Friday, May 24, 2013

Weekend Art Challenge 052413—Dragon's Maze fix-up

Weekend Art Challenge
Click through to see this weekend's art and the design requirements for your card submission, due Monday morning. Every submission warrants feedback, which I will try to provide, and which everyone is welcome to provide as well.

If you choose, you may use that feedback to revise your submission any number of times. I will post and review the most recent submission from each designer some time on Monday, life permitting. To help ensure I recreate your design accurately, please use CARDNAME instead of ~ and don't use the {} symbol images in your submissions.


Have you seen Bradley Rose's Daily Card Redesign? This weekend, we're all going to do that. Or something very similar

My challenge is for each of you to choose the card from Dragon's Maze that you think is the the worst designed, or does the least for the set. Remember, that's not the same thing as being the most unplayable card. Once you've identified that card (and perhaps said a little bit about why you selected it), I want you to use that art and make a new card with the same color that would serve Dragon's Maze better.

This will be a real challenge, since Dragon's Maze is such a tightly made set with generally excellent design. What you select doesn't have to be bad, just the least good.

For bonus points, ensure that the name of your new design would give the new card the same collector's number as the original; It must fall alphabetically between the card that precedes and the one that follows it.

You may keep the exact same name and/or concept, as long as the new design is demonstrably better.

113 comments:

  1. Ha! Awesome idea. I guess we all would have been redesigning Primal Visitation if we had done this for Gatecrash.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm taking the easy one (suckers).

    Emmara Tandris 2GW
    Legendary Creature—Elf Shaman (rare)
    Vigilance
    At the beginning of each upkeep step, choose target creature. If damage would be dealt to it this turn, prevent that damage and populate instead.
    3/3

    The problem with Emmara is that while her rules text fits the character, her stats are completely wrong. Mechanically, her niche is so much smaller than the other maze runners (in Limited or Constructed) that she's barely part of the cycle.

    My intention was to find a middle ground (something not too similar to Voice of Resurgance, nor so fat and expensive) that's decent on its own and even better in the right deck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honestly, 2GW and 3/3 don't sound unreasonable for the current Emmara. I like this design too though.

      Delete
    2. I'm worried dominates the battlefield too much. Your opponent can't block without giving you a free creature and often can't attack without giving you two!
      Perhaps:
      "Whenever ~ or another creature enters the battlefield under your control, prevent all damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn."
      That way nobody's locked out, but as a result you get awesome blowouts with instant speed token producers/populate.

      Delete
    3. You do have to make a token through some other means, and hope neither it nor Emmara gets Murder'd.

      Definitely strong on its own, though I'd argue no worse than Teysa. Which of course makes me realize this is basically Teysa, which makes it a poor design for this task.

      Delete

  3. Catch - 1UR
    Sorcery
    Gain control of target permanent until end of turn. Untap it. It gains haste until end of turn.
    Fuse (You may cast one or both halves of this card from your hand.)

    Release - 1WR
    Sorcery
    As an additional cost to cast Release, sacrifice a permanent.
    Release deals damage equal to the sacrificed permanent's power to target creature or player. You gain life equal to the damage dealt this way.
    Fuse (You may cast one or both halves of this card from your hand.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Should say Converted Mana Cost, not power.

      My bad.

      Delete
    2. In a vacuum this would be a much better design, but I'm not convinced it should exist in the same set as Warleader's Helix.

      Delete
    3. You realize that wording it as an additional cost doesn't allow you to Release the permanent you Caught?

      Delete
    4. Agree with Jules. Jenesis is right too.

      Delete
  4. Wake The Reflections W
    Sorcery
    Untap target token creature you control.
    Populate.

    I can't stand that this card's name is longer than it's rules text (reminder text doesn't can't towards rules text).

    Alternatively Dimir needed a good Cipher card; I'm equally tempted to redesign one, if not both of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a hard time getting behind adding insignificant rules text in a set that's already so complex. I'd fix the conundrum by shortening the name. Maybe "Whittle."

      Delete
    2. So... Murder's a bad design?

      Delete
    3. The simplest easiest solution would be to call the card Populate but it seems that wizards are past those days. While either solution could be considered the simply renaming is trivial and there's more challenge into trying to make this card better than the late pick limited fodder this has inevitably becomes. People like one or two word descriptors for cards, which effects like flicker, twiddle and even murder now in the slang of magic because of single cards. Populate already did that so why the need for the ability free populate spell.

      Don't understand what the murder issue is unless my maths is off, it seems to be a good example with when to create a card and design success.

      Delete
    4. Under most circumstances, I don't think a card's name has anything to do with its quality as a design. As I'm fond of saying, that's Creative's job.

      Delete
    5. I was thinking Murder had the same problem, but it's name is shorter than its text. I would argue the length of the name relative to the length of the rules text is pretty low on the list of reasons a design might be bad.

      I would defend Wake the Reflections as a late-pick card because that's exactly the kind of thing that linear strategies like populate require to have a chance in a format as diverse as DGR. That said, if you wanted to claim that what Selesnya really needs out of Dragon's Maze is a token producer that it can table, rather than another populate effect, I'd be all ears.

