Friday, May 13, 2016

Weekend Art Challenge Review 050616—Daniel Dociu & New Challenge 051316

Hello all, Anastase here.
This week we are combining the review with the challenge! You will find the review of all the cards submitted bellow, and a challenge for each of those cards.

For your answers cards, you can choose among the following artworks:

by Adam Duff
by Jonathon Earl Bowser
by FangWangLlin
Please specify which card you are answering and which artwork you are using for your answer in your design submission.

Each Artisan is allowed one design per card challenge but can update their design as many times as they want.

Since I expect this might generate a lot of cards I would really appreciate any help given in rendering them this week.

Let us get going then!

Here is the challenge we are reviewing. It lent itself to elemental horses quite naturally. Not many people went for the design constraint of using an unusual resource but I enjoyed the few designs that did use resources in innovative ways.


Pasteur was one of the two people to give us a non-creature spell. It does use an unusual evasion method: horsemanship. MaRo has been expressing doubts we would see horsemanship coming back to Magic since it essentially is flying and would require us to limit ourselves to ground based units which would be a bad marketing decision. Perhaps in a commander product? Or just give it unblockable or triple-menace? But I guess in a set when horsemanship is back, it could be okay. Flavor-wise, the name justifies getting two +1/+1 counters and horsemanship since you got on a horse. I guess you lose horsemanship because it is not cantering any more?

Challenge: Design a card that reinterprets the idea of riding a horse.


Jenesis gave us a revisit to Theros favorite mechanic: devotion. As a 3 CMC card it will rarely have devotion of either kind when it enters on turn 3, and that is okay—it is a 3/3 for 3. My issues with this card are minor: I find land destruction more red than black, so I expected the red devotion to care about land destruction, and as such I would have liked to see a color switch in the abilities. If that was to happen, I might also prefer menace to haste. Getting haste and benefiting from it here requires you to be in a stalled or favorable board state, since in most cases you need to have at least 2 other permanents in play. Haste being already extremely situational, I fear that this would generate many feel bad moments. Additionally, players might get trapped into something MaRo talks about a lot: Making a player want to keep the card in hand to get the optimum result, leading them to lose games because of the dream of playing the card at the best possible time.

I really like the idea behind the card, but I would like to see it reorganized.

Challenge: Design a devotion card that belongs to the same cycle as cinder charger.


I removed the flavor text from Sven's Cindermare because it was making the card too wordy. Already as it is this uncommon has a lot of text on it. This is an undercosted lava axe that can be answered by your opponent in many ways. It plays with fire by trying to recreate vanishing, a mechanic quite high on the storm scale, but I think that it can pull it off. I started very doubtful but have since turned around on this design.

Challenge: Design a card that emulates an iconic sorcery of its color(s) in creature form.


Theo obviously missed the image part of the challenge, but did use counters in an interesting way. This is an interesting and difficult-to-play card. Jenny would like it. I worry what it could do in eternal formats, but that is not a reason to not print a card.

Challenge: Design another type of parasite/symbiote relationship mechanic.


Duncan's Embermare is sweet. It taps all other creatures and gets in for as much damage as you have permanents. Unless it gets bounced or killed, it guarantees you a lot of damage. It will probably not live to tell the tale of you untapping, but it usually won't hit play before being able to kill your opponent and as such all reservations I might have about its survivability are irrelevant.

Challenge: Design a card that lets you live through an attack of Embermare.


Jack's Fire Stallion explores a space that has me very excited. It should probably be called overheat or something else because burning sounds too definitive, but I like the mechanic a lot. Perhaps a smidge undercosted, but otherwise a card I would be excited to open.

Challenge: Use the burn mechanic in another context. You are allowed to rename it.


P for Pizza (like Jay further down) give us a fireball with a body. It is a neat design. I would worry about memory issues, but if you have this in your hand you are going to remember how much {R} is in your mana pool.

Challenge: Design a card that cares about colored mana in your mana pool in a different way than Flamemare does.


