Wednesday, October 1, 2014

CCDD 100114—Nail in the Coffin

Cool Card Design of the Day
10/1/2014 - I kinda feel like I've done this card before, but I can't find it. The concept is decent: If you can finish off a creature with 1 damage, it doesn't cost you a card. But…


…The execution is pretty awkward. On a spell that's so conditionally useful anyhow, that's not really a sacrifice worth making. Nail in the Coffin is the nail in its own coffin.

EDIT:
Found a much simpler template thanks to the Artisans' feedback:


And with the text simplified, I couldn't help but think about the flavor, which prompted this addition:


21 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Just to be clear: Asking whether that counts as precedence for the costing. Not insinuating that they're equivalent - this can kill 1 toughness dudes, which is a big upside.

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    2. Totally counts as precedence. The cards are nearly identical in the grand scheme. I like Nail better in theory, but Needle's wording is just more elegant.

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  2. Kludgy, and I'm not sure that it works the way I think it works, but

    Cast CARDNAME only at the end of turn phase. If a creature damaged by CARDNAME would die this turn, draw a card.

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    1. Alternatively second main phase, since combat is over and any other direct damage can just be cast before it.

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    2. CARDNAME deals 1 damage to target creature. If it dies this turn, draw a card.

      Boom. Thanks, Zefferal. This is wicked clean and the only concession is that you can cast it on a creature that's about to die anyhow; and if you want to cycle this without benefiting from its damage, I don't see why we need to stop you.

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  3. I always like seeing marginal red damage cantrips, I like the thought of "when that's just the spell you need".

    I think the usual template is "if it dies this turn", even though that's not exactly the same mechanically. An alternative I've not seen in real sets might be "if its been dealt lethal damage", that means it doesn't have to be _exactly_ lethal, but I think reads a lot clearer and the flavour is about as good.

    Also, this might be a stupid question, but would you ever want to play this when the damage wouldn't be lethal? If not, is there any reason for the empty text.

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    1. The thing is if it didn't have that condition, suddenly it would be a lot more useful: you'd be able to cycle it for {R} when you didn't need it. It'd be Spark Spray in both modes at once, a.k.a. Zap. The restriction is necessary for the cost to be so low.

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  4. This seems nice for storm and burn. It kills a mana dork and doesn't cost you a card. For the last line, would this work:

    "Draw a card if ~ deals lethal damage."

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  5. Updated with all your feedback. Go team!

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  6. Note that Zap costs 3 mana. How often did you use Zap to not kill the creature you targeted with it? I think as innocent as this card looks, it is probably super oppressive.

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    1. In a format with a lot of 1 toughness creatures, definitely. In most formats?

      Pretty sure Zap would be fine at {1}{R}.

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    2. Oppressive? Who knows, but this is definitely way above the curve as is. Spark Jolt was already limited playable and while this is certainly weaker, I think Zap is in fact our closest comparison. It would be nice to keep this an instant so you have better chances of finishing something off, so it should probably just cost more.

      All that said, there's a lot of leeway for red's common burn. We can get as high in power level as Lightning Bolt or as low as Starfall all while seeing plenty of play and not breaking anything.

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    3. This is one of those strikeout-homerun cards that will either be totally awesome (take that Skywinder Drake) or will be uncastable and end the game in your hand. These cards can be balanced, in the sense that you can weigh the frequencies these two things happen by developing the set (quantum balanced, if you prefer), but the card will rarely be balanced in practice because it will either be one or the other.

      Of course, WOTC prints plenty of cards like this, for example Dispel in RTR which would often counter 6 mana instants like Explosive Impact. Personally, though, I don't love the gameplay that these kinds of cards create, and I think M15 is a much worse format because of the presence of Forge Devil.

      I do think this kind of high variance cards have a place in helping LSPs overcome the odds, but I think they should be costed so that Spikes don't want to play them. I think this card, as costed, is the opposite: Spikes will feel forced to play it if there are targets, but the carrot here isn't obvious enough to attract LSPs.

      A couple great high variance LSP cards that come to mind are Lost in the Mist, Gruesome Discovery and Tricks of the Trade. These cards have definite appeal to LSPs and can easily win them games, but they are totally opt-in, Spikes will almost never play them in the maindeck, but they do make intriguing sideboard options.

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    4. Just remembered Peppersmoke. This is *basically* Peppersmoke, except that it can go into any deck and isn't remotely as good in Faerie decks.

      I'd love to see
      Zap? {R}
      Instant (cmn)
      CARDNAME deals 1 damage to target c/p.
      Kicker {2}
      If you kicked CARDNAME, draw a card.

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  7. Is "if it dies in this way" something we could use? I've been using stuff like "target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn. if it dies in this way, draw a card." on custom cards for a while, didn't realise it wasn't official Magic terminology until I Googled it like five minutes ago xD

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    1. Not within the rules, no. Nothing dies from damage or having less than 1 toughness until state based effects are checked, which happens right before a player would gain priority. That is, after the spell's already finished resolving.

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  8. It feels more like a black card to me

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