      Delete
    6. Well it's not merely the name but playing with Wake the Reflection is pretty bad in limited. The main times I picked it up is because I got a pack 1, pick 1 Advent of Wurm and built a token deck but truth be told there are very few reasons to draft this even late which is why it goes round the table. Even with cards producing good tokens this failed to hold a spot in my main deck as the tournament went on.

      My main feeling was simply throwing populate on the card is lazy design and the name is just a silly issue but perhaps creative compounding on design's mistake. My final submission is:

      Wake the Reinforcements W
      Sorcery
      Untap target creature you control.
      Populate

      The token clause was unnecessary and this card now has value even when you don't have a token on the battlefield.

      Delete
  5. Thought Doctoring U
    Sorcery (R)
    Search target player's library for a card and exile it. Then that player shuffles his or her library.
    Cipher

    ---

    Replacing Trait Doctoring, obviously. Having a text-changing effect in Dimir makes perfect sense, but attaching it to the Cipher mechanic makes no sense at all. Text-changing cards are almost always used as parts of Johnny-style combos and exploitations of specific cards to win or get a big advantage, which does not jive particularly well with the gameplay of Cipher, encouraging you to attack with evasive creatures (and the alteration doesn't even occur on your opponent's turn!). So, for our rare Cipher spell, let's go with something that is a bit more coherently part of the Dimir ethos and methodology, and has somewhat more utility in the kind of deck that wants to be Ciphering.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On MTGO I like this better, but the amount of shuffling it requires in a paper game makes me lean towards "unprintable."

      Delete
    2. Yeah, two shuffles to start and one each subsequent turn isn't ideal. Find something splashier that doesn't require shuffling?

      Delete
    3. I really like this card, especially as a callback to Rootwater Thief, but I think this is a strictly black ability now, isn't it?

      If that were fixed, I think this would be a lot of fun in limited.

      Perhaps this could do something like fateseal, which blue does? Like if it Dimir Charmed them?

      Delete
  6. This will be a fun challenge. I'll have to look through the player's guide over the weekend to see which card I'll be giving the axe to.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Trait Doctoring sucks! It's a Johnny card that I haven't really heard any Johnnies get excited about and it's a clumsy design (it changes land types but effectively doesn't interact with landwalk at all, the place where that matters most.) So let's fix it. We need a monoblue rare Johnny cipher card that fits in this block, preferably a build-around-me.

    Spell Indoctrination (rare)
    4UU
    Sorcery
    Exile target instant or sorcery card from your graveyard. Copy that card. Cast that card if able without paying its mana cost. If it doesn't have cipher, it gains cipher.
    Cipher

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure how well this fits the art, but great design!

      Delete
    2. I love the idea of giving any card cipher, but giving the card that gives any card cipher cipher scares the hell out of me.

      Delete
    3. I think my design has templating issues. Here's this:

      Spell Indoctrination (rare)
      4UU
      Sorcery
      Exile target instant or sorcery card from your graveyard. This turn, you may cast that card from exile without paying its mana cost. If it doesn't have cipher, it gains cipher.
      Cipher

      The obvious thing to do seems to be to cipher a Time Warp on an Invisible Stalker, but at 6 CMC how worried are we about brokenness? RTR block has a high level of playable graveyard hate (Deathrite Shaman, Rest in Peace, Slaughter Games, etc.) so I'm not extremely worried about degenerate combos.

      Even if we didn't give this thing cipher, if you cast Spell Indoctrination while there's a Spell Indoctrination in your graveyard you've essentially already given it cipher for free (use Spell Indoctrination to cast+cipher Spell Indoctrination, use *that* one to cast the actual spell you want to cast), so I don't think that's too much of a power concern.

      Delete
    4. "A player could Spell Indoctrination a Spell Indoctrination, so why not do it for them?"
      Why make them play the game at all? I take great issue with that rationalization.

      Delete
    5. It's a rationalization of power level more so than of gameplay. I think resurrecting a spell each turn is fun enough that I want players to be able to do that without having to jump through extra hoops.

      Delete
    6. To clarify: if this card is broken, removing cipher won't fix its brokenness.

      Delete
  8. Maze Striker 5R
    Creature — Elemental
    Haste
    Multicolored creatures you control have haste.
    5/3

    Maze Rusher is the only creature of the cycle that really only affects creatures that come into play after it, not before. I think this makes the cycle feel more focused and allows for better gameplay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maze Striker 5R
      Creature — Elemental
      First strike
      Multicolored creatures you control have first strike.
      5/3

      I should change the text before I submit, hahaha.

      Delete
    2. I'm a little bit worried by how hard this makes it for your opponent to ever attack again, but I agree with the impetus.

      Delete
    3. Agreed on both counts. 5 is a LOT of first strike for a common.

      Delete
    4. Valid points, it looks like it's been done before but not too often, and even then it's usually conditionally.

      Let's go with 3/2 to be safe if it's not too late to change it.

