Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Designing Suvnica, Week 14: Present Tense

Here we are -- the last week of keyword design challenges. I'll probably be taking a week or two off after this to figure out where we're going next with Suvnica (and to catch up on card reviews -- I know I'm a few weeks behind). Let's wrap up this stage and dive into Kismi and Sorba.

What Evil Lurks in the Hearts of Guilds

For the current creative vision of the Sorba, take a look at their Guild Profile Page




I was tinkering around with non-permanent mechanics for a little while, since these colors and philosophy are going to love their combat tricks, but I couldn't get anything to really stick. Ultimately I settled on trying to capture the protector/avenger of the meek aspect. Avenge is not going to reward you for being overly aggressive, but is going to punish your opponent for attacking in when it's too tempting not to. That gives me some concern about discouraging combat, but I would need to see it playtested. This is definitely a pretty narrow mechanic - there aren't that many variations of effects from this type of trigger that really make sense. I do think its wide enough for a guild mechanic though.


Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kismi, Kill Me

For the current creative vision of the Kismi, take a look at their Guild Profile Page




This is a lot of lines for an ability word trigger, which makes me question the value of this ability from the start. The biggest problem here is that the Kismi really just want to have scry as the guild mechanic, but reprint mechanics don't work for guild mechanics (nor do they give us as much of a design challenge when designing Suvnica). In any event, the Kismi would have support for this ability: library manipulation, card drawing, etc. 

That's it for me. Let's see what keywords you all can come up with for our last two guilds. 

Shanah Tovah Umetukah,

33 comments:

  1. For the Sorba I really want to capture a feeling of a chosen champion of the people. The Hero is strengthened by their mission and by those they protect and serve, but they don't always choose to be a hero. Some come to it naturally, yes, but others come to it because of a calling, they are pulled into the fight kicking and screaming because it's their destiny. The Sorba Mechanic Chosen One embodies that, allowing you to pick any creature you control and elevate them to the status of hero.

    By itself it does nothing, but each card with it gives a bonus to Heroes, meaning that even with just one you will always get a benefit.

    Protector of the Weak WR (C)
    Creature - Human Warrior
    Chosen One (Whenever this creature enters the battlefield or dies, if you don't control a hero you may put a hero counter on a creature you control. That creature is a Hero in addition to its other types.)

    Heroes you control get +1/+1 and have first strike.
    2/2

    Although Chosen One requires tokens, there should usually be just one Hero token for each player which keeps the complexity down. When your Chosen One dies some young citizen is inspired by their example to takes their place. This prevents the Sorba deck from being a glass cannon. Red and White should always be able to deploy creatures and the Sorba will always be able to choose one.

    Regardless, you'll want a way to protect your hero.

    Noble Mentor 1WW (C)
    Creature - Human Cleric
    Chosen One (Whenever this creature enters the battlefield or dies, if you don't control a hero you may put a hero counter on a creature you control. That creature is a Hero in addition to its other types.)

    Sacrifice Noble Mentor: Target creature is indestructible until end of turn. If that creature is a hero, put a +1/+1 counter on it.
    1/3

    Grizzled Veteran 1RW (U)
    Creature - Dwarf Warrior
    Chosen One (Whenever this creature enters the battlefield or dies, if you don't control a hero you may put a hero counter on a creature you control. That creature is a Hero in addition to its other types.)
    1R: Target hero gets +1/+0 until end of turn.
    3W: Target hero gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn.
    2/2

    For the most part you will only ever control one Hero, but sometimes the story calls for a whole village to take up arms.

    Firelight Archon 3RW (R)
    Creature - Archon Warrior
    Chosen One (Whenever this creature enters the battlefield or dies, if you don't control a hero you may put a hero counter on a creature you control. That creature is a Hero in addition to its other types.)
    2RW: Put a hero counter on target creature.
    Heroes get +1/+1 for each other hero you control.
    3/4

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Riffing:

      Sorba Vigilante 1W
      1/1 Human Soldier (cmn)
      Support 1 (When ~ ETB, put a +1/+1 counter on a creature you control with the most +1/+1 counters on it.)

