Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Designing Suvnica, Week 9: The Same Thing Different

Hey everyone! Sorry I'm running a little late with this. It has become pretty clear that two keywords a week is going to be impossible to keep up with. In the interests of keeping this project moving along at a reasonable pace without drowning under it, I'll be doing the keyword challenges alongside other challenges, which should keep the workload bearable.

I'll discuss the non-keyword challenge first, then we'll talk about which guild is getting keyword suggestions this week.

Ravnica was as much defined by its cycles as it was by the guilds. Half of the excitement about Guildpact and Dissension was in trying to extrapolate from what we knew about Ravnica's cycles and figure out what the remaining six guilds would contribute to those cycles.

While some of the cycles were pretty loose, like the champions, guildmasters, and guild artifacts, others were very subtle, and developed over the course of the block.



Eight cards like this appeared in Ravnica - two for each represented guild in that first set. They were all instants or sorceries, and each gave you a bonus for using the second guild color to cast it. It was alternative take on hybrid - you could run this multicolor card in a deck that doesn't use both colors, but it really shines if you use it in guild.



Guildpact evolved on the cycle, making its six spells in the cycle creatures with bonus ETB abilities for casting with the second color.



Dissension was the weirdest batch for the cycle. For starters, it pretended that the spells were creatures, when they were really spells that had a kicker effect of letting you keep the creature that triggered the ETB ability. This is why the black card gets double strike while the red one gets fear - they only stick around as creatures if you treated them as multicolor cards in the first place.

I thought it would be interesting to experiment with evolution of a cycle with one of the potential cycles that we've already come up with.



Jules proposed this cycle back in Week 4. I think that this has a lot of potential for development across a block. Using this as a template, this is what I came up with.


I modified Jules' design a little bit, but the basic elements of the cycle are still there. An aura in CD that gives two abilities, one from each color, that you can shift to another creature when it hits the battlefield.


Rimid is in Set #2. To change the cycle a little bit, I added a slight bonus/penalty for moving it from creature to creature. Development would have to look to see whether this is too powerful or not.


Grohm are going to show up in the final set of the Suvnica block. For the Favors in set #3, I decided that the auras don't switch creature on a new one entering the battlefield, but rather come back from the GY when a creature of BOTH colors ETB.

Design by Committee

The guild getting a keyword treatment this week is the Gilrog, who appear in set #3. I actually had a couple of ideas for keywords that fits within the guild philosophy/description.




Like Graft creatures in Dissension, all chimera creatures have an activated ability. On dying, they become pseudo-enchantments that give +1/-1 and an activated ability. They also chain into each other. 

There may be memory issues here, but I think it's overall a less confusing mechanic than Haunt turned out to be.




My other mechanic idea was Glass Cannon. I wanted to try to figure out what other kinds of things I could do with fate counters that I couldn't with +1/+1 counters (POPOCs). It is very difficult to give something +X/-X with POPOCs, and that's the kind of thing Gilrog wants, so I thought that might be a good place to start. 

I would love some feedback on both mechanics and the cycle development, so let me know what you think in the comments.

Week 9 Challenge

Part 1: 
  • Pick a cycle that we've already discussed, or create your own. 
  • Create a card (or two!) for Sahleen for that cycle to be used in Suvnica, the first set of the Suvnica block.
  • Create a card (or two!) for Rimid, evolving that cycle in some way, for the second set of the Suvnica block.
  • Create a card (or - you guessed it - two!) for Grohm, either evolving that cycle further or evolving it in a different way, for the third set of the Suvnica block.
Part 2: 
  • Come up with a keyword idea for the Gilrog guild, and offer examples.
Optional Challenge:
  • Come up with good names for Sets 2 and 3 of the Suvnica block.
Good luck everybody. I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

88 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. I don't think Glass cannon works flavorfully for the Gilrog. I just don't see them making that sort of compromise. Same for the State thing of Chimera. How about "When this dies, you may pay X, if you do, exile it WORDed to target creature you control. The worded creature has all activated abilities of this creature."

    For a cycle, how about a fate counters one?

    Sahleen Fate GW
    Instant (C)
    Targent creature control gets +2/+2 for each fate counter on permanents you control

    Set 2 fates could punish people for having too much of it:

    Rimid Fate UB
    Instant (C)
    Targent creature control gets -2/-1 for each fate counter on permanents its controller controls.

    Set 3 would start distributing the fate:

    Rimid Fate RG
    Instant (C)
    For each fate counter on permanents you control, choose target creature. Each of those creatures get +2/+2.

    And a Gilrog mechanic should reward players that make their creature bigger somehow, so how about... (ignore the bad machanic name, pleaser)

    Gilrog Bear 1G
    Creature -- Bear
    Rule of the Mighty -- As long as ~'s power is 3 or more, it has trample.
    2/2

    Gilrog Spider 2BG
    Creature -- Spider (R)
    Reach
    Rule of the Mighty -- As long as ~'s power is 3 or more, it has "Whenever this creature blocks a creature with flying, the controller of that creature loses 1 life.".
    2/4

    Spore-release Fungus {B/G}
    Creature -- Fungus (C)
    Defender
    Rule of the Mighty -- As long as ~'s power is 1 or more, it has deathtouch.
    0/3

    Giant Carab 1B
    Creature -- Insect (C)
    Defender
    Rule of the Mighty -- As long as ~'s power is 2 or more, it has lifelink.
    1/2

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    1. Here's another Gilrog mechanic. For background I came up with the following:

      Leech Strength {B}{G}
      Instant
      Choose target creatures. All other creatures you control get -1/-1. Chosen creature gets +1/+1 for each of those creatures.

      Then I though "Hey, now there's an idea..."

      Leech Bear {1}{g}
      Creature -- Bear
      Leech 1 (During your upkeep, you may have a creature you control get -1/-1 until end of turn, If you do, this creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)
      2/2

      It plays in the Glass cannon territory, but instead of the creature weakening itself, it leeches off the other (possibly weaker) creatures there are around.

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    2. Rule of the Mighty doesn't do anything by itself, but the worse crime is that if you replace the condition with the actual ability, the resulting cards are all nearly the same. Trample with 2 power only has an effect when blocked by a 1 toughness creature, and even then its just 1 extra damage. Deathtouch literally does nothing with 0 power. Gilrog Spider will already be keeping 3/2 Fliers at home instead of attacking. 1 point of lifelink is also marginal.

      I think Fate counters might be a trap, but I particularly don't like effects that turn them into P/T-changing counters of various types. Putting +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters on creatures in the same set is less confusing. (This applies to Glass Cannon and the Fate cards above.)

      Leech Bear is worth considering.

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    3. Circeus - are you able to fill out the cycle for other guilds? Maybe I wasn't clear about this in the challenge. The idea is a cycle across all ten guilds - I'm only asking you to show me the Sahleen, Grohm, and Rimid examples. While the fates are a cycle that appears across the block, it looks like they would only really make sense as a three card cycle, not a ten-card.

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    4. The thought of Leech as a basis for a guild mechanic really excites me. Something along those lines could create neat choicemaking and gameplay.

      And most of all, it really conveys a kind of Guild philosophy very clearly. Power-leeching to create one monstrously big guy at the expense of others is simultaneously group-oriented (Green), but selfish (Black). It would be refreshing to be able to represent BG without resorting to the flavor of some kind of zombie-slime grave sludge.

      It could be something like this:

      Leech (At the beginning of your combat step, any number of other creatures you control get -1/-1. For each of those creatures, this creature gets +1/+1.)

      But I suspect this version plays too similarly to exalted.

      Another possibility:

      Leech 2 (You may have this enter the battlefield leeching another creature you control. If you do, this creature gets +2/+2 and the leeched creature gets -2/-2 as long as they're both on the battlefield.)

