Wednesday, March 18, 2015

CCDD 031815—Baloth Pup

Cool Card Design of the Day
3/18/2015 - Today's card is inspired directly by jack’s Daughter of Angels. I considered having Baloth Pup look for a specific card—Rumbling Baloth or something—but while that design has play value in its Limited environment, it'll never make a player feel clever. This version will.


Would Wizards ever specify a set of cards by a word in their name? I seriously doubt it. And yet, keying off of any beast is too wide mechanically and sloppy thematically. Clearly, Wizards needs to make baloth an official creature type.

13 comments:

  1. What does "Baloth" translate to in each language? And for each language, are we sure that the set of cards with "Baloth" in their English name is identical to the set of cards with the translated version of "Baloth" in their non-English names? If not, this card doesn't work.

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  2. Had a similar riff...

    Student of Greatness (rare)
    U
    Creature - Human
    You may have CARDNAME enter the battlefield as a copy of any legendary creature on the battlefield, except its name is still CARDNAME, it's not legendary, and its base power and toughness is still 1/1.
    1/1

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    1. Oh, cool. The third of the brothers Yamazaki :)

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  3. Oh, cool.

    I've often been so tempted to use "with X in the name". However, I think, just "beast" would be ok here, what are the actual problems with that?

    For Baloths, I wonder if the trigger should be different, say, that it copies when another baloth enters the battlefield, so you can curve from this into a bigger baloth. Or maybe "when this or another baloth ETB, you may have it be/become..." A baloth deck needs a 2-drop, not a 2-cost 6-drop :)

    I picked "enter as copy" for Daughter of Angels because lots of Angels have powerful abilities, but that applies less to Baloths.

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    Replies
    1. There are 13 baloths and 330 beasts. Whether the latter is fair or not, a factor of 25 makes the two cards fundamentally different.

      Note that Baloth Pup copies P/T where Daughter of Angels doesn't, so they're fairly comparable. (To an extent—obviously Enormous Baloth and a 2/2 Angelic Arbiter or Platinum Angel are different animals.)

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    2. Maybe "green beast"? But point still taken, it's a different card, though I think wizards are more likely to try to make the beast version work somehow even if it has to be more expensive.

      Also good point that copy one this enter, copy on beast enter, and copy on either are different cards that fulfil different roles. I was focussed on the feel-bad-ness of playing the card and giving up the chance to copy, but I guess, that's part of the point of it being 2/2.

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  4. For reasons already discussed at length, "name contains" is totally off limits, so I'll just use type beast.

    If we're going on theme, I prefer "Whenever another beast enters the battlefield under your control, you may have ~ become a copy of that beast."

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  5. It's definitely much easier to use a 2/2 for two that upgrades into something bigger or better when you play that something. The flavor is considerably different, though offspring-that-starts-cute-but-becomes-menacing-when-you-find-out-what-its-parents-were isn't bad.

    Which card is better seems dependent on the environment.

    Baloth Pup is like a Kavu Titan. You're happier to draw it mid- or late-game than a Runeclaw Bear, but you're not restricted to playing it late; you can play it early to keep up with your opponent. The small mode is an upside—that many players refuse to use just in case magical christmas land.

    Puppy Baloth—the one that grows only if you later play a baloth—is great early-game because you cast it regardless and if you happen upon a baltoh in the mid-game, it grows and you're happy. But if you draw Pup Baloth after your big baloth, it'll be just a bear in the mid-/late-game. That's easier psychologically, but weaker overall.

    The most versatile version lets you copy when Puppup ETBs or when a baloth ETBs, so that it's always good to play ASAP and will always benefit from more baloths. That version is a touch more complex and significantly stronger, but it also asks less of the player. The challenge you have to optimize Puppup as a player is a strict subset of the challenges Baloth Pup and Puppy Baloth offer you, and so are less rewarding to players who enjoy challenges. AKA gamers.

    I don't think any of those three choices is always right or always wrong.

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    1. I don't claim mine is a better design, I think both are neat designs. I just thought mine was more like a puppy. Yours is more like a Baloth Mimic or something.

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    2. Mostly I just really liked the puppy who grows up flavor.

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    3. It's a very perspective-y thing.

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  6. Yeah, I think I really liked the "puppy" flavour too, that's part of where my suggestion came from. But you could totally have a card where the flavour worked for copying on enter (even with a puppy flavour, just of imitating the elder rather than growing up.)

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