      Vengeance Caster 2R
      2/1 Human Wizard (unc)
      Support 1 (When ~ ETB, put a +1/+1 counter on a creature you control with the most +1/+1 counters on it.)
      XR: Target creature gets +X/+0 until EOT. X can't be more than the number of +1/+1 counters on it.

      Sorba Warfighter 1RW
      1/1 Human Soldier (rare)
      Support 2 (When ~ ETB, put two +1/+1 counters on a creature you control with the most +1/+1 counters on it.)
      Creatures you control with +1/+1 counters on them have haste and first strike.

      Delete
    2. If you don't have any counters, what happens? Does my Elite Vanguard's 0 +1/+1 counters technically count as the most if that's the only creature I control?

      I'm super into how much cleaner the templating is here, though +1/+1 counters feel sorta generic. I do think it's a fair trade-off though, since you get so much more space to build around for the support abilities.

      Delete
    3. That's the idea, yeah. If there's a tie, or if none have counters, you can choose any creature.

      Delete
    4. Then I love it! The only bit I don't like is the name. To be clear, that's not because it's a bad name or unfitting for Sorba, but it isn't really what I'm going for with my particular design. Support strikes a chord of militiaship and it brings the focus to the supporter, I want the focus on the supported, the Hero. Chosen One isn't a good name (especially with the awkward Chosen One 1 clause) but it evokes what I'm going for so it's what I'd playtest with.

      Noble Mentor 1WW (C)
      Creature - Human Cleric
      Chosen One 1 (When ~ ETB, put two +1/+1 counters on a creature you control with the most +1/+1 counters on it.)

      Sacrifice Noble Mentor: Target creature gains indestructible until end of turn. If that creature has at least one +1/+1 counter on it, put an additional +1/+1 counter on it.
      1/2

      Populace Protector WR (U)
      Chosen One 1 (When ~ ETB, put two +1/+1 counters on a creature you control with the most +1/+1 counters on it.)
      {w/r}: Target creature with a +1/+1 counter on it gains first strike until end of turn.
      2/2

      Innerlight Archon 4RW (R)
      Creature - Archon Warrior
      Chosen One 3 (When ~ ETB, put three +1/+1 counters on a creature you control with the most +1/+1 counters on it.)
      RW: Target creature you control with the most +1/+1 counters on it gains flying and lifelink until end of turn.
      3/4

      Are we doing Hybrid???

      Delete
    5. Hybrid's fair game. My big concern with this direction is that it's fighting for creative space with the Sahleen, who, from a flavor perspective, are all about Chosen Ones.

      Delete
    6. Just read the Sahleen Keyword article and had the same thought.

      There was even a submission for the Sahleen that looks almost exactly like my original submission here. There would need to be a flavor face-lift if we wanted to use it.

      Let's rename it once more to Vigilante, if people like it, we'll put more thought into differing it from whatever Sahleen gets.

      Delete
  2. 1st shot at Sorob:

    Retribution--Whenever ~ is dealt damage, EFFECT.

    Unrelenting Admonisher {W}
    Creature-Human Cleric (C)
    Retribution--Whenever ~ is dealt damage, put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
    1/1

    Purveyor of Justice {5}{R}{R}
    Creature-Minotaur Shaman (U)
    Retribution--Whenever ~ is dealt damage, it deals 1 damage to each other creature.
    4/4

    Instrument of Vengeance {5}{R}{W}
    Creature-Archon (M)
    Flying, Indestructible
    Retribution--Whenever ~ is dealt damage, it deals that much damage to each opponent.
    5/5

    In large doses this might lead to too little attacking or blocking from the other side of the table, but it might be possible to balance that out by reducing the effectiveness of combat tricks in red and white.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kismi:

    Cognizance N (When you cast this spell, reveal the top N cards of your library. Put all revealed cards with the same name as this card into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library.)

