Friday, November 11, 2016

Weekend Art Challenge 111116—Apofiss

Click through to see the illustration and design requirements for your single card submission, due Monday morning. Every submission warrants feedback, which you may use to revise your submission any number of times. I will aim to review the most recent submission from each designer.


Design a card for this art. Bonus points if it smooths subtly or in a novel way.

51 comments:

  1. Nourishing Dew
    UG
    Sorcery - Uncommon
    As you cast Nourishing Dew, name a card type.
    Reveal the top 5 cards of your library and gain life equal to the number of cards of the named type revealed in this way. Put all cards of the chosen type revealed this way on top of your library and the rest on the bottom of your library.

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    1. Actually, changing the name to "Search for Nourishment".

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    2. Interesting!

      I'm imagining playing this and noting that it's either all perceived upside ("I need land, so I'll name land -- I got several, and I gained some life!") or all perceived downside ("I need land, so I'll name land -- I got none, so I don't know if I'll draw one soon, *and* I gain no life"). Not sure if this is the intended feeling.

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    3. If you miss land, I'm hoping most players will realize "well, I didn't get the life, but if I didn't have this cool spell I would've been waiting for FIVE TURNS for land".

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    4. REVIEW
      Nourishing Dew could gain you 0-5 life, and could move 0-5 cards from the top of your library to the bottom.

      The best case, in terms of life, is clearly to reveal 5 cards of your chosen type, but you might actually be sad to know your next five turns, even if you're ecstatic about your next turn. If I'm short on land and I use this to ensure I get a few more land, it might actually stick me with more land than I can use. Even if I'm going for creatures because I need gas, I might be sad I can't possibly draw tricks or removal and that my opponent knows that.

      The worst case, in terms of life, is revealing 0 of the named card. While that's not great for card selection (I clearly would have preferred 1+), it does get me 5 cards closer to drawing what I need.

      I'm having trouble imagining the archetype that's happy to run this uncommon. It has to be green and blue, and it has to care about life gain and moving cards in your deck.

      Search for Nourishment would be more appealing to players if it did one thing better, and it would make the cut more often if it were only one color.

      In fairness, making it a cantrip would also do the job. That's less elegant a solution, but it doesn't shrink our font size so the cost isn't terrible.

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    5. Very fair assessment.

      Another try:

      Search for Nourishment
      UG
      Sorcery - Uncommon
      Name a card type. Exile the top 5 cards of your library. You may put all cards of the chosen type exiled this way on top of your library in any order. If you don't, gain 5 life.

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    6. Search for Nourishment
      UG
      Sorcery - Uncommon
      Scry 4. Gain 4 life.

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  2. Ephemeral Cat {GU}
    Creature -- Cat (C)
    Ephemeral ({t}, sacrifice this creature: add {1} or one mana of this creature's color to your mana pool.)
    1/2

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    Replies
    1. whoops; instead of "add {1}" it should be "add {C}".

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    2. Ephemeral seems too narrow to be keyworded, though the flavor of the keyword is admittedly very good.

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    3. You may be right; I was imagining a set where multicolor decks are very well-supported, and Ephemeral would appear quite a bit to make that work.

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    4. REVIEW
      Ephemeral Cat is a 1/2 for one mana, that can sack to add {G} or {U} to your mana pool any time it can tap. As a standalone, that's a pretty good card. You can swing with it on turn 2 and then crack it to accelerate and fix your mana. Or you can make two more over turns 2 and 3, and crack them all to cast a seven-drop on turn 4. That's risky and expensive at the cost of a card, but mana acceleration is known to be strong. I'm not saying Ephemeral Cat would be a popular card, but it would get played in certain decks, by some Jennies, at least.

      Is Ephemeral worth keywording? Well, how many cards could we put it on? I can easily imagine a cycle of one- or two-mana ephemeral creatures, and a common artifact, and a rare land. Maybe a cycle of enchantments? It would be pretty weak on a 3- or 4- drop and terrible on anything larger. That's not enough to be a large mechanic, but it could be a faction mechanic in a set with 5+ mechanics. Numbers-wise, at least. Fleshing out a faction whose only keyword eschews medium and expensive permanents would be pretty tricky.

