Friday, January 23, 2015

Weekend Design Challenge 012315—Dragons of Tarkir mechanic

Weekend Design Challenge
Greetings, artisans! Click through to see this weekend's challenge and the design requirements for your single card submission, due Monday morning. Every submission warrants feedback, and everyone is encouraged to give feedback. You may use that feedback to revise your submission any number of times, though only the version rendered will be included in the review, if someone volunteers to render the cards.


Manifest is the precursor to morph (in the fiction of Tarkir), but it will also be the precursor to a mechanic in Dragons of Tarkir. Design a Dragons of Tarkir card (preferably not a dragon) that features the mechanic that replaces morph in Tarkir's alternate reality. For added challenge, make your card the one previewed on the first Monday of DTK previews to introduce the new mechanic.

If you can't find a mechanic in this space that someone hasn't already explored, find one that will replace prowess, delve, or ferocious for its respective faction.

40 comments:

  1. Atarka's Brute
    2RG
    Creature - Ogre - Rare
    Whenever CARDNAME is turned faceup, it gets +4/+4 and trample until end of turn.
    Mask (You may pay 3 to turn this facedown and shuffle it among masked creatures you control. At any time, you may turn a masked creature faceup by paying its mana cost. Facedown cards are 2/2 colorless creatures.)
    4/4

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    1. The reminder text is missing a "At the beginning of your endstep" at the beginning

      Delete
  2. Let's go with the obvious one.

    Decree of the Wastes 2BB
    Instant (U)
    Destroy target creature.
    Spell morph 1B (You may cast this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Exile it face up any time for its spell morph cost, then cast it without paying its mana cost if able.)

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    1. I tought of that to. But why would it fit in the dragons of takir. That was I missing.

      And why the Exile?

      Delete
    2. If you can cast it as a 2/2 facedown creature, it seems like you can recast it as a facedown creature for it's spell morph cost?

      Delete
    3. Nope. Effects that let you cast a spell for an alternate cost, or without paying its mana cost, form a category between them of which you can only use one. So if you're "casting without paying its mana cost" you can't also use spellmorph.

      Delete
  3. That was my first thought! It seems quite likely, now non-permanents are allowed face-down on the battlefield.

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    1. I agree, spellmorph seems the most natural idea. (Great point about instants being on the battlefield face down, I hadn't made the connection!)

      Will try to come up with something else...

      Delete
  4. Ghostflare (rare)
    3RR
    Instant
    CARDNAME is colorless.
    CARDNAME deals 5 damage to target creature or player.
    Conjure R (You may cast this as a face-down 2/2 creature for 3. You may pay its conjure cost at any time to exile it face up and cast it without paying its mana cost.)

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    Replies
    1. And Aura and I designed the exact same mechanic. Wow. Does that mean it's really good, or simply really obvious?

      Delete
    2. I've seen at least three very similar variations proposed in the past also. I think it's really obvious, and may also be really good.

      Delete
  5. Man, I did a lot of research.... And i came in empty handed.

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  6. So with the Jeskai manifest Auras, End Hostilities destroying permanents attached to creatures, and the weirdness that is Sage's Reverie (not to mention when the Return to Ravnica team discovered Constellation worked well for Azorious and chances are Dragons of Tarkir will have ally-colored clans), I believe the next Jeskai mechanic will relate to Auras.

    The problem is that the Jeskai are all about cunning and Auras with their inherent card disadvantage feel decidedly not cunning. How can we reconcile these facts?

    We could reuse an old mechanic on a permanent type that's never been used:

    Soulfire Infusion 3W
    Enchantment - Aura (U)
    Enchant creature
    Enchanted creature gets +1/+1 and has first strike.
    Morph 3WW (You may cast this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)
    As Soulfire Infusion is turned face up, attach it to a creature you control.

