Cool Card Design of the Day
7/25/2016 - Dire is (my name for) Wobbles' idea in response to motivated. It was too interesting not to mess around with. And I want to discuss it more.
It's a lot like monstrosity, giving you one activation: a kicker effect that doesn't make you horde cards until you can kick them, instead encouraging you to get your stuff out there, letting you activate it whenever you've got spare mana or need the effect.
Using a card to mark that potential and ditching it after it's used let's us break from the must-grow nature of monstrosity. But it does a lot more than just that.
What I failed to notice at first is that dire cards put the exiled card back on top of your library, which means that activating one isn't just a choice of when you want to pay for the effect, but whether you want to draw the exiled card or not. If it's something good, you're happy to put it on top (and sad if your dire creature dies before you can). If it's something weak, you might prefer to decline the ability and enjoy the smoothing effect that exiling that card netted you.
That's a very spikey choice to make. Is it better to draw an exiled land (and thus delay my next random draw and every draw thereafter one turn) in order to save my Dire Stag or Giant Growth my Dire Wolf? The answer will vary wildly from situation to situation. Some players will enjoy making that difficult choice. Others will feel bad whether they're confident in their logic or not, because even with a net positive result, the loss is tangible.
So we've got a one-time activted ability and a small smoothing effect. Is that all dire can do?
We can care about the exiled card: Use it to inform the effect it powers.
We can look at CMC, color, card type, power, etc.
Design a dire card in the comments below. What else can we do with Wobbles' mechanic? Do you like the choice putting the exiled card on top of your library offers?