      Delete
    5. I don't like the "as-long as" because it means you can't just p and sacrifice a creature to leech, and the mechanic is especially vulnerable to 2-for-1 (which is why I made sure mine didn't target).

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  4. First off, a couple of ideas for Gilrog mechanics:

    Amalgamate (As ~ enters the battlefield, exile any number of cards from your graveyard. ~ enters the battlefield with that many additional +1/+1 counters on it.)

    Like Delve Amalgamate doesn't play well with itself, but it does a good job of making things stronger as time goes on. Scavenge does this well too, but it feels too teamwork-y to me.

    Crushing Blob 3G
    Creature-Ooze (C)
    Amalgamate
    Trample
    0/0

    Schadenfreude Incarnate 1B
    Creature-Horror (C)
    Amalgamate
    Lifelink
    0/0

    Spleenchucker 2BB
    Creature-Horror (U)
    Amalgamate
    1, Remove a +1/+1 counter from ~: Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn.
    0/0

    Snake-Eyes 4GG
    Creature-Snake (R)
    Amalgamate
    Whenever ~ deals combat damage to a player, draw that many cards.
    0/0


    Outdo (Whenever another creature you control dies, you may exile that card and pay {X}, where X is its power. If you do, put X +1/+1 counters on ~.)

    I was thinking about Devour as another good Gilrog keyword and then I decided it was unfortunate that you didn't always end up progressing towards bigger and bigger creatures. Barring a board wipe, Outdo ensures that each subsequent trigger will make a bigger and bigger creature (note that requiring the exile means that only one creature will grow from each death). Of course, this design success leads to some development issues, so I added a mana cost, but it might detract too much from the feel. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    Everpresent Vulture 2B
    Creature-Bird (C)
    Flying
    Outdo
    1/1


    Experiment Notetaker 3G
    Creature-Fungus Shaman (U)
    Vigilance
    Outdo
    2/2

    Strengthsapper Witch G
    Creature-Plant Shaman (R)
    Outdo
    T: Add {G} to your mana pool for each +1/+1 counter on ~.
    0/1

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    1. Amalgamate is really hard to evaluate. They're unplayable in the early game, or right after you've cast another one, but could be completely absurd late game or after a big combat. Whether it's balanced or not, will it be fun and will it appeal to players?

      Maybe:
      Strike Me Down (~ ETB with a +1/+1 counter on it for each card in your graveyard with Strike Me Down).

      Outdo is sort of a reverse Scavenge. It could very well work for the Gilrog.

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    2. Outdo is uncomfortably close to RTR's Scavenge (and much harder to trigger). I like Amalgamate better, but I'd like to see creatures with a positive starting P/T to add on top of.

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    3. I don't like amalgamate making 0/0 creatures. The creatures become extremely hard to use in limited in the absence of a strong self-mill theme (though exiling from any graveyard is an option that could help). Plus amalgamate is kinda just delve (maybe delve, like chanbnel and kicker, will turn out to be overbroad, who knows?).

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    4. Yeah, I was torn on whether or not the Amalgamate creatures should have P/T to start with. One concern is that it makes some abilities, like Snake-Eyes', less intuitive because the number you care about is less than the number of counters, but thinking more about it now, I think that's the smaller issue. Effects that scale up like these are really hard to balance for a wide range of values, so it would be much safer to start with some P/T and not do much graveyard filling than to have a lot of graveyard filling and let them run rampant.

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  5. Part 2: My keyword for the Gilrog is Dominate; it is born from Sengir Vampire and Predator Ooze and is the following: Whenever a creature dealt damage by ~ dies this turn, do *something*. Here are some examples:

    Abattoir Ghoul - 3B (reprint)
    Creature - Zombie (common)
    First Strike
    Whenever ~ dominates a creature, you gain life equal to that creature's toughness.
    3/2

    Acuminous Wolf - 4G
    Creature - Wolf (uncommon)
    When ~ enters the battlefield, it fights target creature you don't control.
    Whenever ~ dominates a creature, draw a card.
    4/4

    Contagion Rats - 1B
    Creature - Rat (common)
    Deathtouch
    Whenever ~ dominates a creature, that creature's controller loses 3 life.
    1/1

    Seeping Mage - 2BG
    Creature - Human Shaman (rare)
    T: ~ deals 2 damage to target creature.
    Whenever ~ dominates a creature, target player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.
    1/1

    I like the wording, but by definition only creatures can be "dominated", so it might have to turn to "Whenever ~ dominates, do something" as opposed to "Whenever ~ dominates a creature, do something".

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    1. More examples:

      Price of Hubris - BB
      Instant (common)
      ~ deals 2 damage to target creature. If ~ dominates that creature, you lose 1 life and draw a card.

      Survival of the Strongest - BG
      Sorcery (uncommon)
      Target creature you control fights target creature you don't control. If the creature you control dominates the creature you don't control, put 3 +1/+1 counters on that creature.

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    2. Dominate has potential. I'd offer 'defeat' or 'kill' as a name that more clearly requires death. Acuminous Wolf is nutty good. Would love to see that printed as a rare.

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    3. I like those names too. All three could potentially be used, although I think that "kill" could potentially be an evergreen-esque word someday to accompany "dies".

      Also, you think Acuminous Wolf should be rare? Granted, it might need another {G} to its mana cost, but both abilities on the cards have appeared on non-rare cards. If it became a rare, I'd almost feel comfortable bumping it up to a 5/5.

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    4. Acuminous Wolf will quite often be a three-for-one, and that's assuming the opponent can block it profitably.

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    5. Dominate (or "Defeat") is in some ways the perfect keyword: it's easy to grok but wordy to write out.

      The main issue is that it triggers in some circumstances that you wouldn't expect (your 0/6 wall blocks my Acuminous Wolf, then I Shock your wall to kill it). Seeping Mage is also rather non-intuitive (and very non-BG) in this regard.

      I propose the following alternate template:

      Creature A "dominates" Creature B when that Creature B dies while blocking or being blocked by Creature A.

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    6. I think that is a little too restrictive. I get your concern though; when you replace the wording with the keyword, it is easier to miss out on the subtle interactions. Maybe dominate is the following: Whenever a creature dies, if ~ dealt lethal damage to it, (do something). This makes it clear that the creature has to deal the final damage and still allows fight, pingers, and non-creature spells to work.

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    7. I'm having trouble seeing Dominate as a legit action word. To me it makes much more sense as an ability word -- ESPECIALLY if you're saddling it onto preprints like abbatoir ghoul.

      Dominate -- Whenever a creature dealt damage by ~ dies this turn, effect.

      Action words, like keywords, always have the same effect. When you want assorted effects based on identical conditions, that's when ability words come into play (enter the battlefield).

      With dominate, the trigger is always the same - deal damage, and the creature dies. The effect changes creatures to creature. Dominate isn't something an object is doing.

      That being the case, it loses some of its perfect keyword status, since the trigger on a ability words is always written out. We don't lose any of the wordiness.

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    8. Re: seeping mage, the targeted damage is Red, unless the life drain is direct from it. As an alternative, can I suggest turning it mono-B, giving it a T: 1 damage to each creature and player, and changing the dominate effect to something more splashy?

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    9. You can also keep current targeted damage if you change it to only hit flying creatures. That's green.

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    10. Re: version 3 of dominate, I'm not sure the rules currently treat lethal damage as something that other cards can track. I could be very wrong about that.

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    11. I agree with zefferal that Dominate should be an ability word. You could use the word "kill" as new magic vocab in addition to that, to mean dealing lethal damage or contributing to lethal damage.

      Dominate — Whenever ~ kills a creature, BONUS.

