Friday, June 19, 2015

Weekend Art Challenge 061915—Ruslayer

Weekend Art Challenge
Greetings, artisans! Click through to see this weekend's art 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.


Design a black common for Spike.

130 comments:

  1. Grim Inquiry (B/R)(B/R)
    Sorcery (C)
    Draw two cards. For each card drawn this way, you lose 2 life unless you discard a card.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The flexibility here is neat. I could also see having to make the choice first:
      Grim Inquiry 2(B/R)
      Sorcery
      As an additional cost to cast ~, discard a card or pay 3 life.
      Draw two cards.

      Delete
    2. I was thinking something very like this, (mono-B but inspired by red card draw). I like it because it's fairly simple to read or play, but it's hard to play _well_ and much more powerful if you can.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the vote of confidence, jack! As a Melvin and a judge, I tend to have a higher threshold of "overly complicated" than most people.

      Could this possibly fly as a mono-black card? I'm thinking no, just because blue and red are already the looter colors. I don't love the hybrid cost, but I feel that it makes the influence of each color clear enough while still allowing Spike maximum flexibility in deckbuilding.

      Delete
    4. Thanks! I find it hard to judge complexity too (I think most designers do), but it seemed at least plausibly common :)

      My logic for colour is that if black gets to use "sign in blood" to draw cards with a life payment, instead of divination, it can get to loot for a life payment. I wouldn't let black get ANY effect if it pays life, but it gets quite a range, and looting is really close to card draw anyway.

      And anyway, I agree this FEELS {BR}{BR}, but hybrid isn't supposed to get effects that can't be in black (and it doesn't fit perfectly in red either, red doesn't get that much draw-and-damage-self even if you allow red to lose life on hybrid cards).

      I would have gone for BB or 2B, although I liked {RB}{RB} too.

      I can't decide if it's better or worse than sign in blood -- it's more flexible, which spike really likes. But the "2 life for one card" and "4 life for two cards" modes are strictly less good, and even if you have two useless cards in hand, the only upside of "draw 2, discard 2" over SiB is 2 life. But if I can't tell, it's probably positioned fairly well.

      Delete
    5. I definitely think this is much worse than Sign in Blood. I am not very inclined to play this card.

      Delete
    6. It is (outside the niche of Modern Dredge decks, if those are ever a thing) but if it only cost 2 life, it's enough better than SiB that I didn't think the lack of targeting was enough to justify keeping it at common, especially since this has a more flexible casting cost (if I keep the red) and Night's Whisper is uncommon.

      Commons are hard :/

      My initial instinct was to do a black take on Preordain. Then I thought about it a bit more and realized that WotC probably doesn't want more Preordains running around at any rarity.

      Delete
    7. An alternative take. Chittering Rats-esque for yourself. Hopefully instant speed mitigates the not-so-fun mana cost a bit:

      Grim Musings 2B
      Instant (C)
      Draw two cards, then put two cards from your hand on top of your library unless you pay 2 life.

      Black draw 3 seems to be strictly uncommon, non-variable draw 4 and up is rare.

      Delete
    8. Unfortunately Chittering Rats yourself is forever tainted by Miracle, but I think that can fairly safely be ignored and handled with bannings.

      How about "Draw 3 cards, then lose life equal to the number of cards in your hand." I bet you could squeeze that into common at the right cost.

      Delete
    9. Grim Musings also seems a nice design. I think 2 cards is fine at the right cost -- Spike should know the value of card advantage and not need every card to be Jace's Ingenuity.

      WRT the original Grim Inquiry, I think "worse than SiB" may still be quite playable in limited -- after all black often doesn't get ANY card draw. But I'm not a spike enough to judge the cost, people who play more competitively, do you think there's a cost it would be fair at? Would 1B be ok? If that's too weak, could we consider B, although I assume that would be too good? We could also tweak the life, but 2 life per card felt just right to me.

      Delete
    10. "Black often doesn't get any card draw" doesn't seem true to me. Going through the past three big sets: Vulturous Aven, Bitter Revelation, Read the Bones are all common draw spells in Black.

      Delete
    11. Oops, you're right, sorry. It seems black now gets sign-in-blood level cards in most sets. But it still seems something like that might be enjoyed by spike even if it's not uber-pushed, or that the cost could be slightly more generous if it helps.

      Delete
    12. Final submission:

      Grim Musings 1BB
      Instant (C)
      Draw two cards, then put a card from your hand on top of your library unless you pay 2 life.

      Added the second black to line it up with SiB and discourage just splashing black into a Miracles deck (though SDT and Brainstorm are both far superior in Legacy, anyway). Putting back two cards (strict card disadvantage) seemed excessive now that you can't play this in mono-red, so I scaled it back to one card. Basically if you choose that option you pay 1BB for a cycle + possible minor upside, which seems fair for common.

