Friday, July 20, 2018

Weekend Design Challenge 072018 - For Designing: Magic Cards, Never Printed

Hey Artisans. Click through to see the requirements for this weekend's design challenge, due Monday morning. Every submission warrants feedback, so once you've got your great idea down, give some thoughtful critique to some of your peers. Revise your submission any number of times, and on Monday-ish, I'll review the most recent submission from each designer.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

CCDD 071918—Exploit Disorder

Cool Card Design of the Day
Here's another. This card was designed to be a two-for-one, and appealing in that regard. But automatic, guaranteed two-for-ones are boring, so I found a pair of related states we could craft some removal around.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Weekend Design Challenge 070618 - Evergreen Keyword Matters

07/18 Update: 12 days later, I finished my reviews in the comments. Bumping this to the front page temporarily.

Hey Artisans. Click through to see the requirements for this weekend's design challenge, due Monday morning. Every submission warrants feedback, so once you've got your great idea down, give some thoughtful critique to some of your peers. Revise your submission any number of times, and on Monday-ish, I'll review the most recent submission from each designer.

CCDD 071818—Loquacious Sphinx

Cool Card Design of the Day
Here's another.

I really wanted a Sphinx that helped you cast multiple spells. It was tricky waking the line between Snapcaster Mage and Torrential Gearhulk.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

CCDD 071718—Cruel Master

Cool Card Design of the Day
I took a design test (for a non-Wizards company) today, and here's one of the cards I didn't submit.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Weekend Design Challenge 071318—Eternal

Click through to see the requirements for your design test, 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.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Eternal Card Game (III—Mechanics)

What mechanics make Eternal tick?

CCDD 071118 - Half-Lords

Cool Card Design of the Day
During GDS3's first challenge, I came up with an idea for Imps that I ended up discarding because, after iterating, it didn't feel like it fit the tribe anymore. I still like the idea, though, so I figured I'd walk you all through my thought process so we could discuss whether the core idea of a "Half-Lord" is salvageable in some way.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Eternal Card Game (I—Factions & Resources)


A few weeks ago I tried out Eternal, a digital card game in the style of Hearthstone and Duelyst, and it's the only one I enjoy anywhere near as much as Magic, so I'd be remiss not to write about it. At a high level, its implementation is the closest to Magic's I've seen, differentiating itself primarily in two ways: First, it sets into action many of the "If we could re-create Magic knowing what we know now" refinements, and second, it makes delightful use of the platform in its mechanics.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

CCDD 070518 - Jeskai

Happy 5th of July everyone! I'm just gonna leave these here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

CCDD 070318—upkeep and Titan Peak

Cool Card Design of the Day
I was reading Magic story, and remembering how often Fantasy talks about wizards having to continue to focus attention, magical energy, or both in order to keep up ongoing spell effects, and how that limits what new spells they're able to cast. Old-school upkeep payments captured this flavor perfectly, and even though they're downside effects, I honestly do miss them. Is there a better way to get the same flavor? I think so.

Big Deck Energy

a guest post by Wobbles
A recent Twitter conversation made me realize that a popular casual format played by my friends may not be widely known. It certainly wasn't when I went to look for an article to describe it! So let me let you all in on a great format known as 
Big Deck Magic

Monday, July 2, 2018

CCDD 070218—Murderous Mage

Cool Card Design of the Day
The way that Baral, Chief of Compliance makes all your spells cheaper rather than just your counterspells got me thinking about a card dedicated to improving your removal rather than doing it incidentally.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Weekend Art Challenge 062918 — Artur Sadlos

Golden Guardian by Svetlin Velinov
Click through to see the requirements for your design challenge, due by Monday morning. Every submission warrants feedback, which you may use to revise your submission any number of times. I encourage you all to revise your designs at least once in response to feedback. I will review the most recent submission from each designer, or whichever submission you specify you wish to have reviewed.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

CCDD 062818 — Hype!

When Battlebond was first announced, I was actually expecting a mechanic we never got in the set: one to represent "style and flair", with "spells and spectacles" that "cause the crowd to go wild"! Since we didn't end up getting such a mechanic in the set, I've tried to design my own: hype!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

CCDD 062718 - Circle Logic

For this past weekend's challenge, Jay Treat randomly ended up redesigning Circle of Protection: White. The idea of a circle of protection is a very resonant fantasy trope, but in Magic it has been saddled with some poor early choices in its history: Making a 5-card cycle out of it, making it overly strong as a hate card, and carrying a tremendous amount of complexity (plus a history of terrible art).