      Delete
  9. Redesign of: Mindstatic

    Stymie the Violent (Common)
    3U
    Instant
    Choose one or more: counter target non-creature spell; and/or detain target creature.

    This makes the spell a real "soft counter" and makes it somewhat more playable. Feedback welcome and appreciated. In particular, I'm still looking for an appropriate name (somewhere between "Maze" and "Murmur" alphabetically).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This card is cool, but also a complex common. DGM already had complexity up the wazoo, so Mindstatic is doing valuable work by being straightforward.

      Delete
    2. Would it help to just require both modes?

      Mindfreeze Bolt (Common)
      3U
      Instant
      Counter target non-creature spell.
      Detain target creature.

      Delete
    3. Yeah, that certainly makes it easier to figure out what to do with it, and it's not all that likely that countering will be impossible because there's nothing to detain. I did remember another issue though: there's only one common and one rare with each guild mechanic, so this couldn't go in without cutting Lyev Decree, which (as I understand it) falls outside of the purview of this exercise.

      Delete
    4. Why is one target a creature and the other not?

      Delete
    5. Keep in mind that using detain here throws off the numbers for the guild mechanics' usage in DGM.

      Delete
    6. Yes, I understand about the numbers. Personally I was hoping that DGM would have 3 cards with each guild mechanic (1 in each color and 1 multicolored). But I realize that that would eat up a lot of space.

      As for the targeting restrictions: As I understand it, unconditional countering always requires {U}{U} (or {U}{B}), and detain effects on monocolored cards target creatures only.

      Delete
    7. Surely we easily assume that adding a card with detain meant Lyev Decree was changed to not be a detain card for the sake of the challenge.

      This card could be friendlier to the caster if the detain was optional perhaps:

      Mindfreeze Bolt (Common)
      3U
      Instant
      Counter target non-creature spell.
      Detain up to one target creature.

      The counterspell element is still forced but now I don't have to detain my own Towering Indrik if they try to put an Holy Mantle on their Ascended Lawmage.

      Delete
    8. Might as well make both of them 'up to' if any.

      Anyone else think this would make more sense if it didn't have "non-"?

      Delete
  10. Looking through the cards I was shocked at how many fewer cards I took issue with in DGM than the average set. The worst offenders are Emmara Tandris for disappointing Selesnya players looking for a champion and the cards with the harshest restriction on them:
    Hidden Strings (for which there's not much hope) and some of the uncommon Fuse spells. Down//Dirty, Profit//Loss, and Protect//Serve fail to deliver on the "wouldn't it be AWESOME if I fused that?" feeling that the other spells evoke (so does Wear//Tear, but at least it's poetic enough to still feel cool. Let's see if I can do any better:

    Protect 1W
    Instant
    Target creature gets +0/+6 until end of turn.
    /Fuse/
    Serve U
    Instant
    Switch target creature's power and toughness until end of turn. (Apply other changes to power and toughness first.)

    This requires more rules knowledge than I'm comfortable expecting, and there isn't really room for reminder text on Serve...

    Cruel 1B
    Sorcery
    Each player discards two cards.
    /Fuse/
    Unusual 2G
    Sorcery
    Return a card from your graveyard to your hand.

    A slight tweak on Down//Dirty. While it's worse to Fuse, the players would never see Down//Dirty and it FEELS better. That said, I'm not confident that it's worth having weird templating a la Breaking//Entering on an uncommon. I am confident that this is a better name (and fits in the same place for set numbering).

    Let's give this another shot:

    Now W
    Instant
    Tap target creature.
    /Fuse/
    Forever 3B
    Instant
    Destroy target creature if it’s tapped.

    Fairly clean, synergistic, and "Profit and Loss" is nowhere near as common a phrase. The art even fits better! Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if Profit//Loss was actually changed from Now//Forever in development! As for why, maybe it's too similar to Turn//Burn, but I'm submitting it anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think this version of protect and serve works without the reminder text, particularly with fluxcharger in the same set.

      Otherwise really neat designs and some solid fuse cards.

      Delete
    2. I like new Protect & Serve except for the name.

      Cruel & Unusual fused is just depressing.

      Now & Forever is lovely.

      Delete
    3. I have to disagree that Profit // Loss isn't awesome if you Fuse it. The two halves have pretty nice synergy.

      I'm not sure I like the U/W getting its own Scorchwalker, but I love the idea of your Protect// Serve.

      My one criticism is that I want both sides of the card to be playable on their own, and no one is playing +0/+6. I might prefer leaving protect as +2/+4 or making it +1/+5 instead of +0/+6. That way you can use it on the same creature, or get a two for one by mucking with combat in a really unexpected way.

      Delete
    4. While I wouldn't look to put +0/+6 in my deck, it's not impossible as a 23rd card if enough of the creatures in the format trade. Shieldmate's Blessing was marginally playable in 3xZendikar draft. That said, the design's awkward because both sides should cost a single mana, but the fused version is too good for just {W}{U}.