      Delete
  2. Weakness Potion 2B
    Sorcery (C)
    Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn.
    Brew - Exile a Black card from your graveyard: Return ~ from your graveyard to your hand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which part of Brew do you expect to be variable? Is it just "(color) card from your graveyard" (matching the spell), or the trigger/effect? I like this specific card as expensive removal that gives you some options.

      Delete
    2. The former-- "Exile a [color] card from your graveyard: Return this from your graveyard to your hand."

      This card is meant to occupy the space of expensive removal that's ok maindeck but good out of the sideboard against a deck of X/1s.

      Delete
    3. I feel like designing repeatable removal for common might be a fun conceptual exercise but unlikely to produce viable results.

      As is evident here, the developmental tweaks required to meet expectations regarding contemporary removal philosophy has left us with something that is generally terrible, but will undoubtedly be backbreaking if printed in a format with an abundance of X/1s. But why would you print this in such a hypothetical format?

      Delete
    4. Brew is quite reminiscent of retrace.

      Delete
  3. Here's my first thought. Five lines, though, so probably not common:

    Forbidden Brew B

    Sorcery

    Target opponent choose a number. You may lose that much life and draw two cards; if you don’t, that opponent loses that much life and draws two cards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And here's a second thought, more likely to be common:

      Painful Brew B

      Sorcery

      Target player reveals their hand and you choose a card. That player discards two cards unless they discard the chosen card.

      Delete
    2. I do not want to play the limited format where this is a Common. At a minimum, I suggest making you choose a non-land card, though that gets into templating muck when they don't have a non-land card.

      At first this looks like a choice between Coersion and Mind Rot, and so should be a strictly worse effect than both, but even if they opt for the Mind Rot option, you still get to look at their hand, which can be invaluable.

      So really, this is a choice between a 3 mana effect (Coersion, though it could be a BB effect if you insisted on non-land to make it more like Distress) and a 3+ mana effect (Mind Rot + look at their hand). So I think B is too heavy of a discount.

      I'd propose:

      Painful Brew 1B

      Sorcery

      Target player reveals their hand. You may choose a non-land card from it. If you do, that player discards the chosen card unless that player chooses and discards two other cards.

      ----

      We're pretty far away from common at that point though (although I think the original design is already at least Uncommon, and I could see it being printed at Rare.)

      This is a lot like Blackmail, and that was Uncommon even back in the day.

      Delete
    3. OK, this probably should cost 1B. You're choosing between two (weak) 2B effects, and that should probably only get a savings of 1. I think this would be bad in Limited, even at common. You usually spend some mana and trade one-for-one, and it can't hit their most valuable card unless they have only two cards or the rest of their hand is also pretty good.

      I don't think the nonland restriction is needed; for purposes of keeping someone off their land drops, this is just a cheaper Mind Rot.

      Delete
    4. I think you underestimate "Just a cheaper Mind Rot." Wrench Mind is just a cheaper Mind Rot and it shows up in a lot of cubes.

      I think Mind Rot, like counterspells, is in an awkward spot where two mana is much too little and three mana pushes it out even of limited play most of the time (although Mind Rot is almost always better than people think, and sees a lot of play in sealed).

      At 1B I think this will see significantly more limited play than Mind Rot, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Certainly this card is better than Ravenous Rats, which sees a good amount of play, right?

      I think for complexity, though, it is still at least Uncommon.

      Delete
    5. I may be remembering wrong, but I remember good Limited pros claiming that you should never be playing Mind Rot in Limited outside the slowest of formats.

      But you're probably right on the complexity front. I'm going to keep trying with this theme, though:

      Iocaine Brew {B}

      Sorcery

      Target player reveals his or her hand and you choose two cards from it. That player discards one of those cards.

      Delete
    6. The only time this is worse than Blackmail (assuming all players play optimally) is when your opponent has exactly two cards in hand, right? You even get information about all cards in hand as opposed to just three.

      Delete
    7. Why not just make this Blackmail for two cards?

      Delete
    8. Why not just make this Blackmail or Blackmail for non-lands? I like the option to whiff if they just show you three lands.

      Even back in the day, though, Blackmail was Uncommon. I don't see this more complicated Blackmail making it into Common.

      Delete
    9. PS: I really like Ben's Blackmail for two cards suggestion. I think that would work well in Common, and that was the most common mode of Disciple of Phenax.

      Delete
    10. Also Mind Rot in limited is controversial. Most people advocate playing it in Sealed most of the time that your'e Black, and then opinions are more split on it in draft, and it does certainly depend on format speed.