This is a nice rare that can be overwhelmingly punishing to your opponent's best creature, or full-team swing but cannot be used over and over since you have to tap an untapped creature. Still this gives you a crazy advantage that your opponent cannot come back from without removal or playing 2 blockers in a turn, so I worry slightly about the haste part. I would love to playtest it.

Challenge: Design an uncommon hate card for Nightsteed Subjugator. The shorter the phrasing, the better.


Merawder proposes an interesting reanimation spell that has sufficient hoops to jump though to make it castable at that CMC. Development would have to test it, but I have a feeling this could see print.

Challenge: Design a card that cares about cards exiled from your graveyard.


I love the flavorful reinterpretation these mechanics force upon me. This is a horse that got exploded from the inside by an elemental. There are certainly some people who will love it. Each creature type is someone's favorite creature type, and it is good to give them something from time to time.

Challenge: Design a card for a neglected minority of MtG players.


Jay's card could fill an interesting role in a set: Offer enough playable creatures in a draft, and oblige players to choose whether giving a fireball (that can be removed with first strike and/or spells) to the red player is dangerous enough to take this over something that could be a 9th+ pick.

Challenge: Complete the cycle for trojan candle.



Good work this week, Artisans. I hope you enjoyed the reviews and will enjoy the challenges!

Remember to design for the artworks given at the top.

59 comments:

  1. Wait, does Embermare automatically die when you untap? That's probably fair, but seems potentially confusing.

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    Replies
    1. (But I do like it, and really love the flavor of sculpt from ash)

      Delete
    2. You will generally play it to end the game, so it does not really mater if it lives or dies, and as such I chose not to bother about the potential confusion.

      Delete
    3. If this is enough of a concern, you can set it with +1/+1 counters as a one time thing, a la Undergrowth Scavenger. Of course, then it sticks around and the opponent has to actually deal with it, but just a thought.

      Delete
    4. I think either dies after one turn or not would be fine, but wizards have often said they try to avoid confusion in reading not only in play.

      Like, they avoid abilities that look bad, even if the creature without the ability is quite good.

      Delete
    5. That is true. It could be 1/1 and have +X/+X where X is the number or tapped permanents you control.

      Delete
  2. Challenge: Use the burn mechanic in another context. You are allowed to rename it.
    Art: Adam Duff

    Knight of Carnage 4BR
    Creature - Demon Knight (R)
    2: Each player burns a card from his or her hand. (Exile them. They gain “2: Return this to your hand.”)
    Hellbent — As long as you have no cards in hand, Knight of Carnage has “Whenever a card is put into an opponent’s hand from anywhere, Knight of Carnage deals 1 damage to that player.”
    5/5

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting combination of burn and hellbent. This indeed is a situation where I could see hellbent being a "shoe-in" as per the storm scale definitions.

      Also I would love to use bounce spells with this!

      Delete
  3. Challenge: Design a devotion card that belongs to the same cycle as cinder charger.
    Art: Jonathon Earl Bowser
    (Note: In this cycle, Cinder Charger is reworked to black > trample, red > ETB destroy a land.)

    Seabreeze Siren 1(W/U)(W/U)
    Creature - Elemental Siren (U)
    Seabreeze Siren has flying if your devotion to white is five or greater.
    When Seabreeze Siren enters the battlefield, return target creature to its owner’s hand if your devotion to blue is five or greater.
    2/2

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice. You could even put it on top of its owner's library if you want to pump its power level a bit more.

      Delete
    2. I have been thinking a lot about devotion + threshold and I noticed that Wizards avoided in Theros on ETB abilities, preferring scaling ones in order to prevent players from keeping cards in hand in the hopes of optimizing them.

      Imagine Gray Merchant as: if you have devotion 5 or more, drain 5. People would probably not play it unless they have devotion 5 instead of putting it down to stem the bleeding. Or am I misreading the situation?

      However I really like your take. It can allow for a strong effect encouraging one colored decks while allowing for 2+color decks too. I have been wondering if having the same devotion threshold is necessary due to NWO or changing them would be possible to allow for different strengths of effects.