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Weekend Design Challenge 062218 - Random Redesign Review

Good morning, Artisans. I hope everyone had a great weekend. This is the challenge we're reviewing today. Let's dive in.


Monday, June 25, 2018

CCDD 062518—Peark, Orcish Diplomat

Cool Card Design of the Day
Exploring how various fantasy cultures approach diplomacy is often fun. How do Orcs bring about peace?

Friday, June 22, 2018

Weekend Design Challenge 062218 - Random Redesign

Hey Artisans. Click through to see the requirements for this weekend's design challenge, due Monday morning. Every submission warrants feedback, so once you've got your great idea down, give some thoughtful critique to some of your peers. Revise your submission any number of times, and on Monday-ish, I'll review the most recent submission from each designer.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

CCDD 062118—Cowardly Necromancer & Vengeful Ossomancer

Cool Card Design of the Day
I don't know what the story is behind this pair of designs, but they were clearly made in the same batch (despite telling rather different stories), and aim to depict necromancers.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

CCDD 062018—Strictly Dual Land

Cool Card Design of the Day
In the vein of on-the-nose dual lands like Luxury Suite, here's a very strong dual land that can only be used in a two-color deck. (Which would support Ravnica's stated goal of being a two-color gold block, but not the Standard environment it actually facilitated.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

CCDD 061918—mana types

Cool Card Design of the Day
Way back when (circa GDS2) I explored the idea of new types of mana. It started with snow mana, flitted briefly through sacred mana, and ended badly at bird mana, lizard mana, beast mana, etc. It seemed like a dead-end.

Earlier this year, it occurred to me that the mistake wasn't caring about what produced the mana, but caring too specifically. First, the thing can't be parasitic, like snow or sacred were; it's got to be something Magic has a lot of. Second, it can't be so preposterously narrow as to carry about a specific sub-type. The reason being that we want to actually use our mechanic, and since we're inherently limiting ourselves to a set of mana producers much smaller than Any Land, we've got to keep the aperture open as wide as possible.

Magic has one card that's a model for this:

Monday, June 18, 2018

CCDD 061818—GDS3 Slick

Cool Card Design of the Day
For the mechanic challenge in GDS3, I built and tested a number of mechanics. Slick was the last of my top choices. Ryan was lamenting hexproof on Twitter today, so it's time to share this one.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Weekend Design Challenge 061518 - A Work of Art

Hey, Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge, submissions due Monday morning.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Interview Tonight with Alexis Janson!

Alexis Janson, winner of the first Great Designer Search, will interview me about GDS3 on her Twitch stream tonight at 6:30 Pacific / 9:30 Eastern. Come hear a few more stories and ask us any remaining questions!

EDIT: Here's the video.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

CCDD 061318 - Planeswalker Aether Trails

I was thinking about yesterday's Planeswalking exercise and how PW-matters cards are very tricky to do at uncommon due to the inherent mythicness of the type. Hour of Devastation had an interesting take on the theme, with a direct-to-sideboard/jank box cycle that relied heavily on their thematic tie to the story to justify their existence.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

CCDD 061218 - Planeswalk

Given the emphasis the past several years on PWs as main characters, it's still a little surprising that there isn't a card that just tries to capture the act of planeswalking. Let's address that.

Monday, June 11, 2018

CCDD 061118 - Characteristic Anthems

Back before the GDS Bullet Train left the station, I had started an exploration of Form of enchantments exploring what they might look like separated from Red's history with the template. While working on that, I gave a lot of thought to both the Iconic and Characteristic races in Magic, and how they are captured mechanically.

Friday, June 8, 2018

GDS3 Reflections: Ari Nieh, Finish Line

I'm writing this on Wednesday afternoon somewhere over Grand Forks, North Dakota, on a plane home from Renton. I won the third Great Designer Search yesterday.

Let me tell you a bit about what went down.

Weekend Design Challenge 060818 - No Judge Free For All

While Inanimate and I catch up with our backlog of play-along GDS challenges (we're getting there, I promise), we're taking a week off from judging. Got a cool idea for a card you want feedback from the Artisan community on? Drop it below in the comments, and then offer someone else some feedback. No one's doing a formal judging this week, but I might pop in on Sunday to offer some feedback.

Have fun, and enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Ari Nieh Wins the Great Designer Search 3!


Congratulations to Ari Nieh for winning the Great Designer Search 3!