      Delete
  11. I redesigned Catch // Release. Of all the split cards, it has the poorest synergy, naming, and holistic feel. The others feel representative of the guilds they depict. But catch and release is either a sporting term, or a tactic used by the police to nab bigger criminals. It doesn’t feel especially Izzet or Boros. (If it was Azorius and Boros I would be more forgiving.) Catch doesn’t really even work as the name of a Threaten effect. It’s assuming you can really connect the dots: I catch an enemy thing and reprogram it to work for me. Same with Release: I release a destructive blast of energy. The synergy between the two effects is really light. You can sort of cheat a Balance effect by paying nine mana. Whee! Fusing them is not as exciting as the other split cards.

    So here’s my redesign with better synergy for Fuse, stronger connection between name and effect, and more holistic representation of the guilds depicted. (And it fits between Breaking // Entering and Down // Dirty.)

    Conception 1UR (Rare)
    Sorcery
    Instant and sorcery spells you cast this turn are overloaded. (Change their text by replacing all instances of “target” with “each.”)
    //
    Implementation XRW (Rare)
    Sorcery
    Exile target artifact, creature, or enchantment you don’t control with converted mana cost X.
    Fuse (You may cast one or both halves of this card from your hand.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The reason we never saw a card like Conception is because there are cards the rules simply can't handle granting Overload to (for instance, Æther Burst).

      Delete
    2. I don't know how to word it so the free overload is a may clause, or I'd do that. It's important that it grant Implementation overload after the spells are fused and on the stack.

      The FAQ could say "If the spell doesn't work or make sense with "target" changed to "each," you can't play it." So basically anything that make you select multiple targets will have to wait until after the effect ends.

      Delete
    3. Note that Conception doesn't overload Implementation as worded (since they're both cast before either resolves).

      Delete
    4. I was working on "Until end of turn, spells you control with a single target are overloaded."

      Does that work? If not I can always go back to the drawing board. I still have a full day.

      Delete
    5. I'm not sure it does; you chose a target for Implementation before Conception resolved.

      Delete
    6. My understanding is that it makes it so that you need a target, but then the target stops mattering during resolution. Regardless of the actual outcome, it's way too unintuitive to do.

      Delete
    7. Oh well. I ran out of time. I never settled on a different idea, and it seems Conception // Implementation was undoable. There's always next week.

      Delete
    8. Now I'm wondering if it really does work.
      Either way, if players think it might not, it's a deal-breaker. But don't players assume cards do what they say they do?

      Delete
  12. I chose to redesign Skylasher. The card's rules text is a lazy, boring, keyword soup that has nothing to do with the world of Ravnica. To add insult to injury, the archetype it appears to have been designed as a hard counter to, Delver of Secrets, isn't even good in today's Standard format.

    Skylasher 2G
    Creature -- Spider Mutant
    Flash
    Reach
    When Skylasher enters the battlefield, tap target creature with flying. That creature doesn't untap during its controller's untap step for as long as Skylasher remains on the battlefield.
    2/4

    So let's assume that this is a Spike-oriented card that won't have any guild mechanic on it. Because it's a rare, it isn't expected to make a big impact in Limited play either. How can we make it more interesting and playable? Something that stuck out to me going through SCG Open Standard lists is that most of the good fliers in this format are 1) huge 2) not even blue. To fit the card's name, I did a rework of the Whip Vine ability, since green ought to have some removal options that aren't just "be bigger than the other guy." Because it's a rare, I thought it safe to push the p/t. Lopsided toughness helps out the Simic evolve deck (its main contribution to DGM's overall theme), differentiates it from Thrashing Mossdog, and blocks Centaurs/Resto Angels/Hellriders all day long. Lastly, the creature type is changed from Insect to Spider, since that's what people are going to call it regardless -- may as well make it correct.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Two things:
      1. There's no way for development to be sure what the meta will look like at any given point in time. It's better to include a card that doesn't get used than to let Delver dominate for two years on end.
      2. This is part of the protection from colors cycle (for each color there's exactly one card in the set with protection from it), so any redesign has to have protection from blue.

      Delete
    2. This "cycle" (if it is one) consists of a Dimir uncommon, an Azorius rare, an unguilded rare, and an Orzhov mythic with two protections. Although color-based mechanics do fit well in a multicolor-themed block, I wouldn't have noticed the "one of each" thing if it wasn't explicitly pointed out to me, so I don't think that the omission of a pro-blue creature from DGM is going to kill the set anymore than not having a Selesnya X spell would kill RTR Block.

      Come to think of it...

      Emmara Tandris XWG
      Legendary Creature - Elf Shaman (R)
      Emmara Tandris enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it.
      Whenever a token creature you control dies, you may remove a +1/+1 counter from Emmara Tandris. If you do, put a token that's a copy of that creature onto the battlefield.
      0/0

      Faux-regeneration for tokens, fitting her "healer" flavor, or just a giant lightning rod for removal. I wish I could just say "populate", but DGM is pretty strict about having one common and one rare per guild keyword.

      Delete
    3. Even ignoring the "protection" cycle (which was an intentional inclusion, BTW) turning a monocolored card into a gold card messes with the set's balance, given the assumption that this is the only card in the set that gets changed.