    This is a G/U version of the mechanic I offered up for the Rimid.

    Brier Seer {1}{g}
    Creature – Elf (C)
    Cognizance 3
    {T}: Add {G} to your mana pool.
    1/1

    Read the Rings {1}{G}
    Sorcery (C)
    Cognizance 6
    Reveal the top card of your library. If it is a land, put it on the battlefield. Otherwise, put it into your graveyard.

    Chelopteryx {2}{G}
    Creature – Turtle (C)
    Cognizance 3
    Flying
    1/3

    Omen Bear {1}{G}
    Creature – Bear (U)
    Cognizance 4
    2/2

    Twine Destinies {3}{G}
    Sorcery (U)
    Cognizance 5
    Draw two cards, then discard two cards.

    Tender's Scrutiny {2}{u}{G}
    Enchantment – Aura (R)
    Cognizance 3
    Enchant creature.
    Enchanted creature gets +1/+1 and has flying and trample.

    Paredol, Kisme Omensnatcher {G}{G}{u}{u}
    Legendary Creature – Amphin Cleric (M)
    Islandwalk
    Spells you cast have Cognizance 2.
    3/3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Edit: I forgot to change the colors in the mana cost of Chelopteryx and Twine Destinies. These are, obviously, blue cards.

      Delete
  4. One scy-like mechanic we could try for the Kismi would require permanents and have their vision grow as you gathered more together.

    Prescient (At the beginning of your upkeep, look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)

    Yes, it's just "At the beginning of your upkeep Scry 1," but having all of them be this way should lead to game play peering further and further ahead until you find a future you like. If anyone has a cleaner wording to let somebody keep flipping through cards until they find one they like, please let me know. Regardless of wording, it's much more blue than green.

    The bigger concern is that there's no way to go partway and this mechanic could get out of control very quickly as a repeatable effect, robbing games of their variance and making limited bomb-centric. Anyway, some cards.

    Trueseer {2}{G}
    Creature-Elf Mystic (C)
    Prescient (At the beginning of your upkeep, look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)
    2/2

    Seedsower {3}{G}
    Creature-Elemental (R)
    Prescient (At the beginning of your upkeep, look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)
    ~'s power and toughness are each equal to the number of lands you control.
    */*

    Fatechanger {3}{G}{U}
    Creature-Human Wizard (R)
    Flash, Prescient (At the beginning of your upkeep, look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)
    Whenever you cast a spell during an opponent's turn, untap target land.
    3/5

    Basically, I envision Prescient creatures pushing you towards wanting to draw a certain type of card so the players have a clear goal in mind when they start flipping.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thinking about Kismi mechanics where you as the player actually make a prediction, I came across an interesting duality to explore: even or odd.

    This led to some difficult to work with mechanics:

    Foretell (If you would draw a card, instead choose even or odd. Then reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal one with that converted mana cost. Put that card into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.)

    Predict (At the end of your turn predict a number, then if the number of spells cast since your last prediction was equal to your last prediction, draw a card.)

    Fated (At the beginning of each combat step, choose a number if you haven't this combat. At end of combat if one or more creatures attacked and that number of creatures blocked, put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control with ~.)

    I think Fated (or some variant with a different reward, it might need to be smaller given that evasion exists) might actually play very well, but it's hard to turn the grokkable concept into legible card text. Basically whenever combat starts you predict how many creatures will block, and if you're right you get a bonus from each of your Fated creatures. Once your opponent knows how many creatures you want to block they'll make different attacks/blocks, but maybe that's just playing into your larger scheme!

    Some sample cards:

    Seer of Scars {2}{G}
    Creature-Elf Mystic (C)
    Vigilance
    Fated
    2/2

    Master of Fate {U}
    Creature-Vedalken Wizard (U)
    Fated
    0/1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These all seem interesting, but the conditions are quite complex and the reward very specific. Can we do something a little more general and have Fated and Predict be rares or uncommons?

