Friday, August 19, 2016

Weekend Art Challenge 081916 - A Set In Four Cards

Weekend Art Challenge
Greetings, Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's art choices and the design requirements for your submission, due Monday morning. Every submission warrants feedback, and everyone is encouraged to give feedback. You may use that feedback to revise your submission any number of times, though if there's any ambiguity as to what your final submission is, I'll make my best guess when doing the renders.

Option 1 - Clay Sculpture by PhilterUnfiltered

Option 2 - Cyberwitch - Technomancer by Su-Pra

Option 3 - Dragon by Chevsy

Option 4 - Shadowbeast of the Frozen Wastes by hibbary

Option 5 - The Werewolf by Niconoff

Basic Challenge - Pick one of the arts and design a card for it. I can probably guess which art you choose based on context, but do me a favor and tell me anyway.

Challenging Challenge - This is a long one, so bear with me:

  • Pick an art and conceptualize a plane around it. 
    • It can be a new plane, a return to a plane, a plane inspired by things you've seen or made here on GA or another design community, whatever. 
  • Show me that Plane in Four Cards.
    • One of those cards should use the art that inspired your planar concept.
    • The other three will be sans-art.
    • These four cards you (or your colleague Artisans) design should tell me as much as possible about the planar concept.

Good luck, have fun, and I'll see you all on Monday.


  1. Archipelago (Option 4)

    Many tiny worlds float over-head. I'm not sure if mine is small or large among the Flow, but it supported the village since before I was borne. No longer. We've hunted the dara to the last, and are forced to end our isolation in search of more game than we can skyfish.

    The red world we've been calling Brike will be within hooking range for less than an hour. We can see their beasts, and though they are strange and terrible, a few will feed our people for a week or more, if they don't kill us.

    May the currents guide our arrows.

    Brikebeast {2}{R}
    Creature-Beast (cmn)
    Landflow — Whenever a land you control ETB or LTB, CARDNAME gets +1/+1 until EOT.

    Flowrider {1}{W}
    Creature-Kor Scout (cmn)
    {2}: ~ gains flying until EOT.

    Lunar Enigma {3}{U}{U}
    [Shadowbeast of the Frozen Wastes]
    Creature-Sphinx (rare)
    When ~ ETB, name a card type, then look at the top three cards of your library. You may reveal any number of those cards of that type and put them into your hand.

    World Hop {2}
    Instant (cmn)
    Target creature with flying can't be blocked this turn.
    Put a colorless Moon land token OTB with "T, Sacrifice this: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool."

    Orbital Collision {2}{R}
    Instant (unc)
    Destroy target land you control and target land you don't.
    CARDNAME deals 2 damage to each creature without flying.

    Damn. The card with the art is the least synergistic and the most in need of cutting.
    Well, it's a draft anyhow.

  2. Art 1

    Rouse the Ruins (1)
    Sorcery (U)
    Untap target land you control.
    Awaken X X1 (If you cast this spell for X1, also put X +1/+1 counters on target land you control and it becomes a 0/0 Elemental creature with haste. It’s still a land.)

  3. Qarka - Art #2
    Haves, and have nots. That's all there is to it. If you want to live inside the walls of Kyopolis with the scum who blighted the Great Forest and polluted the skies, be my guest. See if you can sleep with the great factories churning away through the night. I'll keep to the outer realms, where we wait for the promised hero. She will come, and when she walls will be high enough to stop us.

    Rebel Hexmage
    (Art #2)
    Creature - Human Spellshaper - Uncommon
    BB, T, Sacrifice a permanent: Remove all counters from target permanent.
    /"Though they can't hunt our machines directly, the Undesirables always seem to find some means of subversion."/ -Lukas Verre, Kyopolis guardcaptain

    Recovery Camp
    Land - Uncommon
    T: Add 1 to your mana pool.
    4, T, Sacrifice CARDNAME: Search each player's graveyard for a land card and put then onto the battlefield tapped under your control.
    /The rebels scrounge whatever they can from the city's trash sluices./

    Steamlance Patrol
    Artifact Creature - Construct - Common
    Whenever CARDNAME attacks, grind. (Put the top card of your library into your graveyard, then put a charge counter on CARDNAME if the card was colorless.)
    As long as CARDNAME has two or more charge counters, it gets +1/+0 and has first strike.

    Creature - Lhurgoyf - Rare
    CARDNAME's power is equal to the highest number of charge counters on a permanent you control, and it's toughness is equal to that number plus 1.