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    5. Ephemeral + death triggers for more expensive creatures could be a way to make it cycling-from-play-but-with-a-keyword-so-you-recognize-it. Not always having the mana add up perfectly does introduce some feelbad there too, though.

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    6. Death triggers are a good call. At least for medium ephemeral creatures.

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    7. Thanks for the review, Jay! And I agree, the death triggers are an interesting area to explore. Cheers!

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Feline Oracle {1}{GU}
      Creature - Cat Elf Druid (U)
      When Feline Oracle enters the battlefield, name a card type, then look at the top card of your library. If it's a card of the chosen type, you may reveal it and put it into your hand. Otherwise, scry 1.
      1/2

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    2. REVIEW
      Feline Oracle lets you wish for a card by cardtype. If you find it, you're up a card. If not, you can choose to keep it on top or put it on bottom. I'd rather have Coiling Oracle but this isn't bad. Especially if Dev makes it 2/2 or 1/3.

      Wishing is a gamble. You're only data deciding what to wish for is what you need most right now, and what's most common in your deck (if your priority is getting a card, you probably always name land). You're chances of hitting aren't great (unless you stacked the deck, possibly via multiple consecutive wishes), but you'll feel responsible for the outcome either way: smart when you hit, and foolish when you miss—that's just human nature. Some players will enjoy that gamble, and some won't. As long as this is an element of the set players can seek out or ignore, that's perfect.

      Using scry here is interesting. On one hand, we're so close to replicating scry you could instead just say "You may put the card on the bottom of your library." Then you don't have to involve scry at all. On the other hand, "scry 1" is clearly shorter, and while it's a bit redundant, I'd expect players (who know scry already) to understand and play it right and fast. Scry is evergreen, but gets reminder text at common. But this is uncommon. Curious what everyone thinks.

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    3. I'm wondering if there isn't a neater way to word this, piggybacking off scry...

      When Feline Oracle enters the battlefield, name a card type then scry 1. While scrying you may reveal a card of the chosen type and put it into your hand.

      Was playing around with "You may reveal a card from your scry" but I don't think it works

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    4. That would be sweet if it works. Hope it does.

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  4. Season Transmuter 2G
    Creature - Cat Elemental [U]
    CARDNAME has trample and vigilance as long as there is at least a land with each basic land type on the battlefield.
    At the beginning of combat on your turn, target land becomes the basic land type of your choice until end of turn.
    3/3

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    1. REVIEW
      This elemental cat transmutes a land during combat on each of your turns, like Terraformer or Tideshaper Mystic but green (this was always blue before) and automatic. Historically, that's used to enable landwalk (which has been phased out), or to fix your own mana. Transmuter has a domain-for-all-players ability that its shifting ability can enable.

      If Transmuter is the only card in the set with such a threshold, I'd ditch it. But if that's something we see a bunch, this becomes a strong enabler for that archetype and pretty cool. In that situation, though, we have the option to split Transmuter's two abilities among two creatures, so that the player can combine them and feel clever, instead of being handed the combo.

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    2. Oh, we should compare domain and domain-for-all-players.
      Domain is something you control entirely yourself, and must build your deck with an eye toward enabling, either casually/incidentally or actively (or not at all).

      Domain-For-All-Players is strictly easier to achieve, as you can still enable it all by yourself, but will sometimes enable sooner thanks to your opponent's deck. Sometimes, that'll be huge, like if you're base green splashing WUBR, and your opponent is BRW. Sometimes it'll be minor, like if you're base GWU and your opponent is WUB. And when both decks are trying to make it happen, it becomes a race to take advantage of it harder.

      That smacks a little bit of the matchup variance that got landwalk and intimidate excommunicated, though it doesn't seem as drastic. It also acts a lot like the symmetrical effects that have been made solo for a long while now, like lords.

      I'd be willing to test this out and see if I'm surprised, but that pair of concerns has me quite skeptical about this variant of domain.

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  5. The variance on the difficulty of triggering the first ability depending on your opponent playing your colors or other colors seems very high, and the carrot is very small. I think you could lose the first ability entirely and this is still a very cool design.

