Friday, December 15, 2017

Weekend Design Challenge 121517—black removal

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.

Choose an existing Magic set as randomly as you can. Then design a common black creature-removal spell with a condition other than 'nonblack' that is evocative of that set's plane/theme. Don't worry about what other spells in that set are dong.

73 comments:

  1. Hit random three times to get a set.

    Mirrodin - *redesigns Go for the Threat, it's also not a common anymore. D'oh! Then... remakes Irradiate. Curse you, Jay! This wonderful assignment is pernicious!*

    Rust Away (Mirrodin)
    3B
    Sorcery
    Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.
    Metalcraft - exile that creature.

    Guild Assassination (Ravnica, City of Guilds)
    2B
    Sorcery
    Destroy target multicolored creature.

    God-Pharaoh's Purge (Amonkhet)
    Instant
    3B
    Exile target non-zombie creature.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mirrodin or Scars of Mirrodin? And I'd expect it to upgrade to -11/-11 or something, not exile. It avoids indestructible either way.

      The other two are solid. I was surprised to realize Guild Assassination didn't already exist (Radiant Purge is the closest analogue).

      Delete
    2. God-Pharaoh's Purge is a great name for an Hour of Devastation card, and getting any target except one of Bolas' exalted is simple and very flavorful for that set. They're less a fit for Amonkhet, when the denizens of the plane were still unaware of Bolas' treacherous plan, but it still kinda works as the punishment for heresy like Samut's.

      Simple, effective, and relevant. My only little gripe is that it's odd how this is super-effective on embalm/eternalize creatures initially (because it removes them _and_ the exile prevents them from returning) but can't touch them at all after they return.

      Delete
    3. Re: lpaulsen - Original Mirrodin and good point. I may have been overcorrecting in response to Rosewater and GA's emphasis on high negative numbers. I was going for Toxic Stench-style templating, but that probably works better on cards with normally small effects like Dispatch and Eye Gouge.

      Re:Jay - ah! I totally should have had this destroy creatures instead of exiling them. Excellent point.

      Delete
  2. I randomed Visions, which I knew almost nothing about. It's set on an African-themed continent on Dominaria. It had the first well-known "187" creatures (Nektraal and company) and some multicolor / color-hosing themes. Its major mechanics were cumulative upkeep, flanking, and phasing.

    Here's my shot at a black common Visions-themed removal spell:

    Cobra Bite 2B
    Instant
    Destroy target creature without flying or flanking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Visions was a little trippy (mostly thanks to phasing, and the set being half African-inspired and half just-another-Magic-set).

      The name Cobra Bite fits (although I feel like it's better for Sultai or Kaladesh). Does it make sense that a cobra can't bite something with flying or flanking? A little, yeah. What do flying and flanking have in common? Thematically, they both involve moving fast. Ehhh. Mechanically, they're both evasion. So Cobra Bite lets you kill a majority of the creatures that might attack you without evasion. That certainly helps keep the cost down. Since it's not really focused on defending you, it could be a sorcery—that it's not suggests the optimal use: Try to eat a combat trick by (double-) blocking an attacker and responding to their Feral Instinct… or something.

      I think this is a fine submission.

      Delete
  3. Dragons of tarkir

    Dragonloard's Death 2B
    Sorcery
    Destroy target non-dragon creature

    I am not a fan of this as while it has the theme of the set it fails to remove the limited bombs and will have some feel bads (but it could help increase the dragons appearance in games

    death to the weak 1B
    instant
    Destroy target creature with toughness 3 or less

    This still wont kill dragons but it encourages player to fire it off early as it cant kill any big threats

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Not removing Limited bombs" is where WotC likes cheap common removal to be these days anyway. I think Dragonlord's Death is a totally solid design, though I don't understand the name.