      Meditating Spider 3G
      Creature - Spider (C)
      2/4
      Foresee - When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, choose a number.
      Then reveal the top card of your library. If that card's converted mana cost is the same as the chosen number, put a +1/+1 counter on CARDNAME.

      Fated Flyer 1U
      Creature - Faerie Wizard (U)
      1/1
      Flying
      Foresee - When CARDNAME attacks, choose a number.
      If that many creatures block, put a +1/+1 counter on CARDNAME.

      Gambling Seer 2U
      Creature - Human Wizard (R)
      1/3
      Foresee - At end of your turn, choose a number.
      At the end of each opponent's turn, if exactly that many spells were cast that turn, draw a card.

      Delete
    2. Foretell is skewed unintuitively by the even-ness of land's CMC.

      Predict, Fated and Foresee all end up being about setting up a rule that your opponent will be punished for not following. Effectively, "don't do X or I get Y." If your prediction is made in secret, then it becomes a guessing game which is at least not mono-white.

      Delete
  6. Why not something akin to kinship for the Kismi?

    Predict--At the beginning of your upkeep, look at the top card of your library. You may reveal that card. If it {X}, then {Y}.

    Or something along those lines.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Divine - If you would draw a card, choose "land" or "nonland". Reveal that card and put it into your hand. If you chose correctly, put a fate counter on ~.

    Prophet Protector {1}{G}
    Creature - Elf Wizard (C)
    Divine
    Prophet Protector gets +1/+1 for each fate counter on it.
    2/2

    Omen Glider {1}{G}{U}
    Creature - Elemental (U)
    Divine
    As long as ~ has a fate counter on it, it has flying.
    3/2

    Shellpool Torl {4}{U}{U}
    Creature - Turtle (M)
    Divine
    Remove a fate counter from ~: Draw a card.
    4/6

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Note that if we have these three creatures in play at the same time, we have to choose which Divine ability replaces each draw. Not necessarily bad, but should be made clear in the reminder text.

      Delete
    2. The answer to that might be "If you chose correctly, put a fate counter on each creature you control with Divine", but that's not the only solution.

      I think we'd probably just do two of the three ways of caring about counters - counting them, removing them as part of a cost, or threshold - but for now it doesn't hurt to design broad. Something like Omen Glider could be:

      Omen Glider {1}{G}{U}
      Creature - Elemental (U)
      Divine, Flying
      Remove a fate counter from ~: Target creature gains flying until end of turn.

      whereas it's still easy to make an exciting rare if you go with threshold:

      Shellpool Torl {U}
      Creature - Turtle (M)
      Divine
      As long as ~ has a fate counter on it, it has "U, T: Draw a card."

      But I'm not really a fan of the threshold use, and not just because it doesn't reward repeated Divining success - because it's so strictly on/off, it feels to me slightly more U/R-random. On its plus-side, using threshold would likely work better with "only one of your creatures gets to divine each turn", so that has to be weighed as well.

      Delete
    3. After all that text, it's nice that support cards can be as simple as -

      Surrakar Forcefate {1}{G}{G}
      Creature - Surrakar (U)
      When ~ enters the battlefield, you may put target card you own from your graveyard or the battlefield on top of your library.
      3/2

      Divination {2}{U}
      Sorcery (C)
      Draw two cards.

      Delete
  8. Keyword Aegis of the Meek?

    Fury of the Righteous R
    Instant (C)
    Serve the Meek - Target creature gains first strike until end of turn. If that creature's power is 2 or less, it gains double strike instead.

    Stay Safe W
    Instant (C)
    Serve the Meek - Prevent all damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn. If that creature's power is 2 or less, for each 1 damage prevented this way, deal 1 damage to target creature or player.