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  6. Happening Cat 1G
    Creature - Cat Weird
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, you may add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
    Sacrifice CARDNAME: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
    2/1

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    Replies
    1. REVIEW
      You can sacrifice your Cat immediately, turning your 1G into ** ('bad' Manamorphose), or you can use the immediate mana as a discount to play another spell the same turn, and potentially sacrifice it for mana later when it chump-blocks or you just need to accelerate your mana for one turn.

      This couldn't be common, but it seems good.

      Sometimes players will need the 2/1 and can't use the free mana, and they'll be slightly sad. Some players will be sad they can't chump-block and use the mana post-combat. These are downsides to this design. I don't think they're deal-breakers.

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  7. Stagnate UG
    Instant
    Remove any number of +1+1 counters from among creatures you control. Counter target spell unless that spell's controller pays X, where X is the number of counters removed this way. Draw a card

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    1. REVIEW
      If I'm going to pay a cost like making my creatures smaller and less awesome, I want a lot of impact. Making Mana Leak a cantrip is pretty great, but since it's harder to cast and I have to have creatures, and those creatures have to have counters, and I lose those counters… it's not enough. Something like this would be more impactful:

      Atrophy {1}{U}{U}
      Instant (rare)
      You may remove two +1/+1 counters from among creatures you control instead of paying ~'s mana cost.
      Counter target spell.

      Alternately, what if we don't remove the counters but just count them?

      Stagnate {1}{U}{G}
      Instant (unc)
      Counter target spell unless that spell's controller pays X, where X is the number of counters among creatures you control. Draw a card

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    2. Makes sense. I would prefer the 2nd version of Stagnate. I was a bit worried about a cantripping counterspell at 2 mana since Remand doesn't permanently kill the spell and its a format staple. Removing counters might not always be a bad thing in certain circumstances, like with Fathom Mage or undying but I guess those are corner cases enough

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  8. I had a lot of ideas but none of them really jelled.

    Dream of Rain {3}{U}
    Sorcery (C)
    Dream (Instead of playing a land this turn, you may discard this card. If you do, add {U} to your mana pool.)
    Draw two cards.

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    1. I like this! I'm worried about printing more simian/elvish spirit guides because they might enable explosive t1 plays, but I'm not sure how big a concern that really is. Maybe it's balanced enough because it prevents players from playing a land -- probably needs playtesting to really tell.

      If you only wanted to mitigate color screw, you could make it filter mana instead by making Dream cost {1}. This wouldn't help with land screw, though.

      I like that the two modes come together to make the card deal with land flood or screw. Nice work!

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    2. Thank you.

      I definitely hesitated over both of those points. I felt that just mana fixing was a bit weak, or didn't quite feel right. Although the argument that you don't normally get effects without cost is true.

      And I was very very hesitant to make a whole class of Spirit Guides. But I think, only being able to use them as a land cuts out a lot of the risk -- if you use this, you'd almost always rather have a land, which puts an upper limit on power, whereas the spirit guides can be used in more combo-y ways.

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    3. I think the land drop is a good limiter on power level - the big problem comes from decks that want to artificially lower their land count. Belcher? Something in the Mind's Desire family? Dream to set up delve or Pyromancer's Ascension? But none of those are categorically broken, more just "a caution".

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    4. Ah, I missed the fact that you could only ever play one of these per turn -- that does make me less worried. Good call!

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    5. REVIEW
      I'm not worried about dream's power level, because it can't accelerate you—in fact, it stunts your mana development over time. I am worried about motivating players to land screw themselves by playing too few lands. A card for a mana is a poor deal, and a deal I'd take when I'm desperate, but it's not one I'll ever feel good about.

      We could make it better, but it's going to be real easy to push it too hard, toward something with either high variance or degenerate combos.

      I'd playtest this before writing it off. Maybe it's a lot more fun than I imagine.

      I'm not too worried about dream combo'ing in Modern and Legacy; Not because it wouldn't, but because I'm not worried about those formats. They're very resilient and robust, and if knock one too far out of balance, we'll just ban something.