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    12. @zefferal: Lethal damage is fine on cards; see indestructible's reminder text and Ogre Enforcer Also, thanks for the lesson on ability word vs. keyword...I've frankly have had difficulty with deciding which one to use forever.

      @Chah: While the word "kill" makes very much sense in the context of dominate, I'm going to refrain from using it because it doesn't appear on that many cards and more importantly, it doesn't actually exist yet (even though it should....kill is almost used as often as dies as informal Magic-speak).

      That being said, here is where my mechanic stands after all these changes and some updated designs to reflect those changes. No Abattoir Ghoul or damage-based instants; the ability word is different now than the Ghoul's ability and the damage instant pretty much wouldn't be cast if you couldn't kill the creature and only exists to be neutered by some trick like a pump spell.

      Vanquish -- Whenever a creature dies that was dealt lethal damage by ~, BONUS.

      Acuminous Wolf - {3}{B}{G}
      Creature - Wolf (rare)
      When ~ enters the battlefield, it fights target creature.
      Vanquish -- Whenever a creature dies that was dealt lethal damage by ~, draw a card.
      4/4

      Seeping Mage - {2}{B}{B}
      Creature - Human Wizard (rare)
      B: ~ deals 1 damage to each creature and player.
      Vanquish -- Whenever a creature dies that was dealt lethal damage by ~, you gain 2 life.
      1/3

      Poisonous Ooze - {1}{B/G}
      Creature - Ooze (common)
      Deathtouch
      Vanquish -- Whenever a creature dies that was dealt lethal damage by ~, its controller loses 3 life.
      1/1

      Repugnant Beast - {2}{B}{G}
      Creature - Beast Horror (common)
      Intimidate
      Vanquish -- Whenever a creature dies that was dealt lethal damage by ~, put a +1/+1 counter on ~.
      3/3

      Fight for Survival - {3}{G}
      Sorcery (uncommon)
      Target creature you control fights another target creature.
      Vanquish -- Whenever a creature dies that was dealt lethal damage by target creature you control, put two +1/+1 counters on it.

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    13. EDIT: For the last card, there should be "until end of turn" on it somewhere. I guess at the beginning of the vanquish ability: Until end of turn, whenever a creature dies that was dealt lethal damage by target creature you control, put two +1/+1 counters on that creature.

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    14. If a 4/4 creature is dealt two damage in combat and then Shocked, I'm not sure that only the Shock damage is considered lethal; I suspect all of the damage is considered lethal or not at any given time.

      If we really care that the vanquishing creature was the one to deal the last bit of damage, we could use:
      If a creature dies because of damage dealt to it by ~, EFFECT.

      I love the idea of formalizing 'kill' as an ability word and using that as the Gilrog's keyword.

      Sengir Vampire {3}{B}{B}
      Creature — Vampire (unc)
      Flying
      Whenever Sengir Vampire kills a creature, put a +1/+1 counter on it.
      4/4

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    15. @Jay - I'm not sure formalizing a game term is going to have that splashiness you really look for in a guild keyword. Slightly different story when used in conjunction with an ability word.

      Delete
    16. To add, I'm not sure if the game term is worth formalizing; there's been fewer than 20 cards with the "kill" mechanic printed over the years. Compared to dies, kills doesn't seem important enough to formalize.

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    17. @Benjammn - I'm not really sure that Ogre Enforcer should be the go-to example of the game being able to track lethal damage. The oracle text on that card is painful to read, and would never be printed today (cards mentioning marked sources of damage is even worse than breaking the taboo on mentioning the stack.)

      I looked into the comprehensive rules on this, and I think Jay is right. Lethal damage is a function of creature's toughness minus damage already marked on that creature by other sources this turn, which is why Ogre enforcer has such unwieldy text to accomplish a pretty straightforward idea.

      The best way I can think of to accomplish the mechanic without mentioning marked or lethal damage is to have the trigger at the end of combat

      -- whenever a creature that was dealt combat damage by ~ dies at the end of combat, [effect].

      Since players don't really get priority between damage taking place and the end of combat (some triggered effects notwithstanding), the odds of something dying as a result of something other than the ultimately lethal damage of the dominating/vanquishing creature is pretty slim.

      In the alternative, I think that this is devolving into an elephant wearing boots dillema - I really think that the flavor will be captured by just using the standard sengir vampire wording and not worrying too much that occasionally the final blow to the creature didn't come from the creature with dominate.

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  6. Now: Cycle time. I was thinking about how the original Ravnica has a smaller percentage of guild related cards than the small sets because a large set is more than 4/3rds as big. What if a cycle had eight cards in the first set, but then decreased to 3 in each of the small sets?

    Sahleen Seer {G}
    Creature-Elf Druid (C)
    Whenever you cast a white spell, you gain 1 life.
    1/1

    Sahleen Sage {W}
    Creature-Human Cleric (C)
    Whenever you cast a green spell, you gain 1 life.
    1/1

    Rimid Augur {1}{ub}
    Creature-Vampire Wizard (C)
    Whenever you cast a blue or black spell, target player puts the top card of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
    1/1

    Grohm Elder {3}{R}{G}
    Creature-Giant Shaman (C)
    Whenever you cast a spell that's both red and green, put a 3/3 red and green giant creature token onto the battlefield.
    3/3

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    1. I like the idea of having a weaker, but broader cycle in the first set. The biggest concern is in disappointing fans of the six guilds in Sets 2 and 3, since they'll want their fare share of guild representation.

      Also, if you're doing twice the cards in Suvnica part 1, give each card a different effect from its guild counterpart.

      Delete
    2. Unless the cycle is really high profile (which this one isn't) I don't think there will be much care (or notice) of some guilds getting fewer cards, certainly less pushback than only some guilds getting something cool and unique. Certainly the number won't be 0, but how many people would've still been upset with the same number but their favorite guild didn't get a hybrid card?

      As for having different effects for the two cards in the big set, that's probably for the best. I was just overly enamored with the idea of them combining into the second set cards so I wanted to give each pair a hybrid effect on both.

      Delete
  7. Cycles, huh?
    I don't know the full distribution of guilds in the set, but here's a hybrid X cycle. Each spell is XHH, where H is the colors of the guild in question.
    (Note: This is all presuming you're resolving in order of printing on card. Also, if push came to shove, could totally be a Fuse cycle.)

    WU: Clear State
    Sorcery
    Creatures you control are X/X creatures until end of turn if W was spent to cast Clean Slate.
    Creatures you don’t control have -X/-0 until end of turn if U was spent to cast Clean Slate.
    (XWW Bad Mirror Entity, XUU X The Tide, XWU Nice Swing. Was originally Just straight All creatures, but WW/WU board wipe seemed dumb.)

    UB: Mind Sear
    Sorcery
    Choose a card type. For each card of that type put into a player’s graveyard from anywhere this turn, draw a card if U was spent to cast Mind Sear.
    Target player puts the top X cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard if B was spent to cast Mind Sear.
    (UU, Dream Salvage. XBB, Mill X. XUB, Mill X and potentially draw X.)

    BR: Icky Thump (Temp name)
    Sorcery
    Target player discards X cards from his or her hand if B was spent to cast Icky Thump.
    Exile X cards from target player’s graveyard if R was spent to cast Icky Thump.
    (XBB Bad Mind Shatter, XRR Good Exile spell, XBR Exile X from hand.)

    RG: Earthstorm
    Sorcery
    Earthstorm deals X damage to each creature without flying if R was spent to cast S3: Earthstorm.
    Earthstorm deals X damage to each creature with flying if G was spent to cast S3: Earthstorm.
    (XRR, Earthquake. XGG, Windstorm. XRG, Savage Twister.)