      If you did not hear about it, a pro recently second picked Rakshasa's Secret in the top 8 of a GP and won the whole thing. So certainly saying "Pros don't like Mind Rot" is not a true statement in general.

      Delete
    11. Blackmail for two cards doesn't appeal to Spike nearly as much. Blackmail for three is OK because you'll see most of their hand and have enough information to make a reasonably-informed decision; Blackmail for two you lack context; my inner Spike is vaguely disgusted by that hypothetical card, but likes Iocaine Brew as-is.

      Delete
    12. Also, this is weaker than Blackmail if they have 2-3 cards in hand; Blackmail would get the best card, where this gets you the second-best one. With four cards both let you take the second-best, but this is slightly better because you'll see the best card as well. With five cards or more this is significantly better, with one card they're identical and bad. In Limited, that's mostly a wash; this is better on turn one, in draw-heavy control matchups, and when they are mana-screwed or land-flooded and were probably going to lose anyway; Blackmail is better the rest of the time, but the difference is smaller.

      Delete
  4. Goetian Consultation
    1B
    Sorcery (C)
    Name a creature card. Reveal the top ten cards of your library and put any cards with the chosen name into your hand, then exile the rest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No commons outside of Hidden Agenda cards and Un Sets involve naming cards. The idea of needing to name a card is so daunting to newer players that I think it is rightly positioned at Uncommon or higher. (That said, I design "name a card" cards all the time, and love them, even though newer playtesters always loathe them.)

      Also, specifying creatures like this does not feel Black to me. But the obvious applications (e.g. Relentless Rats and Shadowborn Apostle) are all Black. The math suggests this card is bad in constructed aside from those cases, where you will have a high chance of whiffing even if you run 4 copies, but will occasionally be devastating (Oh look, I got 3 copies!). That, to me, is the opposite of what Spike wants.

      In limited, the odds are probably even more against you, since it is difficult to get many copies of the same creature.

      In short, I think this could be an awesome card, but I don't think it is quite there yet.

      Delete
    2. RE: Naming — I hadn't really looked at the history of naming cards (which is admittedly quite damning), but what makes you say "naming a card" is any more "daunting" than other choices? The combat step seems like it's probably a more taxing experience than remembering the name of the most exciting creature in your deck. Unless you're just "bad with names".

      RE: Specifying creatures — Doing so definitely infringes upon green's territory, but if there were any hope of being common it isn't appropriate to name any card. Ignoring any other possible revisions, I would say that the ideal flavor interpretation of Goetian consultation would be naming any arcane or demon card, which I think would put it in definitively black territory (though even less Spikey).

      RE: "Quality" — Certainly some part of it being "not all that good" is an effect of trying to figure out a less powerful and less complicated Demonic Consultation. That said, does a Spike card have to be good? Is a "bad" Spike card just a Johnny card aimed at the wrong audience?

      Anyway, lots to think on; thanks for the feedback!

      Delete
    3. I think a Spike card by definition has to be good in the right situation, but a good card is not necessarily a Spike card. Is it a Spike card if Spike never plays it?

      Naming is more daunting because I have to know the names of cards in my deck, and I'd hazard a guess that a lot of Magic players, especially new ones, and especially in draft can't do that. "Umm... that one that is like Exploit and you get to Impulse. Oh yeah, Gurmag Angler!" Wait, it was Gurmag Drowner. Damn!

      And that is in the optimistic case that the player remembers what cards are in their deck, which I think most players won't. How disappointing is it to name Deadly Recluse and then realize you sided it out after game one?

      Naming and Tutoring are probably the effects I most overuse in my designs, and that get heavy sighs, grumpy looks, etc from my playtesters. I'm getting better, but it is still a problem.

      Could your card perhaps name a specific creature type, like Spirit, that appeared at low frequency in the set (but maybe enough at Common that you could draft around it?).

      Delete
    4. I like the creature type version! (Although I don't know if it's common. Or black :))

      I like where this is aiming for, but I also agree I didn't expect "name a card" to be common -- you say "name the most exciting creature in your deck", but do you do that, or do you name the creature you have 2+ of? And if it's playable, it's likely to gum up a lot of games while players say "it probably won't matter, but let me remember, which creatures do I have...?"

      Delete
    5. Re: Naming: I'm not as concerned about this, because a sufficiently detailed description is equivalent to a name for tournament purposes. Re the Gurmag Angler/Drowner scenario, as a judge I'd probably side with the player, as describing the card effect is much more indicative of what strategic play he was trying to make than screwing up one word in a card name.