    But we know morph is going to change come Dragons. We could adjust for that (using the mechanics of artisans above):

    Soulfire Infusion 3W
    Enchantment - Aura (U)
    Enchant creature
    Enchanted creature gets +1/+1 and has first strike.
    Conjure 3WW (You may cast this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Exile it face up and cast it without paying its mana cost any time for its conjure cost.)

    This gets rid of that last sentence. But what about a purely Jeskai mechanic?

    Soulfire Infusion 3W
    Enchantment - Aura (U)
    Enchant creature
    Enchanted creature has first strike.
    Deceit (Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, you may attach this card to another target creature you control.)

    Notice this no longer pumps, as the situations surrounding losing toughness post-combat and semi-onboard tricks should be relegated to rare in my opinion. The question with this mechanic - not that I think it's a show-in by any means - is can it be housed at common in a large set?

    Dragonlight 1W
    Enchantment - Aura (C)
    Enchant creature
    Enchanted creature has lifelink.
    Deceit (Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, you may attach this card to another target creature you control.)

    Touch of Mist U
    Enchantment - Aura (C)
    Enchant creature
    Whenever enchanted creature deals combat damage to a player, that player puts the top two cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
    Deceit (Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, you may attach this card to another target creature you control.)

    Dragonflight 4UU
    Enchantment - Aura (C)
    Enchant creature
    Enchanted creature has flying.
    Deceit (Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, you may attach this card to another target creature you control.)

    I don't know honestly. I could see an argument for the last one being common in a set with a lot of dragons and needing interaction with that. But the second is wordy and I don't know how often switching them will actually come up as a viable play unlike prowess.

    Feedback appreciated as always.

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    1. Those costs look *really* expensive. Flight and Lance are awful cards at one mana. Being able to save them to avoid card disadvantage is good, but still leaves them at about one or two mana (see Shimmering Wings or Dragon Wings). Dragonflight looks comparable to Dragon Wings; casting an instant during combat is somewhat comparable to casting a creature of CMC 6+; so I think you can slash 3-4 mana off most of these costs.

      Delete
    2. Fair and that makes sense. Any thoughts on whether the mechanic as a whole has weight?

      Delete
    3. Yes, I like your thinking. The mechanic seems fun, if you get all the pieces in hand.

      But therein lies the problem. It leads to an awkward deck balance, even more awkward than heroic creatures / heroic enablers or metalcraft cards / artifacts: you need three different categories of cards to all turn up here - creature, Deceit aura, and instant to move it where it's needed most. In order to bring that down somewhere more sensible, it'll need to have a bunch of reasons to have casting Auras also trigger moving Auras around as well. Sage's Reverie is an example of a great reason for that; I'd hope to see several more in white and blue to allow that to make sense.

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. Fury of Dragon Tempests XX2RG (Mythic Rare)
      Sorcery
      Put X 4/4 red Dragon creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield.
      Incarnate X2RG (You may cast this card face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. When it dies, you may cast it from your graveyard for it's incarnate cost.)

      I thought of a few ways to express this mechanic at Common and Uncommon, but decided on a splashy Mythic Rare to fit the Monday preview card criteria.

      Morph-but-for-spells isn't original, but I like this implementation because of the play pattern it creates and the feel of uncertainty it gives your opponent. You get to attack aggressively with your Incarnated creature, and they're afraid that killing it will result in you getting a spell. Mostly the Incarnate cost will be more expensive than the spell's regular cost (A Lightning Strike for RR with Incarnate 3R, for example), but Fury of Dragon's Tempest shows that's not always the case. More narrow effects, like a Naturalize spell could actually cost less since you may not be able to cast the spell when the Incarnated creature dies. I also like how Incarnate would play in Limited with Manifest.

      I found art at http://www.wallpaperdisk.com/download-Flying%20Dragon-8659-wallpaper.html and the tiny url address would be http://tinyurl.com/pcug3c4

      Delete
    2. This I also like. Would this go on permanents too? Or just spells?