    GW: Sahleen Counselling
    Instant
    Target creature has +X/+0 until end of turn if G was spent to cast Sahleen Counselling.
    Target creature has +0/+X until end of turn if W was spent to cast Sahleen Counselling.
    (XGG, Bad Untamed Might. XWW, Bad Buttbreathing? XGW... Admittedly weakest of cycle other than being awesome tricks.)

    WB: Aloof Judgment
    Sorcery
    Target player gains X life if W was spent to cast Aloof Judgment.
    Target player loses X life if B was spent to cast Aloof Judgment.
    “The council hears your case, and it shall indeed be done. Resume your duties immediately while the transaction is finalized.”
    (XWW, Alabaster Potion. XBB, Bad Exsanguinate. XWB, Half a Debt to the Deathless.)

    UR: Flippant Disregard
    Sorcery
    Return X target creatures to their owners’ hands if U was spent to cast Flippant Disregard.
    S1: Flippant Disregard deals X damage to each creature if R was spent to cast Flippant Disregard.
    (XUU, Ridiculous AEther Tide. XRR, Rolling Earthquake. XUR, A Scalpel. Pump Y-1 where Y is creatures on the BF to kill one, or just X=1 to unsummon one and diddy the rest?)

    BG: Deadmen's Shift
    Instant
    Return up to X target creature cards from your graveyard to your hand if B was spent to cast Deadmen’s Shift.
    Target creature gets +Y/+Y until end of turn, where Y is the number of cards in your hand, if G was spent to cast Deadmen’s Shift.
    (XBB, Death Denied. GG, Inner Calm Outer Strength. XBG, Oh god Card Advantage.)

    RW: Crowd Control
    Instant
    The next X damage that would be dealt to target creature you control is dealt to another target creature if R was spent to cast Crowd Control.
    Crowd Control deals X damage to each attacking or each blocking creature if W was spent to cast Crowd Control.
    (XRR, Deflect X. XWW, X Righteous Blow. XRW, ridiculous trick.

    GU: Clearseeing
    Sorcery
    Look at the top X cards of your library, then put them back in any order, if you spent G to cast Clearseeing.
    Choose a permanent type. If you paid U to cast Clearseeing, reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a card of the chosen type with converted mana cost X. Put that card onto the battlefield.
    (XGG, Ponder X. XUU, surgical Gen Wave ironically. XGU, Ponder X, then name your best card from among them.)

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  8. For Gilrog:

    Enhance (Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, you may tap this and pay B/G. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on that creature.)

    Gilrog Rootsworn 1G
    Creature - Elf Druid (C)
    Enhance (Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, you may tap this and pay B/G. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on that creature.)
    Whenever Gilrog Rootsworn enhances a creature, add BG to your mana pool.
    2/1

    Gilrog Siltsifter B
    Creature - Elf Shaman (C)
    Enhance (Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, you may tap this and pay B/G. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on that creature.)
    1/1

    Rottenleaf Wanderer 3GG
    Creature - Elemental (R)
    Enhance (Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, you may tap this and pay B/G. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on that creature.)
    If one or more +1/+1 counters would be placed on a creature you control, twice that many +1/+1 counters are placed on it instead.
    5/5

    Carrion Caller 3BG
    Creature - Human Shaman (U)
    Enhance (Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, you may tap this and pay B/G. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on that creature.)
    Whenever Carrion Caller enhances a creature, put a 2/2 black Zombie creature token onto the battlefield.
    3/2

    And cycles, using the "do this if you paid (color)" cycle to do a cycle of creatures that do something on ETB, then something synergistic with said thing if you paid (color) as well:

    Sahleen Spiritualist 1W
    Creature - Human Cleric (U)
    When Sahleen Spiritualist enters the battlefield, put a +1/+1 counter on another target creature you control. Then, if you spent G to cast Sahleen Spiritualist, you gain life equal to that creature’s power.
    2/1

    Rimid Thoughtdrinker 4B
    Creature - Vampire Wizard (U)
    Flying
    When Rimid Thoughtdrinker enters the battlefield, target player discards a card. Then, if U was spent to cast Rimid Thoughtdrinker, you may draw X cards, where X is 3 minus the number of cards in that player’s hand.
    3/3

    Grohm Oxherd 3G
    Creature - Human Druid (U)
    When Grohm Oxherd enters the battlefield, put a 3/3 red Ox creature token onto the battlefield. Then, if R was spent to cast Grohm Oxherd, creatures you control gain haste until end of turn.
    1/1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also had some interesting ideas while thinking about those Skullkin guys from the Shadowmoor sets:

      Towering Wickerman 4
      Artifact Creature - Golem (U)
      If you control a green permanent, Towering Wickerman gets +1/+1 and has “1G: Regenerate Towering Wickerman”.
      If you control a red permanent, Towering Wickerman gets +1/+1 and has haste.
      2/2

      Ragged Trickster 2
      Artifact Creature - Scarecrow (U)
      If you control a red permanent, Ragged Trickster has “R, T: Ragged Trickster deals 1 damage to target creature or player.”.
      If you control a blue permanent, Ragged Trickster has “1U: Untap Ragged Trickster.”.
      1/1

      Metallic Wraith 5
      Artifact Creature - Construct Spirit (U)
      If you control a blue permanent, Metallic Wraith gets +1/+1 and has flying.
      If you control a black permanent, Metallic Wraith gets +1/+1 and has “Whenever Metallic Wraith deals combat damage to a player, that player discards a card.”
      2/2

      Ironforged Peacekeeper
      Artifact Creature - Soldier (U)
      If you control a red permanent, Ironforged Peacekeeper gets +1/+1.
      If you control a white permanent, Ironforged Peacekeeper gets +1/+1.
      0/0

      Bonehauler Golem 4
      Artifact Creature - Golem (U)
      If you control a green permanent, Bonehauler Golem gets +1/+1 for each land card in your graveyard.
      If you control a black permanent, Bonehauler Golem gets +1/+1 for each creature card in your graveyard.

      Faceless Assassin 4
      Artifact Creature - Construct Assassin (U)
      If you control a black permanent, Faceless Assassin has deathtouch.
      If you control a white permanent, Faceless Assassin has first strike.
      3/2

      Rusted Enforcer 5
      Artifact Creature - Golem Warrior (U)
      If you control a black permanent, Rusted Enforcer has intimidate.
      If you control a red permanent, Rusted Enforcer has “Whenever Rusted Enforcer deals combat damage to a player, it deals that much damage to target creature that player controls.”
      3/2

      Rattling Serpent 4
      Artifact Creature - Snake Construct (U)
      If you control a blue permanent, Rattling Serpent gets +1/+1 and has “Whenever Rattling Serpent deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card.”
      If you control a green permanent, Rattling Serpent gets +1/+1 and has trample.
      1/1

      Vinewrapped Hero 3
      Artifact Creature - Construct Knight (U)
      If you control a green permanent, other creatures you control get +1/+0.
      If you control a white permanent, other creatures you control get +0/+1.
      2/2

      Silent Protector 6
      Artifact Creature - Golem (U)
      If you control a blue permanent, Silent Protector gets +1/+1 and has “Whenever Silent Protector attacks, you may tap target creature.”
      If you control a white permanent, Silent Protector gets +1/+1 and has “Whenever a creature you don’t control becomes tapped, that creature doesn’t untap during its controller’s next untap step.”
      2/2

      Some are clearly less powerful than others, but it was a fun exercise to fill out the cycle.

      Delete
    2. Missed the P/T on the BG one, it's a 0/0.

      Delete
    3. Haha and I missed the costs for the WR one, it costs 1.

      Delete
    4. Enhance is a cool mechanic. although it's going to cause the same confusion for Commander players that extort did.