Ari, from all of us Artisans, we're so happy for you. You made it from 7000+ applicants down to the very end for this amazing opportunity. Goblin Artisans has spent the last seven years being THE place to go to prepare for the GDS3 when it arrives, and I can't think of a better ending for the show than for one of GA's founders to take the prize.

Your victory is well earned, and we can't wait to see how Magic becomes an even more amazing game from your contributions.

CCDD 060718—GDS3 Jury-Rig

Cool Card Design of the Day
For the mechanic challenge in GDS3, I built and tested a number of mechanics. Jury-Rig was my next choice. You might recognize it from 2016. Originally, Jury-Rig had a variable cost; In testing I found that having two different costs for a bunch of cards made knowing how to play your hand far too much work. So I stole the best part of another mechanic (I'll tell that story another time) and simplified Jury-Rig to always cost {3}; That way you can evaluate your hand with the costs you see printed and just one more.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

CCDD 060618—GDS3 Riding

Cool Card Design of the Day
For the mehanic challenge in GDS3, I built and tested a number of mechanics. Ride came the closest to making the final cut over bloodspill. I'm really excited about ride because it solves so many of the classic mount problems in a fairly elegant package. I didn't submit it because it's super risky to claim to have found the holy grail so many designers have been searching for, and because bloodspill created the most novel gameplay.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

CCDD 060518—GDS3 Oozes

Cool Card Design of the Day
For the tribal challenge in GDS3, I built and tested five tribes. Oozes were my first choice, but Chris Mooney got there first. Shamans got a full day more development than Oozes (and that clearly wasn't enough), so these are very under-cooked, but I thought I'd share some of the more promising veins of design among the 83 cards I brainstormed.

The Late Game: Ari Nieh

Editor's Note: I sent follow up interview questions to the GDS Top 3 yesterday, mistakenly thinking the final day of the GDS was Thursday. It's today, and by now they have already started their tour of WotC. Ari responded last night, and apologies to Jeremy and Chris for sending these out too close to the Renton trip to give you time to answer. -Zeff

Friday, June 1, 2018

Weekend Design Challenge 060118 - Finding A Good Mechanic

Hey, Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge, submissions due Monday morning.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

GDS3 Reflections: Scott Wilson, Challenge 5

By Scott Wilson


Well this was it, the final challenge. And the day before we started, Mark Rosewater sent us an e-mail that made my heart drop.

GDS3 Reflections: Jeremy Geist, Challenge #5: Fleshy Humans of Tarkir


Ah, the “design a bunch of commons” challenge. Truly the Restaurant Wars of GDS.

GDS3 Reflections: Ari Nieh, Challenge #5

One last challenge! One last hurdle before Renton! One last chance to follow the rules in their entirety! I felt optimistic about this challenge, because I'm more comfortable with the refining/editing/polishing phase of creative work than generating new ideas whole cloth.

GDS3 Challenge 5: Pack and Play (Discussion Thread)

The results from the final pre-Renton challenge are here! Here are the discussion threads for discussion the challenge, the designs, the judge calls, and the elimination, plus a good place to congratulate the top 3. We're finally caught up with the actual GDS in real time!

Contestant Challenge 5 Discussion Threads

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

GDS3 Reflections: Scott Wilson, Challenge 4


After the previous challenge where my Ancestry mechanic got a (deserved) lukewarm reception, I wanted to step it up for this challenge. Mark Rosewater had these words for me that I essentially used as my guiding light this time around:

"You have to step up your innovation and try some designs that make us sit up and notice."

With that in mind, for this challenge I aimed to make EACH card do something that hasn't been done before. In doing that, I think I made some cool cards, but I also ended up creating some monsters that I shouldn't have.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

GDS3 Reflections: Jeremy Geist, Round 4 - A Tale of Lofty Ambition And Reasonable Execution


The art challenge from GDS1 is my favorite of the challenges, so I was jazzed when my opened up my e-mail and there was a message saying “Twelve Arts for Design Challenge #4”. I opened it up, looked at the challenges, accepted that my submission for Challenge 3 was my worst performance so far, and got to work to redeem myself.

GDS3 Reflections: Aftermath

By Ryan Siegel-Stechler

Ever since I was 11 and first learned about Magic, it’s been a giant part of my life. My brother Kevin and I have been jamming decks (with ever-increasing competence) for years, keeping up via Magic even when we both moved to different states for college. Same with our childhood best friend, Spencer, who lived down the street from us. Magic gave us a bond that is strong to this day.