    Charge of the Courageous 2R
    Sorcery (U)
    Serve the Meek - Until end of turn, creatures you control with power 2 or less gain "If this creature would deal damage, it deals double that damage instead."

    Friends of Freedom 3WW
    Instant (R)
    For each attacking creature you control, put a 2/2 white Knight creature token onto the battlefield tapped and attacking.

    Supply of Torches 2R
    Enchantment (R)
    Serve the Meek - Whenever a creature you control attacks, CARDNAME deals 1 damage to the defending player. If that crature's power is 2 or less, CARDNAME deals 1 damage to target creature the defending player controls.

    I tried to avoid any power/toughness boosting so multiple effects could work together. I also had some trouble making sure each bonus matched the template, but I think the general theme makes sense and conveys the flavor of "protect the downtrodden" well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Focusing on small creatures is perfect for RW as well as for Sorba.

      Delete
  9. to make the avenge ability more potent and offensive might I suggest that it work on the attack as well. this will probably increase the use of the ability and the health of the format.

    alternately, for the sorba, why not have a kinship-eske ability without the tribal. at the beginning of your upkeep, reveal the top card of your library, if it is a creature card, X.
    this would play into blue's like of library manipulation, (and green's) and also green's like for creatures. it will also play well with other guilds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was going to suggest Avenge would be cleaner as "Whenever a blocking creature you control dies" but "attacking or blocking" could work too.

      Delete
  10. Oracle of Scales 1G
    2/2 Snake Shaman (cmn)
    When ~ ETB, Oracle 4 (Look at the card fourth from the top of your library.)
    G, Name a card, then reveal the top card of your library: If you revealed the named card, ~ gets +3/+3 until EOT. Activate this ability only once per turn.

    Market Analyst 2U
    1/3 Human Wizard (cmn)
    Insight 3 (When ~ ETB, exile the top 3 cards of your library face-down under it. At the beginning of your upkeep, put a card exiled this way into your graveyard. If it's the last one, put it into your hand instead.)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Proposed Kismi mechanic #1: Foresighted

    Foresighted (At the beginning of your upkeep, look at the top card of your library. You may put it into your graveyard.)

    This is meant as an Exalted-style ability that does similar things to Scry, but with a trickier decision tree. It makes sense in green because it goes on permanents and has graveyard-filling synergies. It tends to set up the Kismi up as a control / ramp guild that likes slow games and big spells.

    Cards:

    Kismi Prophet 3U
    Creature- Human Wizard (Common)
    2/3
    Foresighted

    Sacred Beast 5G
    Creature- Beast (Common)
    4/4
    Hexproof, Foresighted

    Kismi Cultivator 2G
    Creature- Elf Druid (Uncommon)
    1/3
    Foresighted
    T: Add G to your mana pool for each land card in your graveyard.

    Kismi Webspinner 3GU
    Creature- Spider (Uncommon)
    2/4
    Reach, Foresighted
    ~ gets +4/+2 as long as there is a creature with flying in a graveyard.

    Kismi Reflecting Pool 1UU
    Enchantment (Rare)
    Foresighted
    Play with the top card of your library revealed.
    {1}: If the top card of your library is a permanent, ~ becomes a copy of that permanent until end of turn.

    Kismi Reclaimer GU
    Creature- Lizard (Rare)
    2/2
    Foresighted
    GU, Exile a card from your graveyard: ~ gets +X/+X until end of turn, where X is the card's converted mana cost. Activate this ability at most once per turn.

    Edit: I wrote this out before I saw Jules's proposal, which is nearly the same. I still favor graveyard over bottom of the library, though, to create synergies and differentiate from scry.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Proposed Kismi mechanic #2: Prophesy

    Prophesy. (Look at the top card of your library. You may cast it immediately if able.)

    Card-advantage mechanic similar to the effect on the new Chandra. (I originally designed it as a primarily blue-red mechanic for a Roman-themed block; see http://mondaymorningmaro.blogspot.com/2013/07/downfall-card-image-gallery.html .)