      Delete
  9. The +1/-1 on Chimera can't be worth it. It's marginal, often negative, and mathy. Mostly though, it just doesn't add to the primary effect which is to inherit abilities among your creatures. Maybe one of the Chimeras has "~ gets +1/-1 for each creature it has inherited abilities from."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. I wanted to capture frail but powerful flavor of biomancy that was driving this, as that's a major part of the guild's identity, but maybe that can just be captured with general P>T creatures, and no specific mechanic forcing them that way.

      Delete
  10. Maybe reverse-Evolve would work here:

    Tyrant Boar 2GG
    Creature-Boar (cmn)
    Tyrant (Whenever a creature ETB under your control with lower power or toughness, put a +1/+1 counter on CARDNAME.)
    3/3

    That might prove way too easy to trigger. Alternately,
    Tyrant (Whenever a creature ETB, if its power is the same as CARDNAME's, put a +1/+1 counter on CARDNAME.)

    Which leads me to:
    Tyrant (When CARDNAME ETB, put a +1/+1 counter on it for each creature you control with lower power.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't decide whether or not I like the last version better. It will make players hold on to their Tyrants, and on the one hand, Magic is more fun when you're casting spells, but it does also lead to a better interest curve when the haymakers come late. I guess I'd want to playtest it with some newer players and see just how long they wanted to wait. It's probably not an issue as long as they're willing to cast Tyrants once they've run out of smaller creatures in hand.

      Delete
    2. How about triggering on lower power *and* toughness? That makes it easier to control how often the trigger will happen.

      Delete
  11. Is the block looking at a 4-3-3 split of guilds like the original Ravnica? I liked Return's approach better.

    A cycle to consider:

    Green-Dude 2G
    Creature-dude (unc at least)
    The GW keyword.
    The GR keyword.

    That might not work with the caste-based creative we've got for Suvnica, but I know a lot of players were looking forward to a cycle like this in Dragon's Maze.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was definitely hoping for this, but in a 4-3-3 block it would be a logistical nightmare. Also, when I was trying to armchair-design a cycle of these for Dragon's Maze, I ran into the issue that some mechanics (e.g. cipher) just don't work on creatures, period.

      Delete
    2. For now I'm pretty set on a 4-3-3 model - I felt that it was much more novel than the 2 big 5/5 split. I also felt that the guilds had much more room to breathe in Rav 1.0, but that was also a consequence of larger set sizes at the time.

      Delete
    3. But one of the problems with Rav 1.0 that MaRo talked about is that the guilds in small sets didn't have room to breathe!

      I'd urge you to consider the 5-5-10 model as it would allow us to flesh out each Guild fully and do whatever is logical for the Guild without making concession to space-saving tricks.

      Also, Dragon's Maze didn't prioritize advancing each guild's theme at all, but if we wanted to, there's plenty of room for Guild-centric stuff in the third set.

      The way I see Dragon's Maze is this:
      1. They kept the number of multicolor commons very low (to make drafting less of a headache).
      2. They kept most of the common Guild keyword cards in mono-color cards (to make sure decks of different color orientations can mix and match guild keywords).
      3. They made sure the power level of multicolor cards were higher than the power level of monocolor cards (for good drafting strategy).

      What happens when you put 1, 2, and 3 together? Boring Guild keyword commons like Wake the Reflections. That's one set of choices they made to prioritize a kind of drafting logistics that makes you mix and match guilds, but if we wanted to use the third set to show more of the Guilds and advance them, that should be possible too as a different direction.

      Delete
    4. I agree with Chah, here. As I implied about the Police keyword punishing 3 color deck, I believe Suvnica should be truly guild-centric (i.e. genuinely encourage you to focus on a specific guild) rather than multicolor centric (i.e. encouraging you to play many colors). This is going to be harder to do with a 4/3/3 distribution.

      Delete
    5. I like the way 5-5-10 gave every guild equal representation. While you can't even out the number of cards opened in 4-3-3, you could at least even out guild representation:

      Maybe all three sets contain cards from every guild, but only the keywords from the featured guilds? So in the large set, we see two-color cards from all ten combinations, but only four of them have keywords. Etc. (Not saying I like that better, just exploring options).

      Delete
    6. After reading this subthread, I gave some though to just doing 10/10/10, but I really think that is going to cause havoc in drafting. I want to stress that this is not something we have to lose a whole lot of sleep over -- I'm not positive we'll be developing this to the point that we'll ever playtest drafts, so we're allowed to engage in some fantasy designing (ie pretend that drafting and as-fan aren't huge considerations in development).

      I'm going to give more thought to the overall block structure over the weekend, and if I decide to go differently than 4/3/3, I'll let everyone know.

      Delete
  12. Part 1: I'm going to make modal spells that keep adding another mode and increase in rarity. So the first set would have a common cycle of two-modal spells.

    Sahleen Judgment - GW
    Instant (common)
    Choose one -- Destroy target enchantment; or target creature gains vigilance and trample until end of turn.

    The next set would have charms (three modes) at uncommon.

    Rimid Charm - UB
    Instant (uncommon)
    Choose one -- Look at target player's hand. Draw a card; or target creature gets -2/-2; or players can't search their library this turn.

    The final set would have commands (four modes, choose two) at rare.

    Grohm Command - 3GR
    Sorcery (rare)
    Choose two -- Search your library for a land card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library; or Grohm Command deals 3 damage to up to two target creatures; or creatures you control get +2/+0 until end of turn; or creatures you control have "Whenever this creature deals combat damage to an opponent, you may draw a card" until end of turn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rimid Charm's second mode should be "target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn." It might need another {1} in its mana cost or something.

      Delete
    2. Multicolor commands? Sign me up! Too bad we only get 3...

      Delete
    3. lpaulsen points out the major problem with this. It really feels like seven guilds are getting shafted by the time you get to the end of the set. I think that commands would make an awesome cycle for all the guilds, but not necessarily part of an evolving cycle.

      Delete
  13. Wow, doing evolving cycles is HARD!

    Sahleen Blessing- 1W
    Enchantment (Uncommon)
    Enchant creature. Enchanted creature gets +2/+2.
    G, Sacrifice CARDNAME: Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.

    The initial version is an enchantment that is also a combat trick if you have the correct mana.

    Rimid Blessing- 2U
    Enchantment (Uncommon)
    Enchant creature. Enchanted creature doesn't untap during its controller's untap step. B, Sacrifice CARDNAME: Target creature doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step.

    The same idea works for negative Auras, too. This seems like the kind of blessing the Rimid vampires might bestow.

    Grohm Blessing- 1R
    Enchantment (Uncommon)
    Enchant creature. Enchanted creature gets +3/+3 and can't be blocked except by two or more creatures.
    At the end of your turn, if CARDNAME entered the battlefield this turn, sacrifice it unless you pay 1G.

    The last evolution was the hardest. In this case you get the combat trick for sure, but don't always keep the Aura. Of course it's possible to put flash on these-- although that could get pretty wordy.

    Feedback welcome and appreciated. Gilrog mechanics to follow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You fell into the trap of doing the monocolor ones. Now you have to do the reverse for each guild you choose (G Aura with W activation, etc.) You can change rarity for the reverse direction cycle.

      Delete
    2. On second thought, scratch the whole thing. It's too complicated to do at common, and it doesn't really make sense at rare. Instead... guild lands!

      Sahleen Neighborhood
      Land (Rare)
      CARDNAME enters the battlefield tapped.
      T: Add G or W to your mana pool.
      4GW, T, Sacrifice CARDNAME: Put a 4/4 green Elf Warrior token with vigilance onto the battlefield.

      It looks like the Sahleen found one of their fated champions in this neighborhood. Besides, I always thought that Grove of the Guardian should have been part of a cycle.