      Re: Spikiness: I think a Spike card should be aimed at aspects that are important to the Spike experience like tournament viability, skill-testing, and metagaming. If a card aimed at Spike nevertheless fails to be playable, it may just be a bad design, or it may have been WotC knowingly taking a risk and the eventual metagame just not being right for that card. e.g. Hex Parasite and Despise were designed to make non-Jace decks viable in Standard. That they failed doesn't make them not-Spike cards, since they weren't aimed at appealing to Timmy/Tammy or Johnny/Jenny either.

      Re: Mental taxing: Different strokes. I have friends who are great at playing control decks with very little on the field, remembering Dredge piles, Top spins, etc. I'm rubbish at it -- I much prefer decks that center around creature combat and damage race calculations. For me, trying to calculate the probabilities involved in deciding when to cast this card, what to name, and how many of the named card I can expect to get (have remaining in my deck -- I can write out decklists by heart, but trying to remember what's left in my deck on the fly? NOPE) would be utter drudgery, though I agree that makes it more Spikey. There's also a huge risk/reward factor that might make NPE experience worse if they name their best card every time and consistently fail to hit it. This doesn't affect Spikiness, but it might affect what rarity the card should be at.

      Delete
    6. I don't think "mentally taxing" is quite the right word, and again, it is something a lot of players will like. My comments about any strain it puts on new players were essentially 100% aimed at the rarity (which is a key part of this challenge) as opposed to my thinking that players shouldn't have fun making that kind of decision. As I confessed, I've made an awful lot of "name a card" cards in my designs, and I love them.

      Delete
    7. Tommy, "taxing" was a reference to this comment from metaghost:

      "The combat step seems like it's probably a more taxing experience than remembering the name of the most exciting creature in your deck."

      Combat is easy and intuitive for me and remembering what's in my deck is not, while for a lot of my friends it's the exact opposite. While I'm not the target audience for this card, I don't think we can necessarily generalize that other aspects of the game that new players (eventually) have to learn are "just as hard" -- because they're not!

      Delete
    8. More or less scrapping the initial design; how about a modified Viscera Seer:

      Goetian Scholar
      1B
      Creature - Human Wizard (C)
      1/2
      Pay 2 life: Scry 1
      "The Goetian texts of Osé were writ in a curious braille, legible only to the touch of a bloodstained finger."

      Delete
    9. That is awesome, though pretty scary to the developer in me. Make it a 2/1 and it is a Rare I think, and I'd probably rather it be in that space if it turns out this isn't too gross in combo decks. Being able to say "End of your turn I scry 7 cards deep" in a combo deck is pretty scary on turn two!

      Delete
    10. Re Spikiness, I agree the kind of things discussed are especially Spiky, but I think Spikiness is wider than that. I recall Maro answering "which psychographic gets the most cards in a typical set" with "Spike, because most cards are designed for Limited and Spike plays Limited more than the other psychographics." You could even argue than vanilla creatures (especially small ones) are aimed at Spike.

      Delete
    11. Oh definitely. Few things satisfy my Spike-y side like Centaur Courser and Rumbling Baloth (two favorite cards of mine).

      Delete
  5. Forsake B
    Sorcery
    Name a nonland card. Target player reveals their hand and the top card of their library, then puts all cards with that name into their graveyard.

    As Tommy says above, this should rightly go at uncommon.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Bone Dust Potion B
    Instant - (C)

    As an additional cost to cast ~, discard a creature card from your hand. Destroy target creature.

    ----------------

    I think this design (which is pretty much what I thought of immediately upon seeing the picture) lands in Johnny/Spike territory more than pure Spike, but hey, Jenny/Spike is still a Spike!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A Bone Splinters with a very different set of synergies. I like it, though at common I'd expect to see it at sorcery speed, especially because the creature component can't be telegraphed. No reason it couldn't be an Instant in the right set, though.

      Delete
    2. I thought about Sorcery speed, and I think that is very printable, but discarding a creature card is a much higher cost than sacrificing one, I think (for example, very often come mid game you won't even have a creature card in your hand).

      I think at Sorcery speed it could simply be "As an additional cost, discard a card," but for whatever reason I like that design less (though I considered submitting it).

      There are definitely sets where I wouldn't want a Black instant removal card floating around that cost B (Theros, for example), but I think it is often okay, and is telegraphed by having 2+ cards in hand late in the game (which is a different kind of telegraphing than we've seen before, I think).

      Delete
    3. Oh, nice. Don't know about the exact cost/timing/restriction but I like the idea.

      An obvious choice for a common black spike card is removal, but recently removal has been moved around a lot and got more expensive, which I think is a good thing overall, but I think even Spikes find it hard to get excited about expensive removal, even they know it's playable.