    1. Nice synergy between grind and all three of the other cards. These four cards all feel like they could be in the same setting, and in the setting you describe, but I definitely have a better mechanical picture than flavorful picture from just the four of them.

      Perhaps black/x could have a static Wither that saps counters (of any type)?

    2. Steamlance Patrol is very cool and really sells me on the potential of grind. I've never been a fan of clash, but grind appeals to me a lot -- maybe because of its neat, binary nature.

  4. Redshroud Revealer {2}{W}
    [[[ Option #5 - The Werewolf by Niconoff ]]]
    Creature — Human Scout (U)
    Whenever ~ attacks, you may destroy target face-down creature unless a card has been turned face up this turn.

    Half-Starved Monstrosity {5}{B}{B}
    Creature — Horror (C)
    Morph—{B}{B}, Pay 6 life.

    Cache Burglar {4}{U}
    Creature — Human Rogue (U)
    Morph—{U}, Discard a card.
    Whenever ~ deals combat damage to a player, draw a card.

    Gloomy Crossroad
    Land (R)
    {T}: Add {C} to your mana pool.
    {T}: Put a card from your hand onto the battlefield face down. (It's a 2/2 creature.)

    1. balance change - so it's not reallly crazy, Gloomy Crossroad's last ability should be
      {1}, {T}: Put a card from your hand onto the battlefield face down. (It's a 2/2 creature.)

    2. Maybe "as a sorcery" or "Put a card from your hand onto the battlefield face down tapped"?

      Do you have any expectations for the morph/nonmorph ratio of common creatures to be in this set?

      Cool interpretation of Art #5.

    3. Cache Burglar is neat.

      Gloomy Crossroad lets you play morphs at instant speed as well as saving you one mana on their cost?

      One of the big (subtle) changes to morph in Tarkir was making sure no morphs could trump a 2/2 for less than five mana, giving players some idea how to play with an opposing morph. Half-Starved Monstrosity undoes that. Not saying it can't be done, but we'd need to design the whole set around that.

    4. Gloomy Crossroad also lets you change *any* card into a maybe-morph. I was thinking of including Manifest instead, but has it ever intersected in the same set as Morph?

      That Tarkir thing is suuuper interesting, not something I knew about o:

      I was going for a set designed around morph ambiguity - I think I should have included a creature card with an ability that triggers "when this dies, even if it was face-down" to better drive home the "sometimes you don't unmorph" idea... hmm

  5. OK, based loosely on eastern europe, a combination of jewish tradtions and soviet-style industrialisation and larger-than-life architecture and statuary.

    Word of Valor
    Art #1
    Enchantment (unc)
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, create a 2/2 golem artifact creature token.
    Golems you control get +1/+0 and have first strike.

    Ancient texts
    Sorcery (cmn)
    Draw two cards.
    Mysticism 7 (When you cast this, you may exile any number of cards from your graveyard with total converted mana cost 7. If you do, copy it.)

    Agriculture Reformer
    Creature - Human Advisor (unc)
    Industry - {X}, Tap X other untapped creatures you control: Look at the top X cards of your library. You may put a land card from among them onto the battlefield. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.

    Deathglare Sage
    Creature - Human Shaman (c)
    Learned - When ~ EBTs you may reveal a black card from your hand. If you, target creature gets -3/-3 UEOT.

    I've ended up a little heavy on ability words here. I would tidy it up if I had longer. For the record, mysticism should always have the same number in this set, but has a number in case it's used with a different number in future. Industry will (probably) always be "X, tap X". Alternatively, those could be uncommon/rare cards and common cards could specify a fixed number. Learned will always be reveal a card of colour matching this creature.

    I don't want to spell the flavour out if it isn't carried by the cards. But for the record, golems represent a meld of the legend of the golem animated by a word, with a world where that's become industrialised, and golems are routinely used as soldiers and workers.

    Mysticism is a reference to kabbalah, a form of jewish mysticism, often involving finding correspondencies etc in numbers, words, etc. I envisage them as the old school, unconvinced by industrialisation, but often with useful knowledge to impart to it if both sides can manage to respect each other.

    Industry represents industrialisation. Obviously we're close to Kaladesh here, but I see it as focused more on coordination, less on oppression and innovation. It will be balanced to work with 2/2 tokens, not 1/1s as many "creature matters" mechanics are.

    Learned represents creatures with special knowledge, here cards in hand. The rabbi who could kill people with a look was in the Talmud, honestly :) You will have other similar effects at common, and bigger splashier effects at rare.

    1. Mysticism as threshold-kicker-delve seems reasonable, and "the number of the name is seven" is a solid flavor.

      Likewise, slowly spelling out the sentence of the golems is pretty cool.