      Delete
    4. Upon further reflection, I think I've found a cleaner way to do it. My final submission:

      Emmara Tandris XGW
      Legendary Creature - Elf Shaman (R)
      Emmara Tandris enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it.
      Token creatures you control get +1/+1.
      Remove a +1/+1 counter from Emmara Tandris: Regenerate target token creature you control.
      0/0

      The "Lord" ability is specifically to counter Illness in the Ranks. As a forum post I read pointed out: "You had one job, Emmara! ONE JOB!"

      Feedback welcome.

      Delete
    5. I'm not convinced R&D is even aware of this "protection cycle" and I don't think the set's any worse without it.

      It does make me sad that this Skylasher is strictly better than Giant Spider in three different ways. At least make it 1GG?

      Actually, I'd argue the trapping ability is redundant with the flash ability and that we can remove flash for a cleaner design.

      Delete
    6. Something feels off about the +1/+1 counters next to the +1/+1 boost. It feels like they should be connected and they're not.

      Delete
    7. I liked the Skylasher redesign, though I agree it would be fine without flash. By the time you flash it in to block, it's too late to stop a creature from attacking by tapping it. I agree with Jules that we can't fault R&D for not accurately predicting every part of the meta, but since we have the power of hindsight, it seems appropriate to re-design the Delver counter to address the current metagame

      Delete
    8. The flash was mainly targeted at two cards: Restoration Angel (when you're attacking) and Thundermaw Hellkite (when they're about to attack). I agree that it makes the card a bit wordy and it would be fine without it.

      Even if Delver turned out to be a giant problem in the metagame, six months before rotation is a rather poor time to design a hoser to it.

      Delete
  13. [Not my actual submission, but here is another idea I was considering:]

    Dragon of Nivix
    4UR
    Creature- Dragon
    4/4
    Flying, haste
    When you cast CARDNAME, you may have target creature you control become a copy of it until end of turn.
    Overload 3UURR

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This might be too crazy to just throw into DGM, but if not I like it.

      Delete
    2. In place of... Dragonshift?

      Delete
  14. Shortened it down to Trait Doctoring, Awe for the Guilds, Restore the Peace, Showstopper. Gonna try and flesh out an attempt for each of them (collector's number stuff and everything).

    Traitorous Thoughts 1U
    Sorcery (R)
    Name a card. Target player reveals their hand, then you draw a card for each copy of the named card in that player's hand.
    Cipher.

    Bring to Heel 1R
    Sorcery (U)
    CARDNAME deals 2 damage to each monocolored creature.
    "We do not have the time to deal with these Gateless rebels peacefully. The fate of Ravnica is at stake." -Aurelia, to Gideon.

    Restrain WU
    Enchantment - Aura (C)
    Enchant creature
    Enchanted creature cannot attack, and its activated abilities cannot be activated.

    Shortcut BR
    Instant (U)
    Destroy target artifact. Its controller loses 4 life.
    "What's the easiest way to shock an izzet engineer?" -The start of every other Rakdos joke.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I like the blue one best personally but feel free to provide feedback/rate all of them.

      Delete
    2. I also like the blue one best-- it has interesting play, gains value when cast multiple times, and indirectly discourages 4-ofs in Constructed. My main concern is that it is now much more of a Spike card and much less of a Johnny card.

      The red one is also cool. I'm not immediately sure what the application is, but it seems very reasonable. I like how it isn't obvious whether this kind of card gets better or worse when it's narrower. It might almost be better in the current environment to hit multicolored creatures only (e.g. Burning-Tree Emissary, Geist of Saint Traft).

      I'm not quite as interested by the other two. I really want Restrain to say "At the beginning of your upkeep, detain enchanted creature." As is, it's probably somewhat underpowered. Shortcut feels common rather than rare.

      Delete
    3. I don't understand how adding a mana of the one color that can't remove artifacts from the table warrants an upgrade to Smash to Smithereens.

      The others I'm fine with, though Traitorous Thoughts should probably say "nonland card," unless you're specifically trying to punish monocolor. I can easily draw 4+ cards in one turn for 2 mana just by calling the name of a basic land they've already played.

      Delete
    4. I like Traitorous Thoughts best too. Though the name feels like it should borrow a creature.
      Jenesis has a fair point. You could say "nonbasic" but maybe that's too oblique.

      Delete
    5. I like how Traitourous Thoughts has very Dimir gameplay, in that your opponent is incentivized to play out their hand so that they don't have any secrets left for you to profit from.

      Delete
    6. I like where it is going, but I think Traitorous Thoughts is exactly why development was so scared of Cipher. Think how easily this could get you 4+ cards. Can we maybe say non-land card?

      Delete
  15. Gleam of Battle
    4RW
    Enchantment (U)
    Whenever a creature you control attacks, you may pay 1(W/R). If you do, tap target creature defending player controls and Gleam of Battle deals 1 damage to that creature's controller.

    Not as clean as the original, but feels much more Boros to me.

