Monday, December 29, 2014

Weekend Art Design Challenge Review 122614—Gilberto March

Weekend Art Challenge Review
Here's the challenge we're reviewing today.

Christmas Donations looks silly, fun and Christmas-y. Love the design.

You might wonder why four mana is worth a symmetrical effect, but getting to choose which booster to open is a big deal. If I've got a Slivers deck and open a pack of Legions; even if you get a Sliver, it'll boost my team.

The card does need development and editing: I can't see any purpose for the first 'may.' It's not clear what happens to a non-permanent card that's chosen out a booster pack—Is it removed from the pack, or does it remain to be a booby-prize again? The order players get their gifts will matter immensely when the pack is nearly empty.

I have to kill nine reindeer before your attacking team loses flying? Seems good with RW's battlecry and battalion mechanics. Hexproof and the other stats make clear the call-back to Geist of Saint Traft, but it still makes me twitch to see a RW hexproof creature. Mostly, Geist of St. Nick is wassailing flavor up and down the streets. Cute! (Why do the reindeer regenerate every round?)

Gift Crafter is Zedruu the Greathearted's best friend (and rightly so). You can give your friends anything you own (that they could cast), it's not conditional, and it costs you nothing. Suck it, Donate.

I thought briefly this was too powerful, since you can automatically defeat each player with a Swamp at the table by doling out a page or two from your Phage the Untouchable binder, but the card you give goes to their hand where it's probably pretty safe. While it's still possible to set up a mad combo, it's clear this is intended to be a diplomatic card. Or, worst case, you just give them a bunch of One With Nothings and keep your 5/4 for four.

My only concern is that players don't technically produce mana, but it's an un-card and we know what you mean, so good enough!

As long as anyone has a creature on the field, you can activate one of Kris Kringle's positive abilities. If the ultimate affected everything it would be just too much, but it only affects as many creatures as you spent turns checking your list. It's quite straight-forward despite having two abilities.

I'm not sure this PW begs to be commander-able more than others, but I won't argue that PWs make fun commanders. Causing life loss isn't white, but labeling things 'naughty' is mono-white, so I'm not upset with this color bleed. Very cool.

I'm sure the best part is in what counters you use to mark naughty and nice creatures.

Natural Mail Order "gives" everyone a random Natural Order. It's the random part that might leave them feeling like the neglected child when one person opens up a Griselbrand and another winds up with an Elvish Mystic. There's a lot of fun and flavorful tension as this card gets resolved, and it seems like a reasonable card anyhow.

It's a bit of bleed for green to force other players to sacrifice, but in the context that we're not killing their creature but replacing it, it's not entirely offensive.

It is unfortunate that this leaves the other revealed cards on top of your library in the order you revealed them, like an enhanced Sage Owl troll. An easy oversight to fix.

You can always click to zoom. Shift-click to open a new window.
Santa's Workshop is a plane for use in Planechase that comes with a booster pack like Christmas Donations, but only makes the cards free, not their casting. That leaves room for the chaos ability to help you cast them on your turn. This looks like a crazy fun plane to walk to. Or sleigh ride.

Where this gets tricky is with instants. It's fairly clear to me that the active player will have first priority to play a number of instants, but as soon as she passes, it's fair game going in clockwise order. That may prove a bit cumbersome, but probably won't last all that long if you're not playing with a bunch of Melvin-Spikes, and since you're in a game of Planechase, you're probably set.

Three booster opening cards?
It is Christmas.
Hmm, you could actually make a really sweet Hannukah card with this mechanic. Someone get on that.

You're All Pretty Nice also lets you give cards to your opponent (for the record, YAPN submitted both these mechanics before all the rest), this one with no other upside: So it's all about diplomacy or perhaps just some sick altruism. Hmm, that sarcasm feels out of place here, doesn't it? Anyhow, I love the sentiment.

These were all really good! Nice Christmas spirit, artisans!

Thanks to Pasteur for rendering the cards.


  1. I'm not sure what sarcasm you mean. I intended the card to be just pure Christmas spirit, you don't play it because you want something in return. I suppose you could use it curry favor, but if it went in a deck I'd want it to go in my old Super Switzerland EDH deck which ran nothing but symmetrical effects and could only win by accident.

    1. I meant the sarcasm I used when writing "some sick altruism."
      I wasn't sure that would read clearly and it didn't.
      Not sarcasm: "I love the sentiment" in your design.

  2. My best start for a Hanukkah-themed card would probably be something like:

    Candelabra with a Clever Name 2
    If, CARDNAME is in your opening hand, you may reveal it. If you do, your opening hand size is eight cards instead of seven.
    X, T: Each player untaps X lands.

    The other joke would be to work off of Armadillo Cloak, but I can't quite make the two ends meet.

    1. Trying to cram too many jokes into one card:

      Sensei's Dreidel Top 1
      1, Spin Sensei's Dreidel Top then give it to another player: Look at the top three cards of your library, then put them back in any order.
      T: Draw a card, then put Sensei's Dreidel top on top of another player's library.

      Alternatively, you could actually make a dreidel card:

      Sensei's Dreidel Top 1
      1, T: Add 1 to your mana pool.
      2, T: Each player loses 1 life.
      3, T: Each player loses 1 life and you gain that much life.
      4, T: Draw a card, then put Sensei's Dreidel Top on top of another player's library.

      Needs work.