      I wouldn't be averse to seeing a combat-related mechanic among the bunch - maybe replacing Learned, which seems the least fun/expressive of the four.

    2. Thank you.

      The set definitely needs a combat mechanic, but I came up with four flavour ideas and no combat mechanic, so I left it there :)

    3. Intentional that mysticism requires TCMC exactly equal to 7?

      Which art are you using?

      Deathglare Sage is really strong for a common. Not hard to show a black card in a black deck.

    4. Oh. Art 1. Missed that.

      Industry might push games long as players prioritize block+tap over attacking, especially since it gives them inevitability.

    5. Oops. Industry was supposed to say "only as a sorcery". I completely forgot. Well spotted! And I'm glad we agreed.

      That becomes:

      Agriculture Reformer
      Creature - Human Advisor (unc)
      Industry - {X}, Tap X other untapped creatures you control: Look at the top X cards of your library. You may put a land card from among them onto the battlefield. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order. Activate only as a sorcery.

      I don't like adding that rider, because players feel it's weak like outlast, it's hard to remember, and it's wordier and fiddlier. But it's here for two reasons: flavour, that working in a factory should be methodical, not a quick flit after combat; and that as you say, it's too convenient to get the ability as a bonus without having to commit the creatures.

  6. Ruinia
    There were vast cities here, once. Long ago, this plane was a sprawling cityscape, filled with complex technological innovations. Then the Reckoning came. Nature reclaimed its belongings, by storm, fire, or ice. The few remaining survivors rely on there wits alone to get themselves out of dangerous situations.

    An example common card from each color:
    Art #3
    Spirit of Endless Ice 4U
    Creature - Elemental (c)
    Whenever ~ enters the battlefield, tap target creature and it doesn't untapped during its controller's next untapped step.

    Desert Wanderers 3W
    Creature - Human Warriors (c)
    Survivor(~ can't be the target of spells or abilities when it isn't your turn)

    Volcanic Explosion 5R
    Sorcery (c)
    ~ deals 1 damage to each creature target player controls.
    Cataclysmic - As an additional cost to cast this spell, you may sacrifice a land. If you do, ~ deals 3 damage to each creature target player controls instead.

    Natural Takeover G
    Enchantment (c)
    At the beginning of your upkeep, you may put a +1/+1 counter on a creature you control.

    1. Survivors are safe from sorceries, but not from being killed in response to boons? Stronger blocking than attacking?

      Does Volcanic Explosion lose anything if you just require the sacrifice?

      Natural Takeover seems strong for a common 1cc enchantment.

      Your flavor's pretty good. Some mechanical synergy would be nice.

    2. Spirit of Endless Ice
      Creature - Elemental (c)
      Cataclysmic - Whenever you sacrifice a land, tap target creature. It doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step.

      Desert Wanderers 4W
      Creature - Human Warrior (c)
      Survivor(~ can't be the target of spells or abilities when it isn't your turn)

      Magma Rift reprint

      Burgeoning Force (Groundskeeper functional reprint)

  7. Option 3

    Bane, the Dread Bellows 5RB
    Legendary Creature - Dragon (m)
    Masochism (This costs 1 less for each life you've lost this turn.)
    Etb, deal 5 damage to target nonflying creature.

    Darkbeard Scavenger 2U
    Creature - Dwarf Rogue (u)
    Etb, salvage 3 (Create 3 colorless Scrap artifact tokens.)

    Paragon of the Apes 2GG
    Creature - Ape (R)
    Shapeshift (When this etb, each creature you control becomes a copy of it until end of turn.)
    When Paragon of the Apes deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card.

    Humble Guardian 2W
    Creature - Human Monk
    Samsara (When this dies, if it doesn't have a rebirth counter on it, return it to the battlefield from your graveyard with a rebirth counter.)

    This world is very specific and I've been working on it for a while. I'm curious what others infer from these cards.

    1. I like the flavour of the cards, but I'm not sure what the world is. Something post-apocalyptic?

      I really love "Paragon of the Apes" mechanic. It's not quite the same, but my first thought was, what if the ability was, "when this attacks, you may have any number of other attacking creautres you control become a copy of it UEOT".

    2. I don't think the mechanic is better for being repeatedly used. As is, there can be some really powerful Shapeshift cards because of its single use nature. Eg:
      Bear-Sarker 5GG
      Creature - Bear Berserker r
      Shapeshift, Trample


      Paragon of the Hidden 1UG
      Creature - Octopus u
      Hexproof, Shapeshift

      If it was every attack it would be much harder to develop as well, though there is another mechanic that's built around that:

      Somnus Elk 3GG
      Creature - Elk c
      Stampede (This gets +1/+1 for each other attacking creature you control.)