      Rimid Neighborhood
      CARDNAME enters the battlefield tapped.
      T: Add U or B to your mana pool.
      2UB, T, Sacrifice CARDNAME: Target player discards a card and you draw a card.

      Apparently the Rimid don't treat their neighborhoods quite so well. Instead of turning into creatures, these lands turn into spells.

      Grohm Neighborhood
      CARDNAME enters the battlefield tapped.
      T: Add R or G to your mana pool.
      3GR, T: CARDNAME becomes an enchantment with "Creatures you control get +1/+0 and have haste and trample" and no other abilities.

      The logical conclusion: lands that turn into enchantments! Apparently Grohm neighborhoods tend to speed creatures on their way. I wasn't sure creating enchantment tokens was a good idea, so I went for this implementation instead.

      Delete
    3. I really like that cycle, and the way it evolves. Very cool implementation. They would definitely need some development (If feel like the Rimid land is a little one the weak side compared to the other two), but great concept.

      Delete
  14. Based on Jay's mechanic ideas, I was thinking that the Gilrog (with their emphasis on biological superiority) would really like to curve out well. Hmm, how to reward them for doing that?

    Oh... maybe we could make an ability word that cares about it?

    Exploit-- If you have spent at least 1 mana for each land you control since your last upkeep, [effect].


    Cards:

    Gilrog Emissary- 2G
    Creature- Elf Druid (Common)
    2/2
    Exploit-- CARDNAME enters the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters on it if you have spent at least 1 mana for each land you control since your last upkeep.

    Gilrog Exemplar- 2BB
    Creature- Zombie Warrior (Common)
    3/3
    Exploit-- CARDNAME has intimidate as long as you have spent at least 1 mana for each land you control since your last upkeep.

    Gilrog Execution- BG
    Instant (Common)
    Destroy target creature unless it's black or green. Exploit-- If you have spent at least 1 mana for each land you control since your last upkeep, instead destroy target creature, period.

    [Looking for better ways to template that one! Help appreciated.]

    Reclaim the Experiments- XBG
    Sorcery (Uncommon)
    Return X target creature cards from your graveyard to your hand. Exploit-- If you have spent at least 1 mana for each land you control since your last upkeep, you gain X life.

    Purveyor of Strength- 4BB
    Creature- Shade (Rare)
    4/4
    Lands you control produce an additional B when tapped.
    Exploit-- As long as you have spent at least 1 mana for each land you control since your last upkeep, creatures you control have "B: This creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn."

    Triumph of the Dominant
    Sorcery- 2GGG
    Creatures you control get +3/+3 until end of turn.
    Exploit- If you have spent at least 1 mana for each land you control since your last upkeep, creatures you control gain trample and "This creature must be blocked if able" until end of turn.

    Feedback welcome and appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Riffing:

      War Bear 1G
      Creature-Bear (cmn)
      Curve Out — If the next spell you cast has CMC 1 higher, put a +1/+1 counter on ~.

      Exploit and Curve Out have two issues. The first is memory, and the second is similar to Evolve's biggest problem: It's amazing when you curve out but anemic when you don't. Since curving out is naturally strong and stumbling is naturally weak, it plays like a win-more mechanic.

      Delete
    2. Curve out has less memory issues, which is much more damning than being a win-more mechanic.

      What if the mechanic just counted your lands as it came into play for the bonus.

      Unbearable Pun 2G
      Creature - Bear
      Peak efficiency -- When ~ ETB, if you control 3 lands or less, put a +1/+1 counter on it.
      2/2

      Delete
    3. I'm hopeful that Exploit wouldn't create too many memory issues: under normal circumstances you just have to check whether all lands you control are tapped.

      As for the win-more aspect, it's definitely there, but being on curve is enough of an incremental advantage that I'm hoping it feels more like landfall: "Great, I wanted to do that anyway!"

      That said, I like Peak Efficiency as a simplified way to do pretty much the same thing. Using only ETB and spell effects would definitely be helpful for the memory issues.

      Delete
  15. For Gilrog, I see them as being "How much do you really want to risk to beat us?" And as such, Outmatch X:
    Outmatch X (As you cast this spell, any player may discard X cards. If a player does, counter this spell, and that player loses X life.)
    Having a big drawback like this means that while it looks at face value to be a Rhystic thing ("You can seriously just match my mana investment to stop me? Lame.") you actually have to choose which beaters you want to stop. The Gilrog can have a bunch of undercosted or unbalanced effects all the way down to common, and function as a BG Control / Reanimator deck (If you can only be outmatched when you CAST the spell, then just reanimate the creatures instead.)

    Take Knowledge 1BG
    Sorcery (c)
    Draw two cards and gain 2 life.
    Outmatch 2
    (Either I get cards and life or you lose life and cards.)

    Eye of Gilrog 1BG
    Creature - Beast Horror (u)
    Outmatch 3
    5/5
    (Do you want me to beat your face in with this fatty over time, or do you just want to suck up a hit now to deal with it?)

    Gilrog Overlord 4BG
    Creature - Human Wizard
    Deathtouch
    Spells your opponents cast have Outmatch 2.
    3/3
    (In the late game, when you've planned it right, now you decide when they lose out.)

    Best thing is, this is player (at the moment) so if you're feeling confident with your plans, you can counter your own spell to ditch stuff to the GY.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Recommended reprints: Based on my submissions so far, Vision Skeins and Delirium Skeins seem good. Gilrog being in the last set means Putrefy might need printing to make up for artefact cycles.
      Potentially a functional reprint of Korozda Gorgon as discussed above to take advantage of the counter theme. While they might be slightly different sorts of counter, they can all make you bleed all the same.

      Delete
    2. My problem with Outmatch is that it just might be the Spikeiest mechanic I've ever seen, and I imagine a good deal of players (myself included) would be absolutely miserable playing against it.

      Delete
    3. @Ben - it's actually reverse-spikey: it puts the strategic decisions in your opponents control. It does play in a very similar space to the punisher mechanic, which is a red thing.

      I'm not sure I like outmatch. Even though it allows for undercosted spells or loss of life/cards, it still feels like a drawback mechanic.

      Delete
    4. Spike likes to make his opponent make spikey decisions because he believes his opponent is worse at it.

      Delete
    5. I think any spell with outmatch 3 or greater is simply going to resolve 90% of the time. I love Take Knowledge and hate Eye. This is miles better than the punisher mechanic.

      Delete
  16. We might consider a keyword that supports a strategy already popular for existing BG decks. For instance, playing one threat at a time that the opponent has to deal with, looking to win the long game through virtual- and standard- card advantage. You could do that with the Loner mechanic, but eh; Instead, let's give the Rock player more options.

    Thriving Megacol 3GG
    Creature-Beast (common)
    Unkillable (If ~ would die, you may sacrifice another creature instead. If you do, regenerate ~.)
    4/4

    Enriched Bear 1G
    Creature-Bear (common)
    Enriched 1G (When ~ dies, you may 1G. If you do, draw a card.)
    2/2

    Fertilizing Zombie 2B
    Creature-Zombie (common)
    Fertilizer (When ~ dies, look at the top card of your library. If it's a creature card, you may reveal it and put it into your hand.)
    3/1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure Unkillable will either be anemic or lead to some unfun gameplay, but Fertilizer has potential. I'm trying to figure out how to make it a little bit more exciting, but haven't come up with a clean solution. Maybe this messy one will inspire someone else:

      Fertilizer (When ~ dies, exile cards from the top of your library until you exile a creature card. You may cast that creature, then put all cards exiled this way into your graveyard.)

      This at least allows for some lenticular gameplay with experienced players sacrificing their Fertilizer creatures in response to spells hoping for a specific out.

      Delete
    2. Nice.