      Delete
    2. Death to the Weak seems printable. It's a Vanquish the Weak for toughness. That's a bit weirder, since we could just do -3/-3, but there's certainly a distinct difference between this and Last Gasp. It seems particularly dangerous in a set with megamorph, where 2/2s are very likely to become significantly bigger with mana open.

      Even so, the name is great, and perfect for DTK.

      Delete
  4. Theros

    Crux Demise B
    Sorcery
    Destroy target creature.
    Target opponent may sacrifice a creature. If he or she does, counter this spell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When is this different from "target opponent sacrifices a creature" in 2-player? The only answer I can think of is when all of the potential targets have hexproof and/or indestructible.

      Delete
    2. I echo lpaulsen's critique. This looks like like a punisher effect, but it seems rare that you won't be able to target your opponent's best creature.

      I don't think this plays nicely in multiplayer, either. How often will I want to prevent my opponent's creature from being destroyed by a third player.

      Delete
    3. The multiplayer aspect could matter in 2HG or Emperor, but yeah, this is more complicated than Cruel Edict, and we're not gaining anything particularly Theros (which was not a multiplayer-focused set).

      Delete
  5. I got Dragons of Tarkir.

    Under Silumgar's Nose (Common)
    B
    Enchantment - Aura
    Enchant creature
    When enchanted creature is turned face up, its controller sacrifices it.
    "Keep absolutely still. His vision is based on movement."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the name and flavor, but they don't match the effect. I'd expect "When enchanted creature attacks or blocks, sack it at EOC" or something.

      I'm torn on the trigger. On one hand, it will never actually happen: Why would anyone pay to morph their creature knowing it'll die? On the other hand, this does read more flavorfully than "Enchanted creature can't be turned face up."

      Which is better? The above or "Destroy target face-down creature?" USN just locks your morph into forever remaining a 2/2 for {3}, which lets it be cheap. Destroy-FDC helps clear the board of do-nothing cards (like the face-down 2/2 and the aura). They both require your opponent to play morphs, and for you to be able to answer them before they can be unmorphed.

      You could do something more generic that just happens to work on morphed creatures, like -2/-2. Or, if you really want to focus on morphs, you could also make "Destroy target creature with morph or megamorph" or, since megamorph is DTK's thing, "Destroy target creature with a +1/+1 counter on it" (which would also work against outlast, etc), or even "Destroy target creature that was turned face-up this turn."

      It's really hard to see choice is best, even knowing the complete set.

      Delete
    2. Fatal Mutation
      Sometimes you will flip something up just for the triggered ability.

      Delete
  6. Oath of the Gatewatch

    Bloodsap Ritual
    2B
    Sorcery - Common
    Deal 2 damage divided as you choose among one or two target creatures. Gain 2 life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What's Oath of the Gatewatch about this? The fact that it can kill two Eldrazi Scions?

      Nice find of a simple removal variant that hasn't been done yet.

      Delete
    2. Agreed that it's not strongly tied to the set but it is a nice design. I hadn't considered throwing Fire and Vicious Hunger et al. in bed together and waiting nine months, but it's really a cute baby.

      Delete
    3. Both killing two Eldrazi Scions and supporting the (albeit very minor) Vampire lifegain theme (e.g. Cliffhaven Vampire/Vampire Envoy)

      Delete
    4. For some reason, it feels wrong to me for black to be able to split damage. (Direct damage, multiple targets), but otherwise this is very relevant to the set.

      Delete
    5. Unfortunately if you target 2 scions with it the opponent can sacrifice them in response and you won't get the life unless you change it to "target player gains 2 life"

      Delete
  7. Coldsnap

    Overexpose 3B
    Sorcery
    Destroy Target Creature with one or more age counters on it.
    Draw a card at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep.
    "Time in the frosts is time quickly spent."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very Coldsnap. :)

      I think I want it to be an instant, though, so that you can get the card on your own upkeep if needed, and so that you can off the creature before it gets a turn of swinging.