      And they collide with:
      Paragon of the Herds 2GG
      Creature - Elk (m)
      Shapeshift, Stampede

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. If the scrap were 0/1 vanilla artifact creature tokens, they would certainly interact with Shapeshift in a strong way. As-is I don't quite see how the Scavenger might be in the same set as the other three, who seem very "life-and-its-cycle" oriented. Any way to help illustrate the artifact orthogonal axis?

    6. The Scavenger has a creature type that I feel is missing from Magic in a big way. Also, scrap is used to power various other abilities, the primary one being the Arm mechanic ripped shamelessly from other custom magic projects.

    7. You already have four different new abilities on the cards you presented and now you're saying there's a fifth and potentially more - how many "various other abilities" do you have? To do limited in any meaningful way, so a big portion of your set will need to be devoted to supporting those mechanics. Scrap is somewhat parasitic in that the artifacts do nothing by themselves, so it seems like an odd design choice to include it when there are so many other mechanics competing for space and when none of them seem particularly artifact-focused.

    8. I love the mechanics of Paragon of the Apes, but there's no way apes are idolizing a 1/1. Even at common, I don't think any apes should be so small.

      Regardless of what else you have planned for this set, the goal of the four cards is to present the core identity, but the only connection I can make among these cards is between samsara and shapeshifter.

      There are too many good ideas here. Focus.

  8. Set Name: Search for Bolas

    Premise: Our Planeswalker heroes are on a search to find and confront Nicol Bolas on four Planes he's visited: Kamigawa (URBG), Takir (WRGB), The Meditation Realm (WUBR) and Alara (WURG). The set features cards from multiple planes ala Magic Origins.

    Reflection of Bolas U
    Art 4 (C)
    Creature - Dragon Illusion
    (A Cost can be paid by any colored mana except green. This card is every color except green.)
    Whenever Guardian of Bolas becomes the target of a spell or ability you don't control, It's controller discards a card. Exile Guardian of Bolas.

    Grixian Technomancer (B/R)U
    Art 2 (C)
    Artifact Creature - Human Wizard
    Unearth costs of your creature cards are reduced by one.

    Ravager of Nomads Peak 3RG

    Creature Dragon (R)
    Art 3
    Flying, Haste
    Raid - If you've attacked with a creature this turn, when Ravager of Nomad Peak enters the battlefield after this main phase, there is an additional combat phase followed by an additional main phase.

    Taracotta Guardian 3
    Artifact (C)
    Art 1
    Whenever you cast a spell, Taracotta Guardian becomes a 3/3 warrior artifact creature until end of turn. If that spell was a spirit or warrior, put a +1/+1 counter on Terracotta Warrior.

    1. Errata:

      Terracotta Guardian 3
      Artifact (C)
      Art 1
      Whenever you cast a spell, Terracotta Guardian becomes a 3/3 warrior artifact creature until end of turn. If that spell was a spirit or a human, put a +1/+1 on Terracotta Guardian.

    2. Also:

      Reflection of Bolas -G-G-GU
      Art 4 (C)
      Creature - Dragon Illusion
      (A -G cost can be paid by any colored mana except green. This card is every color except green.)
      Whenever Guardian of Bolas becomes the target of a spell or ability you don't control, it's controller discards a card. Exile Guardian of Bolas.

    3. A four-world block is bold. How do you propose melding in such a way?

      I would not expect to see hybrid mana in the same block that introduces anti-mana.

    4. I mean, Magic Origins covered 10 planes? Some of the cross plane overlaps can be seen in there cards: color matters, spirit, human and dragon tribal and some artifact creatures matter cards. The "special" mana matters cards give an easy way to show the color matters aspect as well as show the distinctions between planes that exist out of a color pair.

  9. The world of Tlön features five distinct factions in a world pulled from the existential fantasy of Borges and the Argentine tradition.

    Sthenic Lieutenant {3}{B}{B} (Art #1)
    Creature - Horror Construct (r)
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, destroy all creatures.
    {1}{B}: Harden CARDNAME. (It becomes a noncreature artifact until the beginning of the next upkeep.)

    Clash of Ideas {R}
    Sorcery (u)
    Target creature you control fights a creature target opponent controls of their choice.
    Strike — If a creature or player was dealt 5 or more damage this turn, exile the top card of your library. You may play that card until the end of turn.