      Delete
    3. That is a possibility, but I don't see it as a downside. It is a bit of a skill test because sometimes you might want to give up value by playing it on turn 3 to increase your devotion for other things. One of the abilities will always be a static keyword ability, so it's not just a vanilla if you forego the ETB ability. (Gray Merchant is not a great argument for the scaling variant, being possibly the most busted common in the set, because you could go turn 5 Merch + turn 6 Merch and guarantee at least a 4 life swing worth of value.)

      Delete
    4. (Yes gray merchant was not the best example but that was the first one that popped into my head... Let us say mogis fanatic then.)
      Either way, I like the exploration you did.

      Delete
    5. I think you make a fine point about scaling devotion abilities at common, and letting players play their cards rather than sit on them. The Theros gods obviously did use threshold and I think that's fine at higher rarities, perhaps even uncommon like this cycle.

      Not only would I keep the threshold the same on a single card, I'd keep it the same across the cycle. Definitely.

      Delete
  4. Challenge: Design another type of parasite/symbiote relationship mechanic.
    -AND-
    Challenge: Design a card that cares about cards exiled from your graveyard.
    Art: Fang Wang Lin

    Thirsty Treefolk 3G
    Creature - Treefolk (R)
    Reach
    At the beginning of your upkeep, you may exile a land card from your graveyard. If you do, put X +1/+1 counters on Thirsty Treefolk, where X is the number of land cards exiled with Thirsty Treefolk. If you don’t, sacrifice Thirsty Treefolk.
    1/1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This requires some creative deck building, and could potentially also answer the penultimate challenge. (Challenge: Design a card for a neglected minority of MtG players.)

      Delete
    2. Combos with dredge...like pretty much everything graveyard related ever.

      Delete
    3. I like this design, quirky and Johnny-licious.
      I get that you want the bonus to be exponential, but I had to read it twice to get it. Not sure if a feature or a bug of the wording (more the latter, probably).
      I would suggest "...X is the TOTAL number of land cards..."

      Delete
  5. Challenge: Design a card that cares about cards exiled from your graveyard

    Claimed by the Sea 5WWUU
    Enchantment
    When Claimed by the Sea enters the battlefield, exile a permanent from your graveyard.
    At the beginning of your upkeep, pay WU and exile a permanent from your graveyard for each permanent exiled by ~. If you don't sacrifice Claimed by the Sea.
    When ~ leaves the battlefield, put all permanents exiled with Claimed by the Sea onto the battlefield under your control.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While I like the flavor the execution is a bit underwhelming. At that mana cost I expect an effect that is game ending. Appart from the name this does not feel blue to me.

      Also: What is the rarity? You regularly forget to add that and it is an important part of judging a card.

      Delete
    2. What if the blue was taken out of the mana cost to only put it at 7 mana. Then the beginning of upkeep ability would only be W and it wouldn't necessarily have to be game ending.

      Delete
    3. It would still be too expensive for what it does. I expect it to be properly costed around 5 or 6 mana in white, and usually white likes reviving little (CMC<3) permanents.

      If you remove blue the effect is appropriate but the art and name are not any more.

      Delete
  6. Challenge: Use the burn mechanic in another context.

    Wavepeace Cantor 4U
    Creature - Siren Shaman (c)
    When ~ enters the battlefield, banish target creature. (Exile it. It has 2: Return this to its owner's hand.)
    2/2

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like this take but they would probably not name this "banish" since it could answer so many other flavors. Also it is a departure from burn in its ability to banish cards on the battlefield, but it is an interesting take on the banisher priest mechanic, and feels more "fair". How do other people feel about this?

      Delete
    2. I was thinking it could be used from a variety of zones (but always returning to the hand).

      {B} - Sorcery - Target player reveals their hand. You may banish a nonland card from it.

      You could "banish the top card of your library" to more or less jury-rig Investigate, banish X permanents as a cost like Fire Stallion, have a permanent banish itself to make a pseudo-phasing, banish cards in a graveyard as a less-breakable Regrowth. It's not perfect and it might fight for mindspace with "exile", but there is at least some tempting design space for sure.

