Monday, July 25, 2016

CCDD 072516—Linked

Cool Card Design of the Day
7/25/2016 - Thematically, linked represents a psychic connection/ability. Mechanically, it's grandeur meets Panglacial Wurm. Take a look at the first card and then we can discuss more.

When I search my library, or look at the top of it, or reveal cards from it, if I find Silent Twins, I can exile it. I would probably only do that while I control Silent Twins, in which case I get to draw a card for each copy I exile. The mana cost is there so that my first tutor effect isn't just also a free Ancestral Recall.

Being impossible to use without outside assistance means we can make the face value of these cards solid and still have a decent effect. All the more so when that effect costs mana.

Safe to say these first three cards aren't equal in power level and would need a bunch of testing to get right. Their power level in Limited (and in Standard) is directly related to the number of reasonable ways to trigger linked.

Effects that aren't card advantage—or busted when you get three of them for free all at once—can be free of additional costs.

For Limited, only the commons will matter, but we can also make some higher rarity cards for consideration in Constructed.

Remember that needing to have one copy of the card in play is an important knob in balancing these effects. It would be busted to get {R}{R}{R} by exiling three Firemind Savants with some search effect on turn 1 or 2, but having to cast an otherwise 3/2 vanilla on your third turn means you won't be getting that free mana until turn 4.

We can have a lot of fun with linked rares.

And finally, while it serves a very different purpose, there's nothing stopping us from putting linked on non-permanent cards:

That does highlight one of the larger concerns I have with linked: That you can use it to thin your deck for free without any intent of casting the cards. You do risk being stuck with them in your starting hand, but if you make a deck full of them and find a way to search on turn one (Evolving Wilds) then the rest of your deck could be a dangerously tuned stack of 10 or 20 cards. One solution is to limit linked to triggering on look+reveal but not on search (see Buried Treasure). Another is to require a mana payment to exile. I don't love either, but I will say a cost-to-exile removes the need for cost-on-trigger from the first three cards.

What other issues do you see? Other uses? Design a card?


  1. What does "you exile" mean? I'm assuming that this is to avoid these triggering off our opponents Swords to Plowshares - does that matter? Does it matter that we can StP our own guys for their advantages?

    Another thought - these could have much more powerful effects if they said "whenever they are revealed from your library" and were placed in a set with a Scry variant that reveals the cards (like Dig or Clash perhaps).


    Knight of the Five
    Creature - Human Knight - Rare
    First Strike
    Knight of the Five has protection from all colors as long as you own a card named Knight of the Five in exile.

    1. Wasn't familiar with Buried Treasure and now that I read the link I see that you've already thought of point #2!

    2. I'm not sure what the confusion around "you exile" is.

      I hadn't thought about trying static effects. Interesting. I guess you could also un-exile as a cost.

      Put a card you own named ~ from exile into your graveyard: ~ gains protection or something until EOT.

    3. I just wasn't sure whether "whenever you exile" applies to effects your opponent controls - I assume not from a rules perspective but players physically exile their own cards which is a little confusing.

  2. The threat of including a bazillion of these with no intent of using them could be a problem. One way to fix it is to have it look something like this:

    Silent Twins 2U
    Creature - Human Psychic (c)
    Linked U (You may pay U to exile this card from your library anytime you see it)
    Whenever you exile a card named Silent Twins from your library, you may draw a card.

    This solves the problem of exiling without paying. However, this is an A + B mechanic, sort of like Prowess and Madness, so there would have to be a bunch of ways to search your library, which may make for repetitive gameplay.

    1. Yup. 100% A+B.
      Search… or reveal, or look (which includes scry).