    Druid of Forking Paths {1}{U}
    Creature - Vedalken Druid
    When CARDNAME attacks, you may pay {X}. If you do, when CARDNAME deals combat to a player this turn, scry X.

    Dusty Chevalier {3}{W}
    Creature - Giant Nomad Knight
    B, Put target creature card from your graveyard on top of your library: Target creature blocking or blocked by CARDNAME gets -1/-1 until end of turn and you gain 1 life.

    1. (GB) Legions of Clay warriors in the thrall of a Gorgon intent on bringing the world to life and stillness in stone; (RU) the Library of Lightning where discourse charges and sparks between feuding academic storm-mages; (RW) Oases of enlightened minotaurs intent on defending their strongholds; (UG) Druids that cultivate plants made of living Time; and (WB) two-headed Giant quixotic cowboy Knights of the Empty Grave. Enemy pairs reinterpreted with a mechanical and a flavorful focus, like DTK did with the allied pairs.

    2. Clash of Ideas looks fun.

      Rarity on last two? Dusty Chevalier looks dangerously recursive.

    3. Common and Uncommon. Definitely mulling other options to show "this is the graveyard faction" for the Chevalier.

      Cute thing I want to point out: "Harden" is designed to be able to be used both as "Regenerate" and "Detain"!

    4. Dusty Chevalier {3}{W}
      Creature - Giant Nomad Knight (u)
      When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, exile target creature card from a graveyard.
      {W}, Put the exiled card on top of its owner's library: CARDNAME gets +2/+2 and lifelink until end of turn.

  10. Muraganda, the prehistoric plane. A plane full of dinosaurs and caveman. Savagery and survival are the only ways of life for Muragandas inhabitants. The mana is raw and plentiful for those planeswalkers that come here. If they survive more than five minutes that is.

    Art #3
    Fireosaur 4R
    Creature-Dinosaur Dragon-Rare
    Prehistoric- R: CARDNAME and creatures you control with no abilities get +1/+0 until and of turn.

    Twin Bears 2GG
    Surrak would have so much fun here.- Narset

    Alpha Rex 2B
    Creature- Dinosaur-Rare
    Deathtouch, Predator(Whenever a creature dealt damage by CARDNAME this turn dies, put a +1/+1 counter on CARDNAME.)
    Whenever a counter is placed on CARDNAME, draw a card.

    Caveman Champion 1W
    Creature-Human Barbarian-common
    Renown 3(Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, if it isn't renowned, put 3 +1/+1 counters on it and it's becomes renowned.)

  11. The only worry about naming the Sengir Vampire mechanic is the same one that's existed for years and years - namely, that it basically never actually triggers. Focusing an ability word and triggered abilities that key off it seems like it might lead to disappointed players who never get to do the cool things their cards promise.

    Twin Bears owns.

    1. Guess I'm not attacking into Alpha Rex until I can alpha strike for the win.

      Not a fan of renown 3+ because it's so swingy, but that's a personal opinion.

      Including a vanilla creature in your four cards is pretty great.

    2. What if Predator read "Whenever this creature deals damage, put a +1/+1 counter on it." Renown would have to change because it's so similar.

      Other mechanics that I'm considering are Morbid, Jay's Abundant, and a mechanic that cares about using basic lands to pay for spells and abilities.

    3. Place the counter at end of combat so players don't wonder if it saves their creature.

      Woo, Muraganda!

  12. That makes sense. I'm more inclined to place the counter during the end step, so it works with fighting.

  13. Art #1
    Mukal Swordsman {1}{B}
    Creature - Construct Warrior (C)
    Respawn {B} (Whenever two or more creatures you control attack, you may cast this card from your graveyard for its respawn cost)

    Ensouled Griefer {1}{B}
    Creature - Human Rogue Avatar (U)
    Whenever a creature dies, put a level counter on CARDNAME. (2/1)
    Level 1-4: Deathtouch (3/2)
    Level 5+: First strike, deathtouch (4/3)

    Walk Through Walls {1}{U}
    Sorcery (C)
    Target creature can't be blocked this turn.
    Glitch {1}{U} (Then exile this spell. As you cast an instant or sorcery spell, you may pay {1}{U} to add this card's other effects to that spell.)

    Arms Merchant {1}{W}
    Creature - Human (U)
    {T}: Look at the top four cards of your library. You may cast an Equipment card from among them for up to {1} less. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.

    1. Interesting! The video-game theme comes through pretty clear. I wonder whether there's a use for pre-existing "encoded" terminology in this setting? But Glitch might be cleaner as-is without it.

      Can you do something even more far-out or distinct with level-up Avatars?