      Given dream, Dream of Rain is an excellent common for the mechanic.

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    6. That sounds accurate to me.

      I did consider ways of making the trade slightly less awful. But I wanted to find one that was free, or cheaper than cycling/basic landcycling.

      I wondered about "act as a land, but sac when you play a land". But I couldn't think of a good way of templating it. I also considered giving you two bites of the cherry by saying "discard or exile from graveyard", but that seemed very fiddly.

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    7. It can be a frustratingly fine line.

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    8. Not sure I get the appeal of Dream -- you're giving up so much for so little. You give up the card AND your land drop for the turn for the one mana, meaning it's strictly only useful when you don't have the land to drop but you're really desperately in need of hitting the curve for this one turn.

      Next turn, though, you're still as behind as ever. If you're lacking land, you're still lacking land, AND you're down a card.

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    9. It's definitely only that you can keep your curve this turn despite lacking lands. And yeah, unless the card you cast with that mana is Cultivate, you're still going to be behind next turn. I can definitely imagine some situations where it would be worthwhile, game-saving even, but that doesn't mean we can't find a better mechanic in the same role. Landcycling comes to mind.

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  9. Illusory Kitten 1U
    Creature- Cat Illusion
    Prevent all damage that would be dealt to illusory kitten.
    Whenever illusory kitten is targeted by a spell or ability, sacrifice it.
    0/1

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    1. Playful Mirage U
      Enchantment-Aura (R)
      Enchant Land
      Enchanted land is an island in addition to its other types and has "{T}: Put a legendary 0/1 Blue Cat Illusion creature token named Bubbles onto the battlefield."

      Delete
    2. REVIEW
      Playful Mirage turns our land into an indestructible 0/1, more or less. That makes for a heck of a chump-blocker, but I don't know that's a problem for a two-card investment. I'm guessing the power level here is fine (it's better in a sacrifice deck, or a morbid deck [which it can trigger all on its lonesome every two turns]), I'm just not sure how much fun it is. Would playtest to see.

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    3. Probably needs to be 2,t to activate to bring it more in line with past cards

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    4. that's such a cute card ;_;

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  10. Strange-leaf Stalker {1}{G}
    Creature - Elemental Cat
    When ~ enters the battlefield, search your library for a land card, then shuffle your library and appraise that card. (To appraise a card, exile it with an appraisal counter on it. Then draw a card or put an appraised card from exile into your hand.)
    1/1

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    1. REVIEW
      Appraisal is a lot like illuminate from Jon Loucks' GDS2 entry. The big difference is that it doesn't give you a decision on each of your draw steps, only when you appraise. That is a significant difference.

      The first time you appraise, you're calculating whether you want this card or a random card now, tempered by the chance that you'll be able to get this card later with a future appraisal. Most of the time, you don't care about that last part, but it makes a huge difference when you draw an expensive or conditional card early. I um, I really want to playtest this. Super curious to see how much work it is versus how fun it is.

      Given appraise, Strange-Leaf Stalker is actually a little annoying. If I'm going through the effort of searching for a specific land and shuffling my deck, I don't want to then set that card aside just to draw a random card. Don't get me wrong, that choice is strong and execution would be fast and easy in MTGO, but IRL Magic, Stalker will be annoying sometimes. I'd probably save appraisal for random cards. (You could appraise cards from your hand or graveyard, but the former is weird looting, and the latter will also have you just choosing the first card and ignoring the appraisal option core to the mechanic's identity.)

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    2. It felt wrong to be appraising something other than a land with a thing that looked as green as this but I would like to try appraise with lots of other stuff!

      Another thing to consider with appraise is the more you use it & choose the random card draw, the better your selection for the next time you appraise.

      ... I did think 'search for a land and then appraise it' was a bad use of the mechanic. It just felt like the thing to do on a creature so green-looking.

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    3. All that said, I actually really like illuminate... It's definitely a more flexible design than appraise and I like it.

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    4. Provided we can find natural uses for it, I think I prefer appraise.

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    5. Thanks :)
      and thanks for the in-depth feedback.

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