Friday, January 5, 2018

Weekend Design Challenge 010518—Cycling It Out

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.

Select Magic cards at random until you find one that isn't already part of a complete cycle. Design a single new card that could be part of a cycle with your inspiration card. It could be a horizontal cycle (five cards across the colors), a vertical cycle (cmn, unc, rare in the same color), or a mirrored pair (like white and black knights). Tell me whether your card is appearing in the same set as its kin, or what.

44 comments:

  1. Common:
    Dark Initiate 2B
    Creature - Cleric (Legions)
    When Scion of Darkness enters the battlefield, return Dark Initiate from your graveyard to the battlefield tapped.
    Cycling B
    2/3

    Uncommon: Dark Supplicant
    Rare: Scion Of Darkness

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    1. I go back and forth between this being a 2/1 for 1B (which fits the curve of a Scion deck better) or a 2/3 for 2B (which is better against morph but competes for the three drop slot). Cycling is nice, but non-essential.

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    2. This isn't exactly a vertical cycle, but it is a set of cards directly connected to each other (vertically) and fits the intent of the challenge.

      It's neat that you can get back a bunch of Dark Initiates after you get your Scion Of Darkness. And it's nice that this has cycling like the Scion and that can help you get this into the GY where you can recur them.

      What I find significantly disappointing is that these don't help your Dark Supplicant get your 8-mana demon into play. And since the Scion reanimates creatures anyhow, reanimating these is not what I really want out of them.

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    3. The story's good and creepy though.

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    4. They help dark supplicant by being clerics for the supplicant's ability?

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  2. Hrmmm.... I got Upheaval. I think this is gonna have to be a vertical cycle, because I have no idea how to do anything beyond the loosest horizontal cycle otherwise.

    Turbulence 2UU
    Sorcery (Uncommon)
    Starting with you, each player chooses two permanents her or she doesn't control. Return the chosen permanents to their owners' hands.
    Odyssey

    I'd like it to be three permanents each, but man... it's so dangerous bouncing multiple opposing lands. I'll also note this can be nasty if one player incurs the table's wrath in multiplayer.

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    1. Interesting. Could be
      Common U Each player returns a permanent he or she controls to is owners hand
      Uncommon 2UU Each player returns two permanents they control to their hands
      Rare upheaval

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    2. I suppose Eureka is Upheaval's mirror… Good call going vertical.

      I like how Turbulence is a smaller Upheaval. Obviously how-do-we-determine-what-gets-bounced is the big question. You could have let the caster chooses two permanents each player controls, or let each player choose which two of their own permanents gets bounced. Your solution will be more symmetrically brutal in a duel. In multiplayer, a table could collude to destroy a player. Not sure I love that, but at least it's not something good groups should be forced into.

      This also raises execution questions. In what order do players choose, or it simultaneous? (By default, the active player chooses first and we go clockwise, but that's not common knowledge.) Finally, not targeting is fairly significant, as it entirely circumvents hexproof and shroud (which Upheaval does too, in fairness).

      I wonder if this uncommon's nature would be helpfully informed by the common in the cycle. Is it Boomerang or something else?

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    3. Oh, the other way to cycle this out vertically, would be to snag entire subsets.
      Bounce all cards with CMC 3-.
      Bounce all creatures.
      Bounce all blue cards.
      etc

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    4. Thanks -- great feedback. I put "starting with you" as a rider to help people who didn't know the choice order. This is also how things like Join Forces are templated.

      I agree that how we choose is THE big question. I'm not sure of the right answer.

      It's somewhat a dev question, since "you choose everything" is the most savagely powerful (pick up your lands; I'll bounce these ETB creatures), whereas "each chooses their own" is wildly weak but most variable since it wrecks on turn 3 if someone just has lands. "Each chooses the opponent's" is swingy too, but I'm not sure the multiplayer angle is too terrible -- it just serves to bring leader(s) back to the pack. Still, it's a conundrum.

      I don't know what the common is, but I wanted to keep the faux-symmetrical nature of Upheaval, so I don't think it's Boomerang.

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  3. Huh. I got Veldrane of Sengir. I don't know anything about Homelands, but I don't think he's part of a cycle. Here is his mirrored pair that would also appear in the same set:

    Enardlev of Autumn Willow (Rare)
    5GG
    Legendary Creature - Human Shaman
    5/5
    1GG: Enardlev of Autumn Willow gets -3/-0 and gains swampwalk until end of turn.

