Monday, August 31, 2015

Weekend Art Challenge Review 082815—Jungshan

Weekend Art Challenge Review
Design a card for this art that includes the words "deals damage to." If your card is red, try to find a new angle on burn. If your card isn't, be sure to justify that fact.

I love the tap ability on Al-Nar, Quickshot. "Fellow archers, follow my aim!" Red doesn't often get archers because they have reach rather than pyromancy, but Al-Nar is a paragon whose archery is as great as pyromancy (and perhaps fueled by it) and who can inspire other archers likewise (or bestow his pyromantic archery on them). Cool.

A cost of {R}{R} is reasonable in terms of power, but it is awkward to make a tribal lord in a color other than that tribe's main color especially when you require two mana of the new color. Moreso for a potential Commander. I'd rather see {2}{R} (or perhaps {2R}{R} or {2R}{2R} if the set already uses twobrid, which basically no sets do).

Assassin's Wrath could say "destroy target creature with toughness 4 or less" but "target player with 4 or less life loses the game" is a stretch for uncommon (not for power reasons). Damage helps tie the two modes together while the restriction feels plenty black (and not at all red). My inner Spike wants this to cost less because it's slow and will be dead in hand more often than I'd like, but then we'd lose aesthetics… Instant? That's kind a weird. Guess it's best as-is.

Burning Arrow is a totes legit red-white hybrid. Basically Fire at Will and that's solid design. Could we have a combat-only Arc Trail? I ask imagining the flaming arrow striking the first target and sliding through sans fire to hit the next. Too good to cast for {1}{W}?

Burning Volley kind of hits the flavor I just wrote. You nail a creature in combat, and with the right mana, it goes right through and hits its master. I like this a lot. (Note that it's stronger than Lightning Helix, though.)

Yikes. That's quite the mythic equipment. The downside is that it takes 8 mana before it does anything, but the anything that it does is kill all your opponent's blockers and then hit them square in the face. I'd prefer Everflame Bow as an aura, since I really don't see how you win a game where this gets re-equipped. Alternately, reduce all the numbers by half and choose a single target to flambé. That's still really good. Hell, look at this almost strictly worse version that's still crazy:

Given the limit to a single source and the condition of only affecting red sources, I'm confident Fire to Arrows could prevent all the damage at uncommon. Or cantrip. Or redirect the prevented damage back to its owner. I do love the flavor inversion here.

Cool. Flamebow Master is a complement to Fire Servant, and one that's pretty cool to see. My big reservation is that we don't see a lot of Prodigal Pyromancers nowadays, but I suppose Master could be justified in a set with one of those at uncommon and Pitchburn Devils + Sparkmage Apprentice at common. Maybe we should ratchet Master up a notch so it can be rare?

Nooo! Flamebow Sureshot was so close to being beautiful and awesome, but the blaze counter doesn't continue to burn as on Obsidian Fireheart. In fairness, if I didn't have that context, Sureshot would be very cool on its own. Particularly how two Sureshots make each blaze counter burn for 2 no matter which brought it into existence.


Flameshot Strike deals 6 damage for five mana, but very conditionally. First, both you and your opponent have to control a creature before you can cast it at all, and then you're dealing 3-6 damage to 1 or 2 creatures, depending on how blocks went. I like the flavor and simplicity a lot. I think this would be very strong but printable at {2}{R}, so maybe {2}{R}{R} would be fine?

Flamestrider's Mark is a Shock the turn you cast it and a Prodigal Pyromancer every turn after, provided you've got a creature that can attack and survive. If you don't, it's a Flame Jab. The first mode seems quite strong (but I don't think too strong—the attack requirement is lovely) and the second quite weak. I like the idea of an alternate-cast aura like evoke, but this execution needs less power loss between its modes. Maybe add "or leaves the battlefield"?

Take Imbue with Fire off the grill. It's piping hot and ready to be served.

Kolaghan Rearguard is clearly a dragon-matters card for DTK. It's a nice aggressive 3/2 for two and it also packs a wallop late-game when you've got a dragon. I like this design better than most of the dragon-matters cards from the set. Cool.

It's easy to be distracted by the "you don't control" clause (which I guess is there to stop some truly Blasphemous Acts), but this (half-) white card does not prevent the damage (nor redirect it), it just matches it. That would also be more clear with the correct templating, but mostly I'm trying to figure out what makes Purposeful Aim white. Is it the call-back to Eye for an Eye?

The flavor's very red-white and pretty bad-ass.

Now that's one wrath-y Fog. Even as a multicolor rare, I'm not convinced Safe Passage can be a Plague Wind and cost less. Except for double-strike, Sabotage Weaponry could be simplified to "~ deals X damage to each attacking creature, where X is the number of attacking creatures… also Safe Passage." I'll grant it's fair against two creatures, but you often hold your Wrath of God past two creatures anyhow. Against 3+, especially if you've got a blocker or two, it's just a complete blow out. This could easily cost {3}{W}{R}. Power/cost concerns aside, Sabotage Weaponry expresses it's flavor very well and so does its flavor text. It's also totally red-white.

Shivan Sniper is a lovely evolution of Prodigal Pyromancer. It's no less asthetically-pleasing (because the 2 matches the {2}) and gives you a good reason not to just wait until your opponent's end step and tap. I could see this being a permanent replacement going forward. (Not that they print Tom much anymore.)

Multiply by X is a new phrase in Magic and certainly an exciting one. Note how Sight-Arrow Raider combos with Everflame Bow (for 24 damage) and very nearly with Flameshot Strike. I have no idea if this can be balanced, but if so, Johnny and Jenny will salivate long and hard over it. Funny how we don't see sacrifice-this very often in red anymore, but it's still appropriate, at least mechanically.

So much awesome.

Bah. Too much inspiration not to make my own on the spot:

Thanks to Brian for rendering the cards.


  1. I definitely messed up by making {R} the placeholder mana cost and then not going through to replace all of them on the final pass (Flameshot Strike should also be 3RR).

    I'm really curious whether "doubling the damage" is easier for comprehension than "deals damage equal to life lost this turn." One triggers before the damage is dealt, the other afterwards, so there's some flavor and mechanical differences, but overall the effects are really similar, so I think it would come down to which one is actually more net-complex.

    1. That's also a great design. For some reason I thought it didn't have "deals damage to" in it yesterday though..

    2. Yeh was sad to see the Flameshot Strike design had the wrong mana cost. Meant it didn't get as much feedback.

  2. I love the flavour on Al-Nar. It's usually equivalent to "T: Damage equal to the number of archers", but there's the thrill of combo'ing with deathtouch on Thornweald Archer.

  3. Gorram Lunatic is very unique in that the type of red instant spells it wants you to play aren't just the usual burn. And that's because it nearly always needs to get into combat in order to turn sideways. So it wants Thunder Strike and Temur Battle Rage, (or to a lesser degree, Titan's Strength and Trumpet Blast.) Things that help it survive combat each turn. A smaller body but with first strike may be a way to further promote this play style. This is an excellent design when you want to promote small creature armies, like Boros. Nice design.

  4. Commander is my favorite constructed format, but I don't think every legendary creature needs to be a good commander. It's weird that people think that, though. Maybe because "legendary" is only an upside keyword in commander (where it means you can pick it as a commander?)