      Fertilizing Botanoid 2BG
      Creature-Plant (common)
      Fertilizer (When ~ dies, reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a creature card. You may cast that card. Put all other cards revealed this way into your graveyard.)
      3/3

      Delete
    3. @Jules - that fertilizer variant is really interesting. I would love to playtest that one.

      Delete
  17. Here's another version of Circéus's Leech idea, for part 2.

    Grilog Spider {2}{G}
    Creature - Spider
    1/3
    Reach
    Leech 2 (You may have this enter the battlefield leeching another creature you control. That creature gets -2/-2 and this creature gets +2/+2 as long as they're both on the battlefield.)

    Parasitic Bat {2}{B}
    Creature - Bat
    0/2
    Flying, lifelink
    Leech 2 (You may have this enter the battlefield leeching another creature you control. That creature gets -2/-2 and this creature gets +2/+2 as long as they're both on the battlefield.)

    Bloodvine Initiate {2}{G}
    Creature - Plant Human Druid
    1/2
    Leech 1 (You may have this enter the battlefield leeching another creature you control. That creature gets -1/-1 and this creature gets +1/+1 as long as they're both on the battlefield.)
    T: Add an amount of G to your mana pool equal to ~'s power.

    Bloodquencher Wurm {4}{G}{B}
    Creature - Wurm
    5/5
    Leech 5 (You may have this enter the battlefield leeching another creature you control. That creature gets -5/-5 and this creature gets +5/+5 as long as they're both on the battlefield.)
    Trample

    Bloodvine Hound {3}{G}{B}
    Creature - Plant Dog
    3/3
    Leech 3 (You may have this enter the battlefield leeching another creature you control. That creature gets -3/-3 and this creature gets +3/+3 as long as they're both on the battlefield.)
    {G/B}, Sacrifice the leeched creature: Regenerate ~.

    Vine Trellis {1}{G}
    Creature - Wall
    Defender
    T: Add G to your mana pool.
    0/4

    Greater Basilisk {3}{G}{G}
    Creature - Basilisk
    Deathtouch
    3/5

    Bloodpet Keeper {4}{B}{B} (Rare)
    Creature - Vampire
    3/3
    Flying
    Leech 3
    As ~ enters the battlefield, gain control of a creature an opponent controls. If you do, ~ must leech that creature if able.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. The high-numbered leech abilities might actually be weaker, since they'll kill most creatures they would leech off of. Mostly we would want leech numbers that are smaller than the actual creature's P/T so that players can curve out well. Alternatively, you might consider having leech trigger when the other creature enters the battlefield. Soulbond-style wording may be useful here.

      Delete
    2. The concept behind this would be this:

      The Grilog are a guild lead by scientists or shamans who study vampirism for the purpose of creating a powerful army. The idea is that you can create a strong warrior by having it suck the life force out of lesser warriors.

      One of their greatest inventions so far is the Bloodvine, a kind of plant that entangles its prey with bloodsucking tendrils. Many creatures, including humans, can be magically/biologically infused with this plant material to gain the ability to suck blood.

      Their army has powerful beaters that have swollen with the power of ingested blood, as well as willing providers of that blood. It is a relationship that is simultaneously communal (Green) and exploitative (Black).

      Delete
    3. Another possible wording is:
      Leech 2 (At the beginning of each combat step, you may have this get +2/+2 and another creature you control get -2/-2 until end of turn.)

      Delete
    4. This mechanic is interesting, but I fear it's just a less fun Soulbond for all but the Spikiest of players. Of course, Soulbond's a lot of fun, so that still might be a fun mechanic, but I'd like to experiment a bit more.

      Leech (Whenever ~ blocks or becomes blocked, you may tap any number of other untapped creatures without Leech you control. ~ gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each creature tapped this way and those creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn.)

      Hmm...I'm not really sure if the blocking clause does enough to differentiate this from Exalted, and the -1/-1 will usually only matter on defense. Perhaps:

      Leech (Whenever ~ attacks or blocks you may have it leech off of any number of other attacking or blocking creatures you control. ~ gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each creature it's leeching off of and those creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn.)

      Requiring the other creatures to be in combat makes the drain relevant more of the time, but there's probably too much board complexity attacking into a Leech creature.

      Delete
    5. I agree that large Leech numbers are very hard to use, and not even much better when you can. I also want to reiterate a point that was already made: This is very close to Exalted and we need to differentiate both in gameplay and concept.

      Leech [cost] ([cost], Another creature you control gets -1/-1 until EOT: ~ gets +1/+1 until EOT. Leech only as a sorcery.)

      Leech +1/+1 (When ~ ETB, exile a creature with toughness less than ~'s power under it. As long as it remains exiled, ~ gets +1/+1. When ~ LTB, return the exiled card to the battlefield under its owner's control.)

      Whenever ~ attacks, leech 1 (To leech, put one -1/-1 counter on another target creature. ~ gets +1/+1 until EOT.)

      Leech 1 (When ~ ETB, put a -1/-1 counter on another target creature. ~ gets +1/+1 for each -1/-1 counter on creatures opponents control.)

      Delete
    6. @Jules
      I don't think that this is a mechanic for Spikes, it's for the same type of players that like Auras. (Those who like seeing creatures transform into a different mode, and those who like building huge creatures out of parts). I think it's Spikes that will eschew the mechanic because of the risk.

      Shrinking something might feel bad psychologically, even though if the same mechanic said "choose two creatures and merge their power and toughness" it would almost be the same thing and most people would agree that Timmies would love that. But I think it's ok as one Guild rather than a block-wide theme. Some players might really love blocking and feel uncomfortable playing Rakdos's Unleash because of it; those players can play Selesnya or Azorius instead.

      We want to avoid making this as risky as Devour. But I think it could work pretty well if it has some enabler creatures at common with high toughness such as utility walls.

      Delete
    7. @Jay
      Leech [cost] ([cost], Another creature you control gets -1/-1 until EOT: ~ gets +1/+1 until EOT. Leech only as a sorcery.)

      The cost of non-lethally leeching a creature that wasn't going attack is negligible, so this feels like a shade ability that just lets you pump up to 2-3 times on an average board. Oftentimes, when you weren't going to maximally pump the shade anyways because you wanted to cast something else, it would feel exactly like a shade.

      Maybe it could cost no mana, and tap the creature it's leeching if it isn't tapped?

      Leech +1/+1 (When ~ ETB, exile a creature with toughness less than ~'s power under it. As long as it remains exiled, ~ gets +1/+1. When ~ LTB, return the exiled card to the battlefield under its owner's control.)

      I don't know what flavor would best represent this mechanic, but it looks very fun and something players would enjoy.

      Delete
  18. Part 1:

    Pick a cycle that we've already discussed, or create your own.

    I'm gonna create a new one :)

    Create a card (or two!) for Sahleen for that cycle to be used in Suvnica, the first set of the Suvnica block.

    Fabled Champion 2GG
    Creature - Warrior (R)
    When you cast CARDNAME, put three white 1/1 soldier tokens onto the battlefield if you control a plains.
    4/4

    Create a card (or two!) for Rimid, evolving that cycle in some way, for the second set of the Suvnica block.

    Fabled Mastermind 2BB
    Creature - Vampire (R)
    When you cast CARDNAME, gain control of target creature. Sacrifice it at the end of turn unless you control an island.
    2/2

    Create a card (or - you guessed it - two!) for Grohm, either evolving that cycle further or evolving it in a different way, for the third set of the Suvnica block.

    Fabled Revolution 4RR
    Sorcery (R)
    When you cast CARDNAME, if you control a forest, regenerate each creature you control.
    CARDNAME deals 4 damage to each creature and player.

    Part 2:

    Come up with a keyword idea for the Gilrog guild, and offer examples.