    Feedback appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely a dangerous card to let your opponent untap with. I wonder whether using WR instead of 1(W/R)for the triggered cost would make this card better, simply as it forces the cards owner to heavily commit to Boros to get the full strength of the card.

      Delete
    2. What doesn't feel Boros about Gleam of Battle?

      Delete
    3. Yeah, WR is much better. Good call.

      Current Gleam reads to me like a red-white card but not a Boros card. Boros wants to turn a bunch of guys sideways, destroy blockers, and finish off the opponent with burn to the face. It doesn't feel like adding counters to your guys fits the guild at all. I understand it's for cross guild synergy, and maybe that's why it feels off to me.

      Just answering the challenge. New version uses WR instead of 1(W/R). Feedback appreciated.

      Delete
  16. I think the reason they printed Restore the Peace was so that, along with Avenging Arrow and Aetherize, control colors would have access to a late-pick combat trick in each pack. But I hate it soooo much because it's just the two later picks crudely stapled together, and yet it's somehow worse than both of them!

    Take Them Away 1WU (U)
    Instant
    Return target blocking creature and target blocked creature to their owner's hand.
    "For use in detention of suspects too large for Type-III Wristcuffs"

    The name is, perhaps, a little too informal even for the block that brought us Totally Lost, so name suggestions are more than welcome. Where would you be happy picking this up?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Playable combat tricks either generate tempo (Unsummon, Aetherize, Fog, etc.) or card advantage (Murder, Giant Growth, etc.) This one doesn't do either, and also requires you to be able to block their monster.

      Delete
    2. I understand that, as I stated this isn't an attempt to make a bad card good, as that isn't the goal of the challenge. I'm just trying to take Restore the Peace which is obviously not designed to be a good card and replace it with a new card of roughly equal power level but with a more unique feel (i.e. ≠ Avenging Arrow + Aetherize).

      It is my opinion that bad combat tricks should still have blowout potential, they just shouldn't do it efficiently or consistently. In this case the blowout happens when you save two creatures and nullify two attackers while rebuying an ETB effect and forcing them to recast an expensive card.

      That should happen maybe 1 out of the 10 times you cast this, but it should still be possible. Realistically, this is a bad Peel from Reality and that is fine for a card that's meant to go late to fill out a control build short on tricks.

      Delete
    3. As is, Take Them Away compares pretty unfavorably to Peel from Reality. Maybe try an upgraded version of Trial//Error?

      Take Them Away 1WU
      Instant
      Return all creatures blocking or blocked by creatures you control to their owner's hands.

      Delete
    4. I like James' solution, as players would be able to live the dream with Guardian of the Gateless.

      Delete
    5. @Jay: Definitely not, I think I like {W}{U}. I didn't really think about the cost because I was trying to build a bad card and I guess my knowledge of how to cost bad cards is nearly nonexistent.

      It's interesting that it looks worse to me at WU because it makes me think of Azorius Charm.

      What is another way of making a tempo play aside from bounce?

      Delete
    6. 1WU
      Instant
      Remove all attacking creatures from combat. Each attacking creature doesn't untap during it's controllers next untap step.

      Delete
  17. I think the choice for the worst designed card/does the least for the set is between:
    Emmara, she disappointed me personally as a fervent Selesnya player;
    Trait Doctoring, the Johnny rare that even Johnny (like me) despise; it offends me first because I initially thought it could've been used in Merfolks, only to be disillusioned; so I hate it for having me look stupid (to myself) and because it was, obviously, the rare of the first DGM pack I opened;
    Clear a Path, it is a very weak and narrow sideboard card, I could argue its utility though (also the flavor text is hilarious);
    Skylasher, it's badly designed because it seems overkill, but is obviously a Obstinate Baloth/ Great Sable Stag/ Grafdigger's Cage type of card against Delver, and I have to respect that decision.

    That said, to me the choice is between Emmara and Trait doctoring: Emmara wins this race only to my personal Selesnya bias.
    Here it is:

    Emmara Tandris 1GW
    Legendary Creature - Elf Shaman
    2/2
    Creature tokens you control get +1/+1.
    GW, T: Regenerate each creature token you control.
    “I will protect each one of my guildmates, for each life is the life of all”

    The original Emmara lacks not only decent power, but also elegance, that is the elegance to fulfil the role for which she was created. She screams: "Put me in a token deck!", but she is even worthless there, not to mention she has a cost for which she comes into play too late to be worth it.
    My version initially had Vigilance and the T:Regenerate ability, but then I read and remembered the comment about Illness in The Ranks, and so she HAD to gain the Lord ability. From then, I changed her to act as a very traditional Lord (à la Goblin Chieftain), and I love her simmetry and elegance. Some could call her boring, instead I love the fact that you can just say:"Oh, she's the tokens Lord!"
    One could argue about the removal of Vigilance (I imagine that she could see play in Standard with it in a dedicated tokens-aggro deck) and about the mana cost of her activated ability, if she has to tap, and even if she should or not protect herself with the ability.
    As she is, she can protect her tokens only once against Board wipes. I'm settled on this version, but I'd love to hear suggestions and comments.

