Cool Card Design of the Day
3/9/2017 - We don't usually want to reward players for doing nothing (because if the reward is substantial enough, they will, and nothing ain't fun), but helping a player comeback from a position where they can't do anything seems reasonable.
Walk with me.
Vacant Mansion can help get you back in a game where you've stalled on lands (or on spells you can afford to cast). It's also 8 tiny lines of text with less focus than most cards need.
Let's break this into two options and weigh them:
This version has a clearer purpose and is much more legible (the jump from 7 lines to 8 is huge). It has unbounded potential, in theory, but in practice you've got to spend two turns without spending mana before it nets you one whole mana. If you're stuck in that position, you'll welcome that mana, but I don't think we want players planning for such situations.
This version doesn't help you catch up on missing land, but it does fix your colors after a single turn of being stuck. Given how often you can get color-screwed in a 3+ color deck, you can see Vacant Mansion would have a home there… in Limited. You're going to be much better off running all the dual lands you can in a Constructed deck, because this producing colorless is just going to increase the chances you need it, which is less than ideal. But in Limited, where you're often lucky to get one dual land, a card like this might be the safety valve you need. Especially if you're splashing a fourth or fifth color.
I still don't love it, but this last version could have value in the right format. It would play well with Innistrad's werewolves, for example.
...Bah. It's too under-powered! Here's a stronger (and simpler) version:
Which is very similar to R Stech's recent idea. Strictly weaker, but still printable.
Hmm, and looking at that idea in this context breeds a new option:
This land gives you extra mana every three turns. In contrast with Amberfield Castle, that might actually be a printable two-mana-land.
Some ideas take longer to lead somewhere useful, but the journey is never wasted.