    Sacred Boar 2G
    Creature- Boar (Common)
    2/2
    Sacrifice ~: Prophesy.

    Kismi Oracle 1U
    Creature- Human Wizard (Common)
    2/1
    When ~ enters the battlefield, prophesy.

    Foresighted Venture G
    Sorcery (Uncommon)
    You may play an additional land this turn.
    Prophesy.

    Foresighted Planning U
    Instant (Uncommon)
    Look at the top three cards of your library. You may put them back in any order. Prophesy.

    Kismi Advisors 2UG
    Creature- Human Advisor (Uncommon)
    3/3
    At the beginning of your upkeep, prophesy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure why Kismi Oracle is better than usual and Sacred Board is worse, but I like the mechanic. If you figure it's worse than a card draw and cantrips are worth {2}, it could be costed about {1} (probably more like 0.8, but eh).

      Given that it was just on Chandra, it's worth asking if it's really GU. Blue has had Future Sight and green has had Oracle of Mul Daya. RU feels more appropriate thematically, but GU feels great mechanically, since you'll have more lands and more fixing anyhow.

      I wonder if 1G 2/2 ETB Prophesy is too good for common.

      Delete
    2. The thing about ETB Prophesy creatures is that you get no value from playing them on-curve, and it's not clear how long you should wait before playing them. Sac: Prophesy lets you use all your mana, so it's probably stronger than ETB: Prophesy in a vacuum.

      Delete
    3. Death triggers are even stronger (because then the creature gets to deal combat damage), but the theme here is important: Do the Kismi have to die or kill themselves to learn about the future?

      Delete
  13. Proposed Sorba mechanic #1: Fervor

    Fervor-- If 7 or more damage has been dealt this turn, EFFECT.

    The Sorba especially value making the right choices in violent, high-stakes situations. Fervor tries to capture the flavor of those situations, and acts a bit like a more flexible form of morbid. Cards:

    Sorba Resistance Fighter WR
    Creature- Human Warrior (Common)
    3/1
    Vigilance. Fervor-- ~ enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it if 7 or more damage has been dealt this turn.

    Sorba Martyr 1W
    Creature- Human Cleric (Common)
    2/1
    Fervor-- When ~ dies, if 7 or more damage was dealt this turn, you gain 7 life.

    Avenging Fire RR
    Instant (Common)
    ~ deals 3 damage to target creature. Fervor-- If 7 or more damage was dealt this turn, ~ also deals 3 damage to that creature's controller.

    Sorba Justice 3W
    Instant
    Target player sacrifices an attacking or blocking creature. Fervor-- If 7 or more damage has been dealt this turn, instead that player sacrifices two attacking or blocking creatures.

    Sorba Prophet R
    Creature- Human Cleric (Rare)
    1/1
    Haste, first strike. Fervor-- R, Sacrifice ~: Add RRRRR to your mana pool. Activate this ability only if 7 or more damage has been dealt this turn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like how the red side wants to deal 7 and the white side wants to be dealt 7. That number would obv need playtesting (guessing 6 might be better), but that doesn't impact the merit of the design.

      Delete
  14. Proposed Sorba mechanic #2: Humble

    Humble-- As long as you control a token, EFFECT.

    Cards:

    Sorba Elite W
    Creature- Human Soldier (Common)
    1/1
    Humble-- As long as you control a token, ~ gets +2/+2.

    Sorba Ambusher 3R
    Creature- Minotaur Warrior (Common)
    3/3
    Humble-- As long as you control a token, ~ has first strike and haste.

    Sorba Recruiting House 2WR
    Enchantment (Rare)
    2WR: Put a 1/1 red and white Human creature token with haste onto the battlefield.
    Humble-- As long as you control a token, artifacts, enchantments, and lands you control are indestructible.

    ReplyDelete