    P.S.:Sorry for the length of the post, but I got carried away, and sorry for any English error, but I'm not an English native speaker.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You already mentioned the one concern I have with this solid design, that it's a little boring for the legendary maze-runner cycle.

      Delete
  18. Bred for the Hunt feels very Simic, but it falls short in DGM, since it seems harder now to assemble a critical mass of +1/+1 counters. DGM seems to have too many cards that reward +1/+1 counters (Mutant's Prey, Korozda Gorgon), but not enough that give them out.

    Break Free 1GU
    Enchantment (U)
    Whenever a creature you control becomes the target of an instant or sorcery spell, put a +1/+1 counter on that creature.

    Surely, Simic creatures should become stronger the more they're experimented on? Alternatively, it could cost more and trigger off of spells or abilities, opening it up to interactions with Scavenge and Bloodrush (and becoming broken with the en-Kor cards).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like it a lot! I still probably wouldn't play it, but I'd smile more when I passed it.

      It is too bad it does not interact "correctly" with Overload though!

      Delete
    2. I'm pretty sure this works perfectly with overload…

      Delete
    3. Overloaded spells don't target, so you would only get a counter on the non-overloaded version, which is kind of a bummer.

      Delete
    4. I'm going to revise my submission to work better with Scavenge and Bloodrush, making the card a better build-around option in draft.

      Break Free 2GU
      Enchantment (U)
      Whenever a creature you control becomes the target of a spell or ability, you may pay 1. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on that creature.

      "The Simic's greatest hubris is their belief that they will always be able to control their experiments."

      Delete
  19. Blast of Genius is far from the worst design in the set, but it is a feel-bad engine. Since it takes 6 mana to cast, you're never discarding a card because it's too expensive. Instead, you have to carefully weigh the option of killing your target or casting the spell big enough to do so. It never feels good.

    Blast of Genius 4UR
    Instant (unc)
    Choose target creature. Reveal cards from the top of your library until their total converted mana cost is equal to or greater than that creature’s toughness. Blast of Genius deals that much damage to you and that creature. Put those cards into your hand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like this, but this feels very Grixis to me. There is a level where the damage to you is craaaazy red doing craaaaazy things, but this card is doing two very black things: Paying life to draw cards, and directly removing any creature (this is basically Vendetta plus card draw).

      I'd like to see this in Return to Shards of Alara block at 3UBR.

      Delete
    2. I think one of the least enjoyable aspects of Blast is that your ability to draw cards is dependent upon the target being legal at the time of resolution, which is even more feel-bad than having to discard something large enough to kill whatever.

      Force of Intellect was one of the "obvious" designs I had made way back when for Melody:

      Force of Intellect
      4UR
      Sorcery (U)
      Draw three cards, then CARDNAME deals damage equal to the number of cards in your hand to target player.

      At the time, I didn't feel like the ability to kill creatures was appropriate, considering most cantripping removal costs ~5+, which is likely why they went with the somewhat awkward but less advantageous design that they did.

      Your design manages to resolve some of the feel bad of the actual Blast of Genius, but as I'm sure you realize: it's even more complex. Not necessarily in terms of execution, but the decision to actually pull the trigger on cast your Blast is a serious one, not wholly dissimilar from choosing whether to continue drawing cards off Ad Nauseam.

      Delete
    3. This card reminds me a little of top decking Duskmantle Seer in limited when you're behind, it leads to a large amount of time sat there weighing up your options and thinking through probabilities over what left in your deck. Blast of Genius does have the upside of both finishing off an opponent or being able to play as a draw 3 spell with a spare land card in your hand.

      Delete
    4. I agree with Tommy that my design would be better for Grixis.

      I like Force of Intellect a good deal. If I borrow it here, I'd drop it to a 3:1.

      Force of Intellect 3UR
      Sorcery (U)
      Draw two cards, then CARDNAME deals damage to target player equal to the number of cards in your hand.

      Delete
  20. Smelt-Ward Gatecrashers 3R
    Creature — Human Warrior (C)
    When Smelt-Ward Gatecrashers enters the battlefield, if you control two or
    more Gates, you may destroy target non-basic land.
    4/2


    the block already has 3(!) other threaten effects beyond the Gatekeepers, and a 2/4 just feels really out of place in red. Beyond that, the art clearly shows a district on fire while the guards watch idly.

    Design for the block wise, the gate theme works least in the base red decks, with most of their cards being very aggressive. As such, their member of the cycle should be more aggressively costed so that the gates can be a high priority for all colors. More over, there's no real way to answer gates at all in the entire block. The only two Land Destruction spells are terrible five drops, which means that once an opponent hits two gates, there's virtually no way to shut off their gatekeepers. That's pretty swingy. At least with this guy, he provides a solid body to fight through gatekeepers, while also making it possible to jump start a red deck that drafted gates.