      A card that has a non-mana cost is a good way of getting an unconditional cheap removal spell into common. I don't think Spike would *love* this, but I think they'd understand it's usefulness.

      I've been trying to think of other common black removal that's cheap enough to be attractive but not an auto-play, but haven't thought of anything yet.

      Delete
    4. Spike won't love it if the only reason to play this is as a clunky removal spell (and this is super, super clunky). But there is a lot more you can do with this, especially in Black, than just use it as a C- removal spell. That is why I said Johnny/Spike.

      Delete
    5. @jack Vendetta is probably the closest example, right?

      @Tommy I definitely enjoy Spike-Jenny reanimation enablers.

      Delete
    6. Is this better or worse than Lightning Axe?

      Did anyone here play Time Spiral? Did you consider Lightning Axe to be a fun or powerful/good playable card?

      Delete
    7. Lightning Axe is definitely too complicated to be a Common these days. It is important to remember that Lightning Axe was doing a lot of work in TSP limited, so it is hard to compare it to a card in a vacuum, but I think even in a vacuum it is much better than Bone Dust Potion, which is fine because limited is in a different place now than it was then.

      The only times you would rather have Bone Dust Potion than Lightning Axe is when you're trying to kill something with more than 5 toughness or they have a Giant Growth effect. Otherwise, it is just less flexible both since you have to pitch a creature and because you can opt not to and simply play it as a Sip of Hemlock.

      In TSP Lightning Axe enabled both the Madness theme in Black and the Storm theme in Red.

      Delete
  7. Potion of Dark Knowledge B
    Sorcery (Instant?) - (C)
    As an additional cost to cast Potion of Dark Knowledge, pay 2 life and sacrifice a creature.
    Draw three cards.
    “Drops of own blood: check.
    Corpse of a minion, in powder: check.
    ...How is it that I always use up all the toad’s eyes?”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's quite the upgrade on Altar's Reap!

      Delete
    2. Ah, I'm really not a developer! I was fairly sure it was decently balanced... I wanted it to be powerful, but maybe it's more fair at 1B or 2B.

      Delete
    3. Given that drawing 3 cards is pretty unprecedented in Black at Common, and that Vivesection even costs 3U, I think this is something like 3B or 3BB.

      Delete
  8. Necrospection {3}{B}
    Sorcery
    Put the top four cards of your library into your graveyard, then return two cards from your graveyard to your hand. You lose 2 life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The returning part here is not Black, that's Green.

      Delete
    2. Isn't this exactly Bitter Revelation, but strictly better?

      Delete
  9. [I don't know, if someone has any idea, please comment.] 1BB
    Sorcery - C
    Draw 3 cards, then lose 1 life for each card in your hand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great minds and all, I suggested this verbatim above.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I just saw it. I don't look at other people's submissions before thinking of my own so I don't copy someone's idea, but that obviously didn't work so well^^

      Delete
  10. I volunteer to do renders this week.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think Spike loves in-game decisions and flexibility. In many cases, they also like control and valuetown. So morph is a great mechanic for Spike - when to morph, when to play face-up, identifying morphs across the table - are all fun game experiences for a Limited Spike. Unfortunately, black didn't get many good morphs in the last few sets.

    I can't actually come up with any value morphs that enforce decisions, but here's a common that wants to know whether you're playing aggro or control.

    Sorin's Guide 3B
    Creature - Vampire Warrior
    Morph 2B
    Flying, CARDNAME can't block.
    When CARDNAME is turned face-up, target player loses 2 life.
    2/2

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Solid card. However, face-up mode is awful for control and face-down mode also gives you an aggro unmorph trigger, so I can't figure out where the "control" aspect is supposed to come in. I also don't like "can't block" on a common morph for complexity reasons.

      I don't see either flying or warrior in this art.

      Delete
    2. This Morph card doesn't impress the Spike in me.

      For the record, I really liked the Black Common morphs... Krumar Bond-Kin and Ruthless Ripper especially.

      Delete
    3. Jenesis - fair point about the unmorph trigger being very aggro, and that this card is generally way better in an aggro deck than a controlling one. Maybe make it lose 2, gain 2?

      But in Limited most decks are somewhere along the spectrum, and whether you're playing aggro or control can vary during a single match or game - even a control needs to start attacking eventually.

      Delete
  12. Welcoming Gift 1B
    Enchantment (C)
    Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under an opponent's control, you may sacrifice Welcoming Gift. If you do, destroy that creature.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grave Peril that you get to choose is good. I'd play this in Limited.

      Delete
    2. Ha! I like it, though I wonder if its Spikiness is illusory, merely brought about by its presumed similarity to Seal of Doom.