      Delete
    3. Yeah, non creature spells. Could be Artifacts and Auras in addition to Instants and Sorceries.

      Delete
  8. I was under the impression that the replacement for manifest in Dragons of Tarkir wouldn't be a new mechanic, just a different twist on morph. And the most obvious thing to do with morph is to give it off-color activation costs. As it happens, I made a cycle of cards exploring this idea last week-- it's here.

    I've also been working on ideas for the three other mechanics. I'll post a design with one of those...

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    1. I think it'll be a "twist on morph" in the same way that manifest is. I strongly suspect it'll be a new keyword mechanic, not just using morph in a different way.

      Delete
    2. Sultai / Silumgar mechanic:

      Naga Executioner 2B
      Creature- Snake Warrior
      2/3
      When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, reap. (You may sacrifice a creature. If you do, draw a card.)

      Delete
  9. Oke, it's a bad idea, but im going to post it anyway:

    An awsome dragon 4RR
    Creature - Dragon
    Flying
    Dragonfuse 3R (you may cast it facedown as an aura that gives enchanted creature +2/+2. If enchanter creature dies, it becomes a facedown 2/2 creature. you may flip it at any time, an becomes a creature.

    5/5

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    1. Oh, wow. A combination twist on bestow and morph! Nice!

      Delete
    2. It's a cool idea, but as a practical matter I am not much of a fan. Bestow and morph were already complicated; this is more complicated than either (your reminder text leaves out that you presumably have to pay its Dragonfuse cost to turn it face up). Also, a 2/2 bestow creature for 3 is probably too good, let alone a bunch of them at common, so I'm thinking you need an additional number (5 mana maybe) for the "morph-bestow" casting cost, and that takes away the smoothing-mechanic aspect of morph.

      Delete
    3. mmmm, I get your point. It is indeed stronger that morph, so it should cost more. Or should change the machanic... And now my head hurts... What should I do?

      Delete
    4. I dont know if I can still change it, but make the ability like this:

      Dragonfuse 3R (you may cast it facedown as an aura that gives enchanted creature +2/+2. You may flip it at any time, an becomes a creature.)

      Delete
  10. I'm about 90% sure that spellmorph is the actual DOK cross-faction mechanic (then again, I said that for Fate Reforged as well), but sure, I'll take a shot at a different variation anyway. With added flavor bonus!

    Herald of Ugin {6}

    Art: Connected to Ugin's Construct in the same way that Pilgrim of the Fires and Witness of the Ages were connected.

    Artifact Creature - Construct

    Haste, Hexproof

    Voidgate {0} (You may cast this card face down as a 2/2 creature for {3}, or cast it face up by paying its voidgate cost and returning a face-down creature you control to your hand.)

    4/5

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    1. Actually, change a couple details: mana cost should be {7}, Voidgate cost should be {2}, and name should be Ugin's Herald (could also be Ugin's Attendant for the Invasion callback). Also, card could be rare or uncommon; early preview cards are usually rare but this design feels more uncommon.

      Delete
  11. So I had an idea for a Morph variant when designing a sequel to Zendikar; RUINS OF ZENDIKAR. The idea was that nulls had overrun the world like the zombie plague, turning things into mindless beasts. The keyword worked like this:

    Infectious Null [2B]
    Creature — Zombie
    Nullify (If this would deal damage to a face up creature, turn that creature face down instead. Face down cards are 2/2 colorless creatures.)
    2/2

    But I don't think that would fit the feel of Dragons of Tarkir.

    The obvious one is a spellmorph;
    Spellmorph 2R (You may put this instant/sorcery onto the battlefield as a face-down 2/2 colorless creature. At any time, you may pay its spellmorph cost to exile it. If you do, cast it from exile without paying its mana cost.)

