Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Weekend Art Challenge Review 100215—Peter Morbacher

Weekend Art Challenge Review
Design an Eldrazi card for a future set.

Apostate of Kruphix is not an Eldrazi but a Gorgon of Theros, presumably after Emrakul attacks the Grecian plane, initiating an epic battle between the greatest of Eldrazi titans and the gods of Theros. This three-mana 2/4 uncommon can lock a player out of the game entirely by causing them to only draw land for the rest of the game. Can we represent a player being blinded without costing them the game on turn 3 half the time?

Broodwitch of Malakir suggests that the Eldrazi begin to corrupt or cross-breed with Zendikar's native species in the next set. Actually, the way Broodwitch explodes into a mass of Scions suggests that both are happening here: This vampire has been impregnated by the Eldrazi somehow, and that has changed her fundamentally. That's really disturbing in an awesome way.

Kozilek's Abberation

Kozilek's Aberration is a vanilla common Eldrazi, bringing the strange in the form of twobrid (as a replacement for devoid). It won't enable colorless-matters effects (which seems like a non-starter for Oath of the Gatewatch), but it can be cast in a deck with no red mana sources. Very cool to see such a simple Eldrazi that's still very distinctive. Development will have to verify that a 7/1 is fair at {R}{R}{R}, {2}{R}{R}, {4}{R} & {6}; As long as it's not trivial to play mono-red in Limited, I suspect that's all reasonable. That flexibility is always great, but there's a significant disparity between three mana and six, and I have trouble imagining anyone actually playing this with no red mana in their deck.

Magnate of Isolation is a one-sided Divine Reckoning on a stick. Given that it's unblockable until they cast a new creature, I'd happily play that even if it were symmetrical. Which raises the question, should it kill Eldrazi? What if it instead exiled all non-colorless creatures, like All is Dust?
Assuming we keep it as-is, here's a template that avoids double negatives: "each opponent chooses one of the creatures he or she controls and exiles the rest."

Oblivion Crusher is a white Eldrazi without devoid that permanently exiles a less expensive creature. White remained uncorrupted in BfZ and it would make sense to illustrate the spread of the Eldrazi's influence in OGw by making white Eldrazi there, but I have to assume the lack of devoid was an oversight. Tweaking white's usual exile-until-LTB with straight-up exile is also a nice demonstration of Eldrazi influence on white; keeping the target small references one of white's themes, but in reverse, which is debatable but I'm leaning toward clever. Lacked rarity; I'd say uncommon.

Our Lady of Insanity features a very cool ability for a rare Eldrazi, though not one that should show up on any other cards, and so not worthy of a keyword. Countermagic is only blue in the modern color pie, so making this mono-black doesn't fit that mold. (I'm not convinced things should remain that way, and Eldrazi are a good time to explore such bleeds, but I'd love to hear why black.) Should Eldrazi punish players for running expensive decks? It is nice that it rewards playing more land.

Jack also mentioned the idea of 'evil-cascade' instead of countermagic. I imagine "Whenever an opponent casts a spell from their hand, counter it. They exile cards from the top of their deck until they exile a nonland card that costs less. They may cast it without paying its mana cost, then put the exiled cards on the bottom in a random order." Again, I wouldn't want that on multiple cards, but that would demonstrate imposed insanity very well on a single rare. Probably red.

Seer of Kozilek triggers directly off of its own ingest, something nothing from BfZ does. That's hugely appropriate for a rare (of which there's only 1 in BfZ) and I wouldn't be remotely suprised to see something like this in OGw. It's not completely obvious whether this will trigger multiple times when you hit a player with multiple ingest creatures. (It will, because each is its own trigger.)

Witch of the Void looks to explore the odd-CMC theme BfZ purportedly had more of in Design. It rewards you for playing odd spells, which makes sense, but it punishes your opponent for doing the same; Given Void Winnower, I would expect it to punish them for casting even spells. It's debatable: The fact that it punishes them by rewarding you could justify it (though I lean against that argument). I have to mention that it's much more powerful to mention 'odd' spells than 'even' ones as Void Winnower does. Again, assuming the lack of devoid was an oversight.

We thought the multiverse was in trouble with three Eldrazi titans! The first two lines make perfect sense for a mythic Eldrazi. The third does too, maybe? It's hard to judge. It's completely immune in combat, but so is Ulamog. On the other hand, this doesn't just kill you fast, it also prevents you from racing. Development would have to determine if Zogekov's middle two abilities are just too much. Assuming they're not, Eternity's Grasp is a very cool Eldrazi legend. Is the last ability Brooding Saurian just for strangeness?

Very neat to see a wide range of Eldrazi from common to mythic, {3} to {9}. I feel like every single design nailed the concept of 'disturbingly alien.'

Thanks to Jenesis for rendering the cards.


  1. I choose U/R mostly for the color palet of the artwork. I don't think there's anything particularly red about the card mechanically unless the effect were to be made symmetrical.

  2. The last ability on Zogekov was so that killing her would remove the whole threat she posed (including everything she stole), but not give you back things.

    It should possibly be simpler; in that case, I'd have her combat ability only steal for as long as you controlled Zogekov, and remove the last ability entirely. (The cast trigger would stay permanent, which seems weird, but OK.)

    1. I'm fine with exiling what she stole, but she exiles anything anyone stole; that's what threw me.

  3. Ya, I forgot devoid. Plus to make it similar to Void Winnower, I was trying to not use any even numbers. I would have to change the scry number, but what about the mana cost? It's technically 3, but it has a 2! 1UU would work. Until I complain that there is "two blue mana symbols". But that's just being picky. This is mostly an atheistic thing that I could have done better.

    Why is it more powerful to mention Odd versus Even? Just curious.

    1. Odd means both 'numbers that aren't even' as well as 'strange:' the thing we want to get across about the Eldrazi. Even mostly just means 'numbers that aren't odd.'

  4. I agree with the problems with insanity but I'm still interested in a combination which would work as a keyword without completely locking people out of the game. Spells opponents cast cost 1 more? Spells opponents cast have a 10% chance of costing 1 more?

    1. You could surely find a keyword that's reasonable (Perhaps 'colored spells cost 1 more' or 'Exile the top. If it's colored, your spell costs 1 more) but will that be fun? It's permission for one player, and passive for the other.

    2. "Target opponent plays with the top card of their library revealed. Spells that share a color with that card cost 1 more to cast."

      Still probably "rare one-off" rather than keyword, but it at least reduces/moves the uncertainty. You know in a given turn how much your spells will cost; what you don't know is whether they'll be cheaper the next turn, or two turns from now, or not.