      It's certainly a skill-tester though.

      Delete
    3. I don't think this costs 1B at Common in modern day limited.

      Delete
  13. Amateur Necromancer B
    Creature - Human Wizard (C)
    5B, Sacrifice Amateur Necromancer: Target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn.
    1/1
    "Stupid book. Where am I supposed to find a soul to forfeit?"
    --Caadavus Bek, last words

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Make it a bear with upside (1B 2/1 with the current ability) and I'm onboard. Spikes do love cards that have value both early and late game as a way of minimizing 'turn-screw' (i.e., drawing a grizzly bear on turn 10 or a pelakka wurm on turn 2).

      Delete
    2. Agree that I like it way better at 1B for a 2/1, though this is the kind of card that they've been doing a lot lately that I am always initially excited about and then end up just hating. See, for example, Cackling Triton, Corpse Hauler, Burnished Hart, Generator Servant, etc.

      Delete
    3. A bear it is. Officially changing it to 2/1 for 1B.

      Why that as a preference? More value early?

      Delete
    4. A one mana 1/1 is basically worthless, so it doesn't provide any real flexibility. In the right set a 2 mana 2/1 is just fine. They've done a good job at moving that line lately though.

      Delete
  14. Last Wail of the Damned 3B
    Instant (C)
    Target opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life for each creature that died this turn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd suggest moving the "for each creature that died this turn" to the front of this sentence.

      Delete
    2. I don't love the memory issues in this. Could we do this card forward instead of backwards?

      Delete
    3. Tommy: as in "until end of turn, whenever a creature dies, target opponent loses one life and you gain 1 life."

      For max spike appeal, the original is stronger. Counting the number of creatures that died "this turn" doesn't really seem that bad. Either you remember how many died or you remember to trigger this multiple times for the rest of the turn. One trigger or many?

      Delete
    4. Mike, yes that is exactly what I meant. If you're forced to play it before it is a lot easier to count, especially if there are tokens involved, etc.

      Delete
  15. Negaverse Alchemist 1B
    Cre- human wizard
    Sacrifice CARDNAME: The value of each counter on target creature is inverted, until end of turn. (+'s become -, and vice versa)
    1/1

    Not 100% on the template, but I'm sure this can be expressed, in plain English, without having to jump through linguistic hoops.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I posted the first card, I had a better idea. Take 2:

      Poisoner's draught. BB
      Instant
      Target creature's base power and toughness become 0/0 until end of turn.

      Delete
    2. This reads very strong, but would be horrible in +1/+1 counter world. A la Terror as seen on Mirrodin

      Delete
  16. Malice Seer (common)
    1BB
    Creature - Human Cleric
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, target player discards a card and you draw a card.
    1/2

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, Spike does usually like ridiculously efficient piles of value. This is a 2.5-for-1 and affects the board (though not much; a 1/2 vanilla is worth about half a card, I think.)

      Mulldrifter is uncommon in both Modern Masters purely for power level, and this is 80% as good for much cheaper. I don't think this is a printable common.

      Delete
    2. Agree with Czynski. I think this kind of card advantage is really bad for the game, and I'm happy they've been hedging away from it. I think if this somehow ended up at Common (which I think is nearly impossible) it would cost something like 4BB like Grave Exchange.

      (Mulldrifter being at Common was a huge mistake. Even in the super high powered MMAs they have upshifted it.)

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    3. So Divination and Mind Rot are both 2-for-1s at common for 2C. Malice Seer is a 2.5-for-1 for 1CC; as you pointed out, a 1/2 body isn't very good, which is why Elvish Visionary is cheaper than Divination.

      As for the Mulldrifter comparison, Mulldrifter is insane because the body is good (Wind Drake by itself is usually playable in Limited) *and* you have the option of ignoring the body if you'd rather have the cards sooner. Flexibility + evasion = value.

      Also keep in mind that drawing a card gets you an average card, while making your opponent discard gets the worst card in their hand.

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    4. Card advantage that affects the board, even if it isn't a huge board presence, is fantastic in Limited. Divination and Mind Rot aren't good because they put you behind on tempo; Mulldrifter is fantastic for 5 mana because it is a fine tempo play and also a 3-for-1.

      This doesn't give you a tempo advantage, but it does keep you from falling far behind, and gives you card advantage. Mind Rot is bad, but a 2B 1/1 with 'When ~ ETB, Mind Rot' would be very good. If this cost 4B it would not be good; it's no Mulldrifter. But at 1BB it's way too strong.

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    5. 2/1s and 3/1s exist, and if this trades with one, it is a full card. It wasn't long ago Phyrexian Rager saw play in cubes.