    I dislike the focus on high-power, low-toughness, as Green and Black are two of the colors with endurable creatures. Instead, I feel like they should be focusing on growing their creatures through some other cost.

    Siphon (to siphon, remove a counter from another permanent and put a +1/+1 counter on CARDNAME. Siphon only as a sorcery)

    I don't know how clean this is and how well it is going to play, but I really prefer +1/+1 counters to fate counters. If we do go with +1/+1 counters, I feel like the other guild mechanics revolving around them would be Sahleen (probably having a mechanic that lets you put them on other creatures and then some champions-in-spe with abilities worth building them up for), Radkar and Sorba. Preferably at least one guild in each set.

    On to examples!

    Siphon Bear 1G
    Creature - Elf (C)
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, siphon.
    2/2

    Siphon Cleric B
    Creature - Cleric (C)
    3B: Siphon.
    1/1

    Siphon Wurm 3BG
    Creature - Wurm (U)
    Trample. Whenever CARDNAME becomes blocked, siphon.
    4/4

    Siphon Horror 3BB
    Creature - Horror (R)
    Other creatures get -1/-1 for each +1/+1 counter on CARDNAME.
    B: Siphon.
    3/3

    Optional Challenge:

    Come up with good names for Sets 2 and 3 of the Suvnica block.

    SUVNICA:
    Zhavi, Tezzi, Sahleen, Rakdar
    THREADS OF FATE:
    Rimid, Sorba, Kisme
    UNRAVELLING:
    Gilrog, Grohm, Suiroza

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  19. By the way, I put up a comment in the Zhavi post.

    http://goblinartisans.blogspot.jp/2013/06/suvnica-week-8-review-part-2-zhavi.html#more

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  20. Ok, cycle suggestion, which depends on block design.
    For each guild, they get 2 commons and 2 uncommons.
    The commons are in the set they belong to. Each of the uncommons is in a set they don't belong to - i.e. Sahleen gets a G card and a W card in Survica, an uncommon W card in Crosswinds, and an uncommon G card in Set Three.

    I suggest this because if we really are doing 4-3-3 then the problem with original Ravnica comes back - after the first set, your guild never shows up again. Even a small presence in each other set through synergy or helpful effects helps flavour etc etc.

    Sahleen (Set One)
    Order of Sahleen 1WW
    Creature - Human Cleric (c)
    If G was spent to cast ~, it enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it and has first strike.
    2/2
    (If a counter based mechanic is used for Sahleen, this card could enter with a counter of that type.)

    Rhox Initiate 1GG
    Creature - Rhino Warrior (c)
    If W was spent to cast ~, it enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it and has trample.
    3/2

    Spiritbound Hydra 5G (Set Two Uncommon)
    Creature - Hydra (u)
    Trample
    3G: Put two +1/+1 counters on ~. If GW was spent to activate this ability, it has Vigilance until end of turn.
    4/4

    Elvish Mystic W (Set Three Uncommon)
    Creature - Elf Cleric (u)
    2W, T: Prevent the next 2 damage that would be dealt to another target creature this turn. If GW was spent to activate this ability, prevent all damage that would be dealt instead.
    1/1

    Zhavi (Set One)
    Legal Dispute 2W
    Instant (c)
    Tap target creature. It doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step. If W was spent to cast Legal Dispute, destroy that creature instead.
    (While evidence is levelled against the creature, it needs to be kept in stasis. The Black is when the judgment has already been made.)

    Toll Extractor 1BB
    Creature - Kor Cleric (c)
    When ~ enters the battlefield, if you spent W to cast it, target player gains 2 life and ~ has lifelink.
    2/2

    Zhavi Dispatcher 1W (Set Two Uncommon)
    Creature - Kor Assassin (u)
    2W: Target creature has Lifelink until end of turn. If WB was spent to activate this ability, that creature has Deathtouch until end of turn.
    2/2

    Pact Shadow 1B (Set Three Uncommon)
    Creature - Shade (u)
    Flying
    2B: ~ has +1/+1 until end of turn. If WB was spent to activate this ability, target player loses 1 life.
    1/1
    (Note: If set three is in the vein of Dissension, this could be flavoured as a repercussion of the pact's breaking.)

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  21. Rimid (Set Two)
    Set Two Reprint: Induce Paranoia (c)

    Sample Spirit 2B
    Sorcery (c)
    Target player reveals his or her hand. Choose a nonland card from it. That player discards the chosen card. If U was spent to cast ~, choose two cards instead.

    Gravesnatcher 3U (Set One Uncommon)
    Creature - Vampire (u)
    1U: Target player puts the top card of his or her library into his or her graveyard. If UB was spent to activate that ability, and that card was a creature card, ~ has its abilities until end of turn.
    2/3

    Rimid Gutterspy 1B
    Creature - Rat (u)
    When ~ enters the battlefield, target player discards a card. If U was spent to cast ~, draw a card.
    1/1

    Tezzi:
    Evading Justice 1U
    Sorcery (c)
    Target creature can’t be blocked this turn. If R was spent to cast Evading Justice, whenever that creature deals combat damage to a player this turn, it deals 1 damage to target creature.

    Tezzi Smokewalker 2R
    Creature - Elemental Rogue (c)
    Haste
    When ~ enters the battlefield, if U was spent to cast it, it can't be blocked this turn.
    2/1

    Chargesetter 2U (Set 2 Uncommon)
    Creature - Human Rogue (u)
    1U, T: Tap target creature. If UR was spent to activate this ability, ~ deals 2 damage to that creature.
    1/1
    "Pretty good moves for a man on fire."

    Tezzi Smokesculptor 3R (Set 3 Uncommon)
    Creature - Elemental Shaman (u)
    2R: Target creature has +2/+0 until end of turn. If UR was spent to activate this ability, that creature has Flying until end of turn.
    2/2

    Gilrog:
    Essence Trader 1B
    Creature - Elf Druid (c)
    When ~ enters the battlefield, if G was spent to cast it, you gain 3 life.
    B, Pay one life: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
    1/1

    Ocular Basilisk 2GG
    Creature - Basilisk Horror (c)
    Flying, Deathtouch
    When ~ enters the battlefield, if B was spent to cast it, other creatures have -1/-1 until end of turn.
    2/2

    Wasted Experiment 4B (Set One Uncommon)
    Creature - Beast Horror (u)
    Intimidate
    1B: ~ becomes the color of your choice until end of turn. If BG was spent to activate this ability, you may have it become colorless until end of turn instead.
    4/3

    Gilrog Leech 1G (Set Two Uncommon)
    Creature - Leech (u)
    1G: ~ has +1/+1 until end of turn. If BG was spent to activate this ability, target creature has -1/-1 until end of turn.
    1/1

    Grohm:
    Wildsong Elemental 2R
    Creature - Elemental (c)
    Flash
    When ~ etb, sac unless G was spent to cast it.
    When ~ etb, target creature has +2/+0 until end of turn.
    2/2

    Hearthstoker 1G
    Creature - Human Warrior Scout (c)
    When ~ enters the battlefield, if R was spent to cast it, search your library for a Forest card and put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.
    1/1

    Grohm Farstrider 3G (Set 1 Uncommon)
    Creature - Giant Warrior
    When ~ enters the battlefield, if R was spent to cast it, it has +2/+0 until end of turn.
    When ~ enters the battlefield, it fights another target creature.
    3/2
    "A Grohm would go anywhere if he could guarantee a fight and a tale from it."

    Grohm Flamekeeper 3R (Set 2 Uncommon)
    Creature - Human Barbarian (u)
    3R, T: Destroy target artefact. If RG was spent to activate this ability, ~ deals 3 damage to its controller.
    3/3
    "The hearth is the heart of the family, and the centre of each days questing. It is extinguished only when the breath of its guardian is."

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