      Delete
    2. I mostly felt that instant would up the power a little more (since you get a card off it) and I didn't want the Mana cost too restrictive (felt 3BB for an instant).
      Definitely see the reasoning though

      Delete
    3. Oh Coldsnap.
      Any other set—even a set with cumulative upkeep—I'd say this is way too narrow. But Coldsnap had CU and was designed to be drafted three boosters at a time despite being a small set, so I'm not sure it is too narrow.

      The flavor even works. Nice.

      My only addition is that it would be funnier to do something like "put 10 age counters on target creature with cumulative upkeep."

      Delete
  8. Llorwyn

    Auntie's Bog Hex 1BB
    Sorcery - Common

    Target creature gets -2/-2 until the end of the turn. Clash with an opponent. If you win, that opponent loses two life and you gain two life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm. Now I'm thinking it should be an instant. I had it as a sorcery at first because the original version forced a discard if you won the clash.

      Delete
    2. This is a good use of clash: The bonus is nice and helpful, but doesn't determine the success of the primary effect. Dev would probably make this 1B or so, since it's not too much stronger than Disfigure. Good name.

      Delete
  9. Revised? Uh, okay...

    Into the Mire (Common)
    1BB
    Sorcery
    Bury target creature with power less than or equal to the number of swamps you control.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Revised.
      Bury is a dead-on callback. Counting swamps isn't crazy given Nightmare, though Spitting Earth seems to have been the first to turn land # into 'damage.' Sorceress Queen and Dwarven Warriors messed with power, but otherwise it wasn't a reason-to-be-killed as of Revised.

      I grant Into the Mire max points for satire, but only middling points for accuracy.

      Delete
  10. I got Zendikar. Does the following count as a “condition”? If not, I can tweak it.

    Fatal Misstep 1BB (common)
    Instant
    As an additional cost to cast Fatal Misstep, return a land you control to its owner’s hand.

    Destroy target creature.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just playing around now. This might want to be uncommon and/or white (a white off color trap cost might be cool, though Zendikar didn’t play in such multicolor space). But movie references are fun.

      Forbidden Relic Trap 4B (common)
      Instant - Trap
      If an opponent had a noncreature artifact enter the battlefield under his or her control this turn, you may pay B rather than pay Forbidden Relic Trap’s mana cost.

      Exile target creature.

      Delete
    2. Trap is a smart choice. Not 100% convinced the trigger belongs at common (Baloth Cage Trap is a less narrow uncommon) but otherwise I like the idea.

      Delete
    3. Oops I wasn't trying to copy Baloth Cage Trap's trigger. My bad. This was a top-down Indiana Jones design. (Oh you got your lost ark? Bad news, friend...) I just didn't want it to automatically off artifact creatures, and they didn't logically fit the trope anyway.

      As for rarity, yeah, I wasn't convinced either. I just liked the design.

      Delete
    4. Okay then how about:

      Cursed Talisman Trap 2BB (common)
      Instant - Trap
      If an opponent paid a kicker cost this turn, you may pay B rather than pay Forbidden Relic Trap’s mana cost.

      Destroy target creature.

      Delete
    5. Normally, we don't want to predicate too much of our deck/card's worth on what our opponent is running and how they're playing, but traps definitely care about that (at least about the latter). So in terms of flavor, and the relevance of words in this text, nailed it.

      I do have two gameplay concerns: First, we generally want to stay on-message with the mechanics in a set. Are we telling players to kick their spells or not? Kicker says yes. Cursed Talisman Trap says no. That's a bit amorphous, though. The second concern is more tangible: At the point where my opponent has enough mana to start kicking spells, how often do I expect saving three mana on CTT to be a big deal? Certainly, it will come up, but not as frequently as if the trigger were something like spells with CMC 4-. Simply because I'm likely to have a bunch of land by this point in the game myself.

      Delete
  11. Lacerate (Common)
    1B
    Instant
    Domain - Destroy target creature with toughness less than or equal to the number of basic land types among lands you control.

