Monday, May 13, 2013

Suvnica Week 2 Review, Part 1: No Matter What it Costs (Dimir)

Last Monday's Suvnica article was a little lengthy. It was suggested that I break up the review and the challenge, so that's what I'm doing. Let's take a look at what everyone had to say about Dimir.

Zefferal's Dimir

"A guild whose end goal is the accumulation of knowledge, who will gain it through any means available and necessary. More than any other guild I've considered so far, this one wants to tell a story: The guild is built around a leader or small cabal who have foreseen some pending apocalyptic event, and are doing everything they can to survive it. Unfortunately, they know little about it and are weary that in attempting to learn more, they may inadvertently cause it. They are very selective in recruiting as a result, and have no desire to save the world as much as save themselves. They have an almost pathological obsession with gathering all information, no matter how esoteric or seemingly irrelevant, all in the hopes of finding out more about what is going to happen and what can be done about it."

Lobster667 designed some for my vision, honing in on how conspiracy paranoia can make an otherwise benign pursuit of knowledge go grimdark.

I feel like this little guy, who I will name Thblfwp, would fit in nicely with a lot of the Dimir visions that were submitted. A very slight variation on Surveilling Sprite. Unless change of control is a big thing in Suvnica, and who's to say it won't be, I think the cleaner "draw a card" would be better than specifying "its owner". Also, I misspelled tongueless when plugging this into MSE.

This is fantastic. It sets up all the right kind of combat analysis on both sides of the table, and screams "I'm going to get that information even if you have to die trying".

I changed the templating on this a little bit for clarity. This feels like it could easily be a guild champion, or even leader. I'm a little concerned about the second triggered ability - it seems a little (a lot) broken. It would probably need to be limited to discard caused by your opponents to prevent too many shenanigans. Here's another typo: I would not recommend discarding cars, even if your opponent has an effect telling you to.

Jay Treat's Dimir

"The Rimid value knowledge above all else, and have no qualms killing for it. As knowledge is power, they covet what they learn and will not share it for anything less than even more knowledge. They insist not only on knowing more than anyone else, but on knowing everything anyone else knows, and regularly raid, torture and kill Tezzi, Cimis and Suiroza guild members to stay ahead in the information race. 
Mechanically, this guild wants to draw cards, filter/tutor for specific threats/answer, and cause the opponent to discard cards. We can't put pure card advantage on a lot of cards in one guild, so we need to temper that with conditionals and with triggers that reward you for sticking to the plan."
Nice vision. I feel like a lot of the Dimir visions lean towards a manic obsession with collection of knowledge. I gave mine a small backstory to explain their mania, but it's not necessary. Sometimes the pursuit of knowledge just feels like it justifies any means.

Jay Treat's Cards:

Jay did his own black Gifts Ungiven, which is definitely cleaner than mine. Once we're breaking the tight cycle-ness by adding 1 to the mana cost, I would say that a tutor like this should be 3BB instead.

Don't like the aura version at all. Too much weird tension, and while the flavor of it indicates it should be a single creature, the actual mechanic is completely irrelevant to the creature it's on. If it was less complex, it would be one thing, but this just isn't working.

This is better. It should probably be rare and can use a little clarification, but definitely hits the flavor.

A very nice twist on Underworld Dreams. Great Dimir design.

Nice and straightforward common. I'm not 100% sure what aspect of the flavor Jay was trying to hit at here, but definitely feels UB at the very least.

Jay was trying for a very top down design here, but this is not nearly as fun a card as it looks. Repeat search and shuffling is problematic when it's just one deck, but every time this guy hits, you're looking through two entire libraries, having to consider a number of different permutations based on the choice of cards, then shuffle both libraries. If this process happens once on an Instant or Sorcery it can mean five minutes where your opponent is just sitting on their thumbs waiting for you to figure out your best move. There's all sorts of tweaks that would make this more fun — make it a sorcery, or have the initial exiled card come from your opponent's graveyard, etc....

I definitely want to see the mechanical space that this guy would play in. Is Rimid looking for a hellbent mechanic? Are they going to be playing Delirium Skeins? Also, I'm a sucker for weird creature type pairings (ten guesses what my favorite Ravnica guild is).

lpaulsen's Dimir

"New Dimir don't need any outside motivation: they consider knowledge itself (but not necessarily wisdom!) to be the most valuable thing there is, and are particularly obsessed with understanding the forbidden secrets of life, death, and existence. They are so consumed by their desire for knowledge that they are willing to do anything, however foul, to get it. Mechanically this means that the Dimir focus on getting card advantage, especially with Sign in Blood-type effects."
So far all of the Dimir reimaginings have stayed in pretty much the same place: knowledge no matter what it costs. lpaulsen does distinguish his vision a little by defining the types of knowledge they're after — life, death, and existence. This paints them as a guild that desperately wants the power of gods and seeks the knowledge to make that dream a reality.

Here are his designs:

I'm not sure whether this card is over or underpowered, but it's definitely the kind of card I would have fun building a casual deck around.

This is a fantastic design. Elegant and novel, it tells us the story of the guild right up front — a guild so obsessed with mining the secrets of death that they send one of their own to the afterlife on reconnaissance. Awesome.

Another puzzle for Johnnies to figure out. I feel like once this is already a Dimir example, you might as well put it as a hybrid or gold card, since the ability feels both blue and black.

The problem I have with this card is that if it was +1/+1 it would be a natural fit in all sorts of fun decks, but with +0/+1 it's little more than limited fodder.

Slightly worse Phyrexian Rager, but definitely a playable common in limited, and very NWO friendly.

Jules' Dimir

"...the ultimate embodiment of black means achieving blue ends is torture. [The] Rimid are trying to assemble all knowledge so that they can finally predict how the rest of history will unfold. Unfortunately, organizations like militaries and private companies doing research aren't looking to divulge information. Nor are people having affairs, or lying about gambling debts, or..."
 All the other Dimir visions felt like they were driven by something, but didn't necessarily revel in the doing whatever it takes that they did. This one does. It feels a lot more black-driven than other visions, where the gathering of knowledge is important, but so is the means by which they do it. A very nice distinction.

Jules' cards:

Nice preprint.

Very nice mirror to Seeds of Strength. That said, I'm not the biggest fan of targeted card draw, especially at common.

Clean and simple. I'm very surprised we haven't seen a version of this card printed already. This might be too powerful at its current numbers and/or rarity, but the idea is perfect for a gold card.

I'm not sure why, but this guy feels much more black than blue. Maybe it's the name or flavor text. The ability is fine in Blue, but still.

That's it for Dimir review. I'll post the Boros review a little later today, and then the next design challenge.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Private Investigator's terrible on so many levels.