Thursday, April 14, 2016

Weekend Art Challenge Review 040816—tribal

Hello Artisans, Anastase here. On the brink of time before the next WAC I present you with its review!

A big "Thank you" to Jenesis for doing the renders, this week has been hectic for me.

This is the challenge we are reviewing.

The evolution of tribal is not an easy task to tackle, so let us examine what we crafted:

Jenesis' Wanderbrine Geist is a more traditional lord in that it refers to creature types directly instead of using something the tribes care about. However the tapping and untapping is part of the venn diagram of what spirits and merfolk like to do. I might have added a "non-land" clause to the tapping but otherwise, a nice card that encourages attacking both for you and your opponent.

Jack tries to present an unconventional ambassador mechanic that allows you to combine factions in your deck.  He mentioned in the comments that he was aiming for exactly that since he liked how Lorwyn tried to push us in that direction.

While I get the flavor, I am not partial to this lord. He does care about attacking, which is a great way to promote interaction, but the bonus he gives is very powerful yet not that interesting nor very resonant of orcs. I was looking for something that would be more reminiscent of a Cloudgoat Ranger than of a (less restrictive) Hamlet Captain. How about something like "Whenever CARDNAME attacks, non-orc attacking creatures gain trample and get +1/+0 for each attacking orc you control"?

I like the mechanics of this enchantment by pasteur. It does not restrict us to merfolks yet clearly wants us to add merfolks in our decks. It is a simple design but it works. Flavor-wise however, I am quite confused. When my creature dies it becomes a spirit. Ok. Why does it become a merfolk spirit? And does my merfolk's soul split in two when it dies?

I had missed the "you control" part in my first read of Jay's shaman. This is an interesting and flavorful mechanic. I feel the shaman scarified itself to generate that fire. Plus this screams of orcish artillery, an orc, without ever mentioning the card. Well played.

I want to build a commander deck with Gura Blackblood at its helm. The two abilities synergize wonderfully. That being said, I would have preferred if the second ability did not target orcs only. It would make the card less restrictive while it would still encourage you to play orcs to maximize the menace part of the first ability.

I like that Ecoabismo's First Line Trainer is not dead in multiples and encourages you to play with non-warriors to maximize the bonus it gives. However I could see players trying to include only this warrior in the deck to maximize the secondary ability. It could perhaps become: Whenever a creature you control without +1/+1 counters on it is dealt damage...
Good work.

The Bloodcliff Dominator is an interesting uncommon by Taresivon. It is almost a warrior-centric aura that grants +3/+3 and trample, yet it is more than that. A sacrifice outlet to get your creature out of a pacifism or a claustrophobia, and make it stand on the shoulder of giants. Although I guess it is under the foot of the giant in this case... This card will really depend on the environment that surrounds it, but if warriors keep getting peaceful or sleepy, the Dominator will be stellar.

Ok. Theo's card is a human devil summoner? That gives you a free lightning bolt when you sacrifice the devil, a way to sacrifice a devil AND a devil blocker per turn? Also a human with a power of 5? The mana cost is high enough, the toughness low enough that it could potentially happen, yet somehow this design feels like a neat idea was piled on top of another and then you tried to squeeze them into a card and adjust the casting cost. Sometimes having many abilities is too much of a good thing. I would remove the second ability, make the first one conditional on something you want players to be doing, lower the power, assign a rarity and reduce the casting cost. :)

Designing lords that care about what your tribe does best instead of just your creature type is hard and few of the designs this week delivered on that. However the majority of them are very interesting designs in their own right. See you tomorrow when we will be investigating ways that clues can still be designed.


  1. Orc Ambassador contains a very cool seed of an idea.

    "Whenever an Orc you control and a non-Orc attack, they both get +1/+1 and gain trample until EOT."

    Except not Orcs, because Orcs don't mingle well.

    1. This templating reads slightly awkward, but in essence, if I attack with one orc (the amabassador) and 3 other creatures, my ambassador gets +3/+3 and each other creature gets +1/+1, right? And if I attack with two orcs and 3 other creatures, the orc s get each +3/+3 and the other creatures +2/2?

      I am not sure how to evaluate the mechanic.

    2. Hmm. More ambiguous than I'd intended.

      I was thinking for every pair of creatures you (and your teammate) have, if one is an orc and one isn't, they each boost once.

      And I expected someone might say it only triggers once per turn. I didn't expect anyone to say it triggers for every possible pairing of attackers, but now it's clear why you would.

      "Whenever an Orc and a non-Orc attack on your turn, attacking creatures get +1/+1 until EOT."

      That's simple, but too easy.

      "Whenever you attack, if there are at least as many non-Orcs attacking as Orcs, attacking creatures get +1/+1 and Orcs gain trample until EOT."

  2. I'd also take menace off of Gura Blackblood, so it's first activated ability is more meaningful.

    1. I was on the fence on removing menace. On one hand I felt like it would encourage you to use its first ability, creating interesting decisions, on the other hand it felt aesthetically pleasing that she taught her followers how to be menacing, and it follows wizards line of lords à la goblin chieften. That lead me to just ignore it.

    2. If we keep menace, I'd want to keep haste too.

    3. if so she would need to cost more

  3. First Line Trainer tells a great story.

    I support Anastase's tweak, because then you're not penalized for playing warriors after the Trainer.

  4. Wanderbrine Geist would be an auto-play in any WU Limited deck, and would do good work incentivizing merfolk+spirit tribal when you do get it. Might add {1} and move to uncommon to let players enjoy that more, if it supported the set's goals. But maybe double-tribal should remain rare?