    Sure, this card breaks the cycle, but I feel like its the worst designed of the bunch, especially for the block it's in. Feedback?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree it's the worst designed, but I think you're going about fixing it the wrong way. It still needs to be part of the cycle (a 2/4) and the fact that lands are hard to destroy was certainly intentional. I'm not convinced that keeping people of two gates is something that needs to exist, after all, you don't get to keep your opponent from getting their Voidwielder trigger. Even if you do need to answer gates, color screwing people will mess up gameplay way more than not answering gates, so this would need to Ghost Quarter them.

      One plausible redesign I see would be "When Smelt-Ward Gatecrashers enters the battlefield, if you control two or
      more Gates, creatures you control get +2/+0 and gain haste until end of turn."

      Then you have a big reward, less repetition, and still an effect the red decks want.

      Delete
    2. I can see that, but your redesign still runs into the Primal Visitation problem that you really aren't going to have many other things entering the battlefield at the same time. As such, then the card is basically Viashino Firstblade. That's the problem with most of the other abilities I'd considered (haste, damage to an opponent, even the threaten)

      The block hasn't made it impossible to answer gates, it's just cost that ability at 5. Without the Gate drawback, thats about where batterhorn falls, and that guy also color screws opponents relying on fixing. I could see the argument to bringing the power and toughness in line with the other Gatekeepers, but I think this (and the other gatekeepers) work best when their bodies are solid enough that nonGate dedicated players also have an incentive to draft them. When players with fewer gates still want them, it prevents a deck that can just stone rain you every turn 4.

      Ghost Quartering them would be a way to solve this problem, but that's too complex for common. Gatekeepers are already a wall of text, you want these abilities to be as straightforward as possible.

      Delete
    3. Once you flip the p/t the right way round I actually like this. It's pretty rare in limited to get 2 gates into play early and since it only targets non-basic it's much harder to colour screw guys than the 5 mana land destruction in the format already. LD has mainly been thrown in to deal with the odd Rogues Passage or Mazes End that's getting out of hand so having one of these as an extra option while still being main deckable seems like a good idea.

      Delete
    4. My main concern (apart from the cycle-breakign P/T) is the mixed message. Smelt-Ward Gatecrashers rewards players for running gates at the same time it punishes them. Does this card love gates or hate them?

      Delete
  21. I think Woodlot Crawler is the worst design in the set. It smacks of the old days where Wizards would slap enemy color hosers on a random creature and call it a day, and while the ability to get in unblocked works well with Dimir, the actual creature doesn't feel Dimir at all, and the flavor text makes no sense at all - "learning" from the Simic would make so much more sense on a card that cares about +1/+1 counters than a card that cares about green-ness - which Simic doesn't care about at all, and especially not more than any other guild.

    Here's my redesign with the same flavor, but an ability that makes the flavor make more sense and still cares about lots of other cards in the set:

    Woodlot Crawler
    UB
    Creature - Insect - Uncommon
    Protection from creatures with +1/+1 counters.
    2/1
    ~"We learned something from the Simic. Unfortunately for them." -Nefara, Dimir Agent~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the card and particularly the fact it now has some neat tricks with some of the +1/+1 counter spells in limited. That said the flavour is a little lost on me.

      Delete
    2. The flavor is weak. In the original Ravnica, Smic's +1/+1 counters represented cytoplasts, so I could see this working against cytoplasts. But in RtR, Simic's counters represent the creature evolving. Does the Crawler know how to counter evolving creatures?

      What if it could devolve creatures by eating their +1/+1 counters?

      Delete
    3. That was the idea; that once a creature evolved, in whatever specific way the Simic engineered it to, the Dimir had "figured out" what the evolved creature's weakness was and exploited it.

      I could see a version like you're suggesting, though I fear it treads too close to Thrull Parasite.

      Maybe something like:

      Woodlot Crawler
      UB
      Creature - Insect - Uncommon
      Whenever one or more +1/+1 counters would be placed on a creature an opponent controls, put that many +1/+1 counters on Woodlot Crawler.
      2/1
      ~"It learned from the Simic. Unfortunately for them." -Nefara, Dimir Agent~

      Delete
  22. I hope I'm not too late!

    (Redesign of Down // Dirty)

    Cruel
    2B
    Sorcery
    Target player reveals his or her hand. You choose a nonland card from it. That player discards that card.

    Unusual
    2G
    Sorcery
    If there are an odd number of cards in all graveyards, return target card from your graveyard to your hand.

    I didn't like how Down // Dirty wasn't synergistic, when it was a fuse spell. Being a fuse spell means it SHOULD be synergistic, yet this card tries to get away with just being "opposites."

    In Gatecrash and Return to Ravnica, the discard spells were simply asking for a discard. In this set, Down repeated what Mind Rot did. They could have done a type of discard where you pick and choose. So that's what I did for "Cruel."

    For the "Unusual" part, I used the rules text of "odd" to link flavorfully its rules text. While "Cruel" and "Unusual" both synergize, I couldn't think of a more clever way to use the information you had gained from their hand (and in conjunction with discarding / "boneyard in the art" - graveyard).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The oddest thing about this design is that if casting Unusual by itself would do something, fusing the spells would do nothing, and vice versa.

      Delete