    I've always though Camoflague (the old Alpha card) could be expanded into a mechanic:

    Tempest Predator [4GU]
    Creature — Dragon [rare]
    Flying
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, put a 2/2 blue Drake creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield.
    Camouflage 2GU (When this attacks, you may exile it and another creature you control face down. Shuffle all your exiled camouflaged creatures, then return them to the battlefield face down as 2/2 creatures, tapped and attacking. Turn them face up any time for their mana, camoflague, or morph costs.)
    "The worst part of the storm is not knowing just what's causing it."
    5/5

    It's wordy, but it might be something fun?

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  12. Mystic of the Breeze 2U
    Creature - Human Monk (C)
    Stunt-Double (Whenever CARDNAME attacks, return it to your hand, then put a card from your hand onto battlefield face down as a 2/2 creature tapped and attacking. Turn that card face up any time for its mana cost if it's a creature card.)
    1/4

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  13. Coalescing Burst 2RR
    Sorcery - Uncommon
    CARDNAME deals 4 damage to target creature or player.
    Coalesce 1RR (Exile CARDNAME from your hand: you may put a card from your hand as a Coalesced face down colorless and typeless 2/2 creature card onto the battlefield. If it is a creature card, you may turn that card face up any time for its mana cost if it's a creature card.)
    When you coalesce with CARDNAME, you may have it deal 1 damage to target creature of player.

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  14. I'll do the renders this week.

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    Replies
    1. And here I thought that Manifest would be continued through DTK – if not, then Spellmorph/conjure makes about as much sense as anything. I was brainstorming Jeskai alternative mechanics and came up with something like this:

      Spell Chop 1U
      Instant - (c)
      Counter target spell unless its controller pays 2.
      Jumpkick (As an additional cost to cast this spell, you may put a creature you control on top of its owner’s library. If you do, you may copy this and cast that copy without paying its mana cost.)

      Spiritual Guidance 2W
      Sorcery (u)
      Put two 1/1 white Spirit creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield.
      Jumpkick (As an additional cost to cast this spell, you may put a creature you control on top of its owner’s library. If you do, you may copy this and cast that copy without paying its mana cost.)

      Inner Peace Meditation 1UU
      Sorcery (r)
      Take an extra turn after this one. Skip the untap step of that turn.
      Jumpkick (As an additional cost to cast this spell, you may put a creature you control on top of its owner’s library. If you do, you may copy this and cast that copy without paying its mana cost.)

      Glorious Charge, Healing Salve, Spitting Image? Some variety on Brainstorm/Thought Scour/Opt, too, maybe.

      Delete
  15. Sense everyone is posting morph variants:

    Temur Meditation 1GG
    Sorcery (C)
    Search your library for up to two basic land cards, reveal those cards, and put one onto the battlefield tapped and the other into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
    Draconic - If you control a dragon, you may play an additional land this turn.

    If I were thinking about morph variants:

    Glimpse of the Past U
    Instant (C)
    Draw a card
    Munition (You may cast this card face down as a 2/2 creature for {3}. When this card is put into the graveyard from the battlefield, you may cast it.)

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  16. Sultai mechanic (thinking blue black for ally color pairs).

    Rusigar, Hegemon of the Mindless 3UB
    Legendary Creature - Human Assassin
    Whenever you draw a card, Mindswipe 2 (Each player puts the top two cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard).
    If a creature card is put into a graveyard this way, each opponent discards a card.
    5/3

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  17. Suppose there is still time to give this a whirl.

    Ancestral Guidance 3U
    Instant (Uncommon)
    Draw a card.
    Materialize (When ~ resolves, put it on the battlefield face down as a 2/2 creature instead of in the graveyard.)
    "The answers are often found in memories."

    Unfortunately, the term Manifest would have worked wonders here. The idea here would be small spells that give you some sort of board presence. Possibly combos well with self bouncing creatures, but I don't think the small gain would be backbreaking to an opponent.

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  18. The renders have been sent. A lot of interesting ideas, here!

    ReplyDelete