    "For every foul hunter they send to plunder my forest, I will send a pure soul to nourish their swamp." - Autumn Willow

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    1. Seems perfect for Homelands.

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    2. Yeah. They wouldn't mirror something this quirky so closely today, but back in the day? Yeah. Totally.

      Bonus points for resisting the urge to make it not suck.

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  4. Random card: Screaming Fury
    Designed card:

    Peaceful Calm W
    Instant
    Target creature gets +0/+5 and can't attack this turn.

    I thought about doing a cycle but there are a million combat tricks so I thought doing an interesting pair/reflection would be fun.

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    1. Agreed. It hurts the mirroring slightly that their costs and types are different, but the 0/5 thing and "can attack this turn"/"can't" are strong enough that it shows through. (And of course, this wouldn't work as a sorcery and would be over-costed at 2W.)

      Solid.

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  5. I got Channel, which led me to try and make a member of the Channel+Necropotence club. But that's not really a cycle, and every design that tries to match it ends up feeling archaic. So instead, let's imagine a vertical cycle stretching between Channel and... Elves of Deep Shadow?

    Masqued Satyr 1GG
    Creature - Satyr Shaman (u)
    Whenever ~ becomes tapped, it deals damage to you equal to its power.
    T: Add {C}{C}{C} to your mana pool.
    Take hands! Join the dance! Drink deep tonight, and the sunrise will be sweeter.
    3/1

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    1. I suppose it's the heady satyr wine that's doing damage to you, but it's also fun to pretend that satyrs are just really dangerous dancers when they're drunk- those hooves!

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    2. I like the idea of positioning this between Elves of Deep Shadow and Channel.

      I was confused why Masqued Satyr deals damage to you equal to its power, rather than the amount of mana it generates (and thus why that damage isn't just part of the tap ability), but I see this hurts you for attacking with it too. I honestly don't see why it needs to do that; if we are going that route, maybe change {C}{C}{C} to "A number of {C} equal to ~'s power?" Or maybe even "Whenever ~ deals damage, add that much {C} to your mana pool and lose that much life."

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  6. Condemn:

    Lightning Swipe R
    Instant
    Lightning Swipe deals 3 damage to target blocking creature.


    I didn't want to clutter the idea, but if this turns out underwhelming while playtesting, I suggest adding the following text:

    If a creature dealt damage this way would die this turn, creatures that were blocked by that creature this combat gain trample until end of turn.

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    1. I'm not sure that I would really see this as part of a cycle with condemn, beyond being another combat related removal spell. Some of the unique things condemn does is putting things in the bottom of the library and maybe rewarding an opponent?

      Collapse R
      Instant
      Put target artifact on the bottom of it's owners library. Collapse deals damage to that player equal to that cards converted mana cost.

      ?

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    2. Thanks for the feedback. I was trying for a cycle that was something to do with Alpha removal that was too powerful for today’s standard so is toned down. Maybe that’s too undefined to be a clear cycle.

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    3. I like this card a lot, even with "creatures blocked by it have trample this turn." (It's like a smaller Ride Down.)

      But Lightning Swipe is definitely not communicating any relationship to Condemn. We need to see similar words, phrases, numbers, and/or impacts on the game.

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  7. Doh! Etched Monstrosity

    (Wait, how do I do links again, I always forget?
    http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=217996)

    OK, um. I think that's going to essentially impossible to make into a colour cycle. I *suppose* that there could be a cycle of five with colour-relevant activation costs, and RWUBG could be the green one, but even that seems like a stretch. And a vertical cycle doesn't seem especially promising either. OK, I will try a mirrored pair as the only sensible option.

    OK, so it had better be colorless, and anti-RGWUB, let's try playing up the eldrazi vs phyrexian contrast...

    Gibbering Monstrosity 5
    Creature Eldrazi
    When CARDNAME ETBs, exile the top five cards of target opponent's library.
    CARDNAME gets -5/-5 if there are five or more exiled cards controlled by opponents.
    CCCCC, Put five cards opponents control from exile into their owner's graveyards: Draw three cards.
    10/10

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    1. Interesting! I like it. Technically Etched Monstrosity kinda belongs in a cycle/tribe