      Delete
    3. If this was printed I would not expect to see many exile effects in its standard rotation any way. I was very excited about the possibility of exiling cards from hands, but the other options are also quite interesting.

      Wizards is loath nowadays to use up generic words like banish, being afraid to waste it and not be able to reuse it in the future.

      Delete
    4. I like Waylay a lot. Has that medieval-highwayman vibe while also connoting "layaway for later payment" and, to anastase's concern, not eating into vocabulary space.

      At the end of the day, though I wonder how many designs will end up feeling rhystic.

      Delete
    5. Now I want to use 'rhystic' to describe anything near a Magic crowd that might just be terrible.

      "Tribute's pretty rhystic."

      "Should we try that new pizza place?"
      "IDK, Seems rhystic."

      "Hey, girls in our game store!"
      "Dude, don't be so rhystic."

      Delete
  7. Challenge: Design a card that lets you live through an attack of Embermare.

    Promontory Lookout
    {U/W}
    Creature - Human Scout
    Art #2
    1/1
    Whenever you're attacked, you may untap a creature you control.

    I originally tried to think of something much fancier that would untap all creatures your opponent controlled, killing embermare. But it would have to untap your opponents lands, and that's just odd, or untap all lands, and that's more of a combo breaker. I also considered a creature-tap or creature-bounce effect. But this seemed the best mix of appropriate to ember mare, relevant to the art, and not over-complicated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. This is a very good reply to the challenge. Thumbs up.

      Delete
    2. I really like when I see Common designs that feel elegant, simple, yet novel and interesting. Very good.

      Delete
    3. Oh yes, sorry for forgetting. Common (though could be uncommon in the right set).

      Delete
  8. Challenge: Design a card that reinterprets the idea of riding a horse.

    Fell Mount
    3B (Unc)
    Creature - Horse
    3/3
    Art #1 (horse)
    Mount (This may attack with another attacking creature mounted on it. The rider can't be blocked but if blockers assign enough damage to the mount to destroy it, they may assign the rest of their damage to the rider.)

    Jack: Ha! Mount/vehicle mechanics. I will destroy them!
    Squire: No, my leige. That's a windmill.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the Mount/Vehicle mechanic is a design trap. This is quite complex and I do not believe it generates a flavorful enough and interesting play-wise enough mechanic to warrant its inclusion in a set. It would probably end up eating up too many complexity points. How do other people feel about this?

      Delete
    2. I also went for a Mount mechanic, but on a different route than this. I did not look at yours before making up mine. It's interesting that we both tought of the 'two attacking creatures' restriction. Yours is more loaded and it's more flavorful (so more complex). I think it has potential, but maybe it should be tightened up in some way.
      Anastase may be right, but I, like you and Don Quixote (Awesome flavor text!), am a bit of a dreamer.

      Delete
    3. If we can't tilt at windmills here, where can we?

      Delete
  9. Challenge: Design a card that cares about cards exiled from your graveyard.

    Ocean Erosion (Unc)
    1U
    Art #2 (Ocean)
    Creature - Elemental
    1/1
    Whenever ~ deals combat damage to a player, you may exile a card from their graveyard that shares a converted mana cost with no other exiled card they own.
    ~ gets +1/+1 for each different CMC of exiled cards opponents own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This sounds again too complex for what it does. I like the idea, but I think you could simplify it.

      Delete
    2. You can strike the first "that shares no CMC" because the second one does the job.

      Delete
    3. Oh, good point. I originally left it off the second clause, but that had weird effects. But exiling one card a turn is not a big deal. Maybe I could do better, but that does cut a lot of words.

      Ocean Erosion (Unc)
      1U
      Art #2 (Ocean)
      Creature - Elemental
      1/1
      Whenever ~ deals combat damage to a player, you may exile a card from their graveyard.
      ~ gets +1/+1 for each different CMC of exiled cards opponents own.

      Delete
  10. Challenge: Use the burn mechanic in another context. You are allowed to rename it:
    (Renaming Burn into Bind)
    Using the 2nd Art (Bowser art)
    Creature
    Yalaya, Spirit of the Seas
    3UW
    Spirit Cleric
    2/4
    Whenever you bind a card, you may draw a card
    2- Bind a card from your hand

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Legendary? Rare?