    Lacerate (Common)
    1B
    Instant
    Kicker 2
    Destroy target creature if its converted mana cost is 2 or less. If Lacerate was kicked, destroy that creature if its converted mana cost is 4 or less instead.

    Invasion was my random set. The obvious theme is multicolor with Domain, but Exotic Plague and Drag Down mostly have that covered. The second is more like what would be an actual card from the set - it was big on these simple, very mechanical implementations of Kicker. There was an artifact removal spell & a counterspell that worked the same way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very nice designs. One possible tweak to the first one: have it deal damage or drain instead of checking toughness. It's unusual to see a removal spell that checks toughness. I believe this is because damage or -X/-X has better synergy with other cards.

      Delete
    2. The issue with -X/-X is that the card then becomes Exotic Curse.

      Delete
    3. Then maybe make that one check CMC? Since Invasion was about bears it would cleanly kill all of those but it wouldn’t hit the dragons even with domain. Also to fit better back then does this want the “no regeneration” rider?

      On another note, I would love to see a new take on gold removal since Invasion was the multicolor set.

      Delete
    4. Lacerate is Fatal Push but with kicker instead of revolt, and priced to be common. That's real solid. Especially since you're paying two to kill a two-drop or four to kill a four-drop.

      This fits very well. If anything, it's slightly too clean for the era, which is great.

      Delete
    5. (I do see Invasion never references CMC. I guess that's a minor tick. Whatever.)

      Delete
    6. Invasion references converted mana cost on Prohibit, and sense this is black prohibit it seems right along those lines.

      Delete
    7. Prohibit seems super relevant.
      Also, how did I so badly mis-search for CMC in Invasion? There are 10 cards!

      Delete
  12. I got New Phyrexia as my random set.

    Compleat Destruction 3BB
    Sorcery (C)
    Destroy target creature. If that creature had a -1/-1 counter on it, proliferate. (You choose any number of permanents and/or players with counters on them, then give each another counter of a kind already there.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree. I like this a lot — it rewards you for using -1/-1 counters for short of lethal and has a flavor almost like moving the counter. It even has “kill your own guy” corner cases. Excellent.

      Delete
    2. This is very solid. I like the mechanical poetry of Grim Affliction better, but this tells a better story.

      Delete
  13. Lorwyn!

    Tag-Team 1B
    Enchantment - Aura
    Enchant creature
    When a creature enters the battlefield under your control, if it shares a creature type with enchanted creature, sacrifice CARDNAME and destroy target creature.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alternative templating for the same effect. Might be too cute for common, but I like it a little better.

      Enchant creature you control
      Tag-Team has each creature type of enchanted creature.
      If a creature that shares a creature type with Tag-Team enters the battlefield under your control, sacrifice Tag-Team and destroy another target creature.

      Delete
    2. Is the latter template a tribal card? It's definitely too cute/confusing.

      Tag-Team is pretty sweet. It rewards you for playing a creature of the same type you want to kill. It's likely too good at common with changelings running around. It's also unlikely to justify being an aura: I'm usually going to cast this the same turn I cast the creature that matters. Maybe just making it 3B or so solves both those?

      Delete
    3. Is the following too strong/too complex for common? With modern removal costing, is this too cheap?

      Double Team 1B
      Instant
      As an additional cost to cast ~, tap two creatures you control that share a creature type.
      Destroy target creature.

      Delete
    4. It might be too strong for common, but I like it a lot for any tribal set. It would definitely be fair as a sorcery (because then it's not just asking you to have a matching pair of creatures, but to neither attack nor block with them for a round).

      Almost feels white?

      Delete
  14. Arabian Nights??

    ...okay, this might be out of my depth. Let's random again.

    Commander. That doesn't have a plane or theme.

    Again.

    Shadowmoor. I can work with this.