      This is very undercosted, and not common, but the "I draw, you discard" effect is cool enough that I think they could use it more. I don't think it really needs to be on a creature.

      If I were to nudge this, I'd suggest a 1BB 2/2 that when it ETBs you choose one of these effects.

      Also note Black does not usually get just "you draw a card" without a payment like life.

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    6. Hmm. Riffing based on Tommy's comment:
      Last Unhinged Caress
      Sorcery, 2B, common
      Target player discards a card and loses 1 life. You draw a card and gain 1 life.

      Black card draw normally has to have life loss or some other sacrifice (Skulltap / Altar's Reap etc). But there's also some precedent for it tied to other effects that make it feel like a drain or vampiric somehow (Syphon Mind).

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    7. I like Alex's design. Does it feel vampiric enough if we just say "Target player discards a card and you draw a card," or does that start to feel too UB?

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    8. I see with some searching that card exists and is called Unhinge. Well played Alex, well played.

      Could they print Unhinged at UB?

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    9. "Choose one:
      Target player discards a card and gains 1 life, or
      Target player draws a card and loses 1 life."

      Could go on an ETB. It's four modes, wrapped in one!

      Delete
    10. I like Pasteur's tweak a lot better than the original. Calls to mind the Exarchs and modal guys from FRF.

      Delete
  17. Reckless Alchemy
    1B
    Sorcery
    Target player reveals their hand. Choose a nonland card from it and exile that card. They may cast that card until the end of their next turn.

    My favourite ideas were variants of Jenesis' "draw, then discard unless you pay life". I also considered "look at the top card of your library, you may pay life and put it into your graveyard" either as a repeatable effect (maybe), an ETB effect, or a spell. But that all seems to be the same general idea.

    So I looked for something else. Targeted discards are common some of the time, and I think spike-friendly, since they're aimed at heading off future misfortune rather than building something specific. Can I make one that's cheaper or more universal, but still common?

    I'm not sure this qualifies, but I thought it was interesting. It's 2-mana for a targeted discard, which is fairly good. With a fairly big drawback that spike won't like a lot, that it can't deal with _immediate_ threats. But then it can be costed appropriately for a card that only takes care of _future_ threats (or occasionally, manipulating the opponent into a tactical situation where they have to pay mana for something else next turn), which hopefully Spike values MORE than other players. But I'm not sure, suggestions on exact cost and timing restriction?

    And I liked how that fit the manic feel of the art.

    I even considered making it an instant (probably with "until end of turn" instead of "until end of next turn"), as "playing cards in end steps" is something Spike likes, and this is discard which isn't unfun if you play it after someone's draw step. But I figured it was still too much for common, that it could be near-unconditional discard if you played it in your turn or their end step.

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    Replies
    1. Nifty! Yes, as far as I can tell this hits everything you were going for: interesting to Spike, decent power level, plausible cost, and even just about plausible for common. Nice!

      Delete
    2. Is it awful that I want to use this to squeeze a little extra value from Wheel effects/cast Ad Nauseam off a pile of LEDs?

      Delete
    3. Thanks both!

      Jenesis: I think that's awesome :) I'm not sure it's a good idea, but if a card gives people those ideas, I think it's a good idea :)

      FWIW, I'm not very good at playing spike, but I think spike appreciates odd off-brand usages in theory, and is all over a card that actually has multiple useful effects. But usually discounts "and occasionally you can", because most players overvalue things that rarely come up. But I think they value flexible cards more in sideboards (or sets), when there's a greater chance of saying "well, everyone discounts X, but I realised it's synergistic with Y and Z and build this strong deck everyone else overlooked".

      But help me out, I'm blanking on what you mean about Ad Nauseam?

      Delete
    4. It's actually a pretty cool interaction! So, the way Ad Nauseam is most-of-the-time cast is to Ritual up to at least 4 mana with a Lion's Eye Diamond in play. You then cast Infernal Tutor, and in response, crack the LED. The LED discards your hand and gives you three mana moving forward; the Tutor checks for Hellbent on resolution. You resolve the tutor, put Ad Nauseam into your hand, and can cast it using the LED-mana.

      With Reckless Alchemy, if the Ad Nauseam is in your hand but you have LED's in hand/in play, you can target yourself and exile it, effectively making a little "pocket hand" in exile from which you can cast Ad Nauseam, no matter how many times you "discard your hand" due to other effects.

      Delete
  18. Ritual of the Dead
    Sorcery, 1B
    Destroy target creature with toughness less than or equal to the number of cards in your graveyard.