      This basically gives all your cards cycling 2 and lets you 'draw' them back later, making it a draw engine that synergizes with (presumably white) cards that care about exile. Compared to Azami, seems reasonable gameplay-wise, if not particularly novel.

      Delete
    2. Should be a Legendary. Rare or Mythic (probably Rare).

      Delete
    3. An alternate design using the first art that I think might be more interesting.
      Mordred, Knight of Blood
      Legendary Creature: Zombie Knight
      2BR
      6/6
      Other creatures you control gain +2+1 and Haste
      Creatures you control can't attack or block unless you pay 2 life and bind a card from your hand

      This should probably be a mythic

      Delete
    4. Also I would probably like to use the 2nd design as my submission for the week. I think it touches on two challenges (use burn in a different context and design a card with a risk/reward)

      Delete
    5. The second is not an official challenge this week, but it is indeed an interesting card, if a bit undercosted. I would probably like it to be a variation of "When CARDNAME deals damage, burn a card for each attacking creature you control." or you need to burn a card to attack with a creature.

      Delete
    6. The Burn and Lifeloss are meant to be a cost to attacking or blocking (so you can't attack or block if you can't burn a card from your hand and pay life to use it). I think 4 mana is high enough to prevent it from ending the game on the spot and cause you to play out enough of your hand that binding a card from your hand to attack or block is a real cost

      Delete
    7. Yes, but you can return it to your hand for 2 mana and then burn it again to block. So it is pretty much keep one card in hand and play 2 mana. As far as restrictions go this one is quite small.

      Delete
    8. What's the flavor of Mordred? I don't get it.

      Delete
  11. Challenge: Design a card that reinterprets the idea of riding a horse.

    Embermane Steed {1}{R}
    [Adam Duff art]
    Creature - Elemental Horse (Common)
    Art #1 (horse)
    Mount (As this creature attacks, you may make another attacking creature mount on it until end of turn.)
    CARDNAME and the creature mounting on it get +1/+0.
    2/1

    This is my attempt at the horse mechanic. I've thought about it a lot and I would appreciate any feedback.

    @Anastase: If necessary, I can help with the renders; let me know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. About renders: The response has been far more lukewarm than I expected so I should be able to do the renders as it stands. If a massive influx of cards appears I would like to spilt the task, so thank you for offering!

      As far as the mechanic goes, it is easy to understand, but does not translate riding in a very flavorful way. The interesting part of the design is that you could create some parasitic cards that care about mounting units.

      I have yet to see a mechanic for ride/mount/vehicle that is both sound mechanically, interesting in flavor, improving the gameplay experience and easy enough to grasp that it could be evergreen. It is a very difficult task.

      Delete
    2. I like mount. I think it would be more impressive with an ability than just +1/+0.

      Embermane Steed {3}{R}
      [Adam Duff art]
      Creature - Elemental Horse (Common)
      Art #1 (horse)
      Mount (As this creature attacks, you may mount another attacking creature to it until end of turn.)
      CARDNAME and any creature mounting it have first strike.
      2/2

      Delete
  12. Gracious Undine {2}{U}
    [Song of Deep Water: 2nd art]
    Legendary Creature - Spirit (Rare)
    {B}{G}, {T}: Exile target creature card from a graveyard.
    Whenever cards would be exiled from your graveyard, hide them instead. (Exile them. They gain: "{2}: Return this card to your hand.")
    1/3

    Cares about exiling from your graveyard & uses/renames burn mechanic.

    This card is a bit weird - the activated ability is super inefficient, and having black+green for such blue art is super strange. But the built-in synergy is powerful enough that it's gotta be pricey.

    Also, I feel 'hide' is a pretty good rename for 'burn'? Gone, untouchable, but not for good -- and pretty flavour-reusable. The only part that feels off is how when you "hide" cards they're face up and definitely not hidden :/

    ReplyDelete