    Dessicate 2BB
    Sorcery (C)
    Wither
    CARDNAME deals 2 damage to target creature. You gain 2 life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Black Puncture Blast? Even better.

      My only note is that you should probably be able to hit players too (both for Drain Life consistency and to make wither relevant by letting the player consider not withering anything.)

      Delete
  15. Core Set 2014

    Witch's Hex 3BB
    Sorcery (C)
    Gain 2 life.
    Target creature gets -X/-X until end of turn, where X is equal to your life total.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Making the first and second halves feel connected more than answers the question of "Why isn't this just 'Destroy target creature'?".

      Delete
    2. I like Witch's Hex a lot.

      My only niggle is that it feels too fancy for a core set common: It has variables, an internal combo, and will often do two-digit 'damage' to its target.
      Expansion common, or core set uncommon, sure.

      Delete
    3. Core Set 2014 had Quag Sickness at common, so variables don't seem crazy. And 99% of the time it's just 3BB destroy target creature with a minor bonus, which 2014 also had at common.

      Delete
  16. Betrayers of Kamigawa

    Hero's Demise already exists and is, frankly, a perfect design. Easily one of my top-five Doom Blades.

    How about:

    Dishonorable Death 3B
    Instant
    Destroy target creature. If that creature was legendary, its controller loses 2 life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dishonorable Death is a bit strong for common, but that's Dev's concern. I'd normally say it's not great that this is contradicting the set's direction to play lots of legends, but the flavor here is so good: "I killed some dude. What, that was Dosan? The Falling Leaf? Oof, I wouldn't want to be his first of kin right now."

      Delete
  17. I went with random card on Scryfall.
    First I got Portal Three Kingdoms. I looked up the set on MTGS wiki, and discovered it has no mechanical identity nor feature, apart from substituting flying with horsemanship, and being slavishly top down. Ugh.

    Next hit, Unstable!
    So here it is:
    Maniacal Laugh {2}{B}{B}
    Sorcery
    Destroy target creature without a League of Dastardly Doom watermark.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like how this is perfectly fair in Unstable Limited, and so much better anywhere else. (But still just weaker than Murder.) Cool.

      Delete
  18. I got original mirrodin. I feel like every possible combination of artifact removal has been done by now, so I looked for something else on the plain that could flavour a card. None of the other mechanical themes seemed to fit either (I mean, I could have slapped one of the keyword mechanics on it, but that didn't seem to really help.)

    Whiff of Mephidross 1B
    Sorcery
    Target creature gets -1/-1 UEOT. It's controller discards a card.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even though this has nothing to do with artifacts, it just feels like the sort of random small removal you'd find around Mirrodin. Surprised this isn't a card already.

      Delete
    2. Thank you!

      Wizards seemed to have avoided mixing /-X with discard, to the extent I wondered if there was a reason for it. I mean, this can be a 2-for-1, but I reasoned it wasn't usually.

      Delete
  19. Nice work, Artisans. Look how much space there is still for common black removal!

    I'm getting Déjà vu, but it's clear I should have defined 'conditional.' That means there are conditions on the card that make it better in some situations and worse in others (often useless). Doom Blade can't hit black creatures. Vanquish the Weak can't hit big creatures. Eyeblight's Ending can't hit elves. Those are the most class sort (because they're binary), but Disfigure is conditional too: It kills 2/2, but it also kills 4/4s when they block your 3/3. Drain Life is conditional on you having enough swamps to pay with. Feast of Blood requires you to control vampires. Bone Splinters requires you to have a disposable critter, Chill Haunting disposable dead, Devour in Shadow disposable life. There are cards that always get their target, but may or may not grant you a bonus depending on what it was. That's not conditional removal, but it is removal with a conditional bonus, and close enough for this exercise.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I know this is closed, but I don't have anything better to do.
    I got time spiral

    Terror of Gods
    6BB
    sorcery
    Destroy each nonblack creature. They can't be regenerated.

    ReplyDelete