    Yes, it's generally rather worse than Ghastly Demise, but even so I think it provides slightly more interesting decisions than most common removal while still keeping a chance it could be common.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love it! Might you consider making it damage? That is a lot cleaner, I think.

      Delete
    2. That wouldn't be black. -0/-X would be, though.

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    3. There are a lot of Black cards that deal damage, including Corpse Lunge and Drain Life variants. No reason to resort to the very inaesthetic -0/-X

      Delete
    4. -X/-X would make a lot of sense. But it's quite a bit stronger: it can be used to kill something big postcombat after it blocks a 2/2.

      And it actually doesn't save much space at all:

      "Destroy target creature with toughness less than or equal to the number of cards in your graveyard."
      "Target creature gets -X/-X until end of turn, where X is the number of cards in your graveyard."
      "Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn for each card in your graveyard" is shorter but more confusing, I think.
      "CARDNAME deals X damage to target creature, where X is the number of cards in your graveyard." doesn't save many words either, and needs some justification in black: Corpse Lunges are very few and far between.

      Given all of which, I'm not sure I see a clear-cut argument for changing wording. I wouldn't object if development wanted to change it to -X/-X, but it doesn't seem especially clear to me that that's significantly better.

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    5. It's not a matter of space, but of awkward/unusual wording. Why measure a creature's toughness if you're going to destroy it outright when oughness already serves that purpose against damage and shrinkage?

      Delete
  19. Grim Transformation 3B
    Instant (c)
    Target player sacrifices a creature. Put a 2/2 black zombie creature token onto the battlefield tapped under your control.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm. Instant-speed Nekrataal rings to me as uncommon, and probably a higher cost. Feast or Famine is about as strong as I'd want from this at 3B.

      Delete
    2. Indeed this is Syphon Flesh (an uncommon) but at instant speed for two less mana.

      Delete
  20. PS: Just wanted to say to Jay, this specifying Color + Rarity + Art is my favorite kind of challenge.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Foretell Disfigurement 1B
    Instant (c)
    Scry 2. Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.

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    Replies
    1. I had a cute idea that's probably not common:

      Foretell Doom 2B
      Instant (u)
      Scry 3. Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn for each card put on the bottom of your library this way.

      Thoughts? I think spike likes this flexibility, but *could* this be common?

      Delete
    2. I don't think this gets to be common in a world where Magma Jet is always uncommon.

      Delete
    3. I think Foretell Disfigurement is above the current rate for Common removal. Consider that Debilitating Injury is like a Sorcery Speed no Scry version and was one of the best commons in Khans.

      I think Foretell Disfigurement cooooooould stretch into Common as is in exactly the right set, but I would expect it to be 2B.

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    4. I don't like the design of Foretell Doom. Letting a player Scry but then incentivizing them to just ignore it and put eveyrthing on the bottom is just begging to make players unhappy. "I really want to kill this 4/3 but I really don't want to put my bomb on bottom."

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    5. I agree. Explosive Revelation and Judge Unworthy had something of the same problem, but at least there you could leave the land you were waiting for second down in the library.

      I think Foretell Disfigurement could cost 3B and would be perfectly playable (in Limited, which is where commons' playability mainly matters).

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    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    7. Good points, thanks! I think the second design is more interesting, so I'll stretch it into common and make it my official entry. To attempt to fix the feel-bad, I'll count the cards on top:

      Foretell Doom 2B
      Instant (c)
      Scry 2. Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn for each card put on top of your library this way.

      Still too strong?

      Delete
    8. I'd say you could very safely cost the latest version at 1B. It might still be uncommon based on complexity, but otherwise I like the design a lot.

      Delete
    9. I don't think putting cards you don't want on top of your library to kill a creature isn't any better than putting cards you do want on bottom of your library. This card basically forces you to put both cards on top to do something useful, and so this has the "Sage Owl" problem.

      If you have never played with Sage Owl, it is probably one of the least fun cards to play in all of Magic. You keep your two land hand thinking "I've got this owl, he'll help me," and then you play it turn two and see 4 non-land cards and have to keep playing knowing that you are totally screwed.

      Delete
  22. Focus the art on the smoking skull goblet please.

    Necrotic Charm BB
    Instant (U)
    Choose one —
    • Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.
    • Target creature gains lifelink until end of turn. Regenerate it.
    • Target opponent loses 3 life.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Ignore my previous entry as it wasn't uncommon

    Fleeting Shade 1B
    Creature - Shade (C)
    B: CARDNAME gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Put a -1/-1 counter on it.
    1/1

    ReplyDelete
  24. Don't have an email address for Jay; Renders at https://www.dropbox.com/s/yl7ycwvnnpr9p6y/RuslayerRenders.zip?dl=0

    ReplyDelete