognized Sign in Blood as a cool card with a dangerous feel, trading life for power. I don't see it as a Divination with a drawback to make it more playable or to make it Black

      In terms of power level, I think 5 mana is the right stage for this effect. Innistrad had Gutter Grime and Heretic's Punishment. While they were strong, some people called them "5-mana Do-nothing Enchantments" and didn't pick them that highly. While Zombie Blossom gives you infinite card advantage, that doesn't necessarily mean you can stay alive long enough to grind out the opponent. In a way, it gives the opponent an inevitable win condition too. The fact that you spent your whole turn 5 without affecting the board and that the reanimated creatures enter the battlefield tapped should help the opponent race you.

      You have a good point with Stolen Spell Book; discard should just hinder the opponent's strategy and shouldn't give you tools to win the game. Maybe that's why the card-stealing spells so far have been on creatures. But Stolen Spellbooks does require you to skip turn 2 and turn 3; you also need to fix your mana. Your opponent is going to go into top-deck mode and later on your discard cards are going to be dead. I think if this card is toned down to only be really good in a wacky combo deck with Reforge the Soul etc, it should be fine. At least when you're winning with it, you're going to get proactive and kill the opponent, rather than sit back and keep negating the opponent's cards.

      I Own Your Hand feels like a sorcery because of the X in the cost. But by being an Enchantment, the opponent has a chance to stop you from casting the stolen spells by Naturalizing it. It also keeps the exiled cards in view in a way that's easy to remember how they got exiled. I think it plays better as an Enchantment.

      It's true that I Own Your Deck causes too much shuffling. It could have been "Opponents play with the top card of their libraries revealed. You may cast those cards as if they were in your hand." or something.

      I think it is very natural that I Own Your Deck allows you to use Black Mana as mana of any color. It should only be for the stolen spells though, not the cards in your hand. I think it's ok for a card that steals spells to provide the means to cast that stolen spell, like Word of Command or Mindclaw Shaman.

      Frankenstein Maker requires three dead creatures per one creature, so I don't think it's too strong. I would compare it to Skaab Ruinator.

  3. Mordor BB (R)

    All creatures are black.

    All lands are swamps in addition to their other types.

    All creatures have B: +1/+1 until end of turn.

    1. You can put your ideas here!

      So your opponents also get swamps and shade ability? That would make combat difficult to figure out.

    2. Whoops, I thought I was on that post. Yep this is "everything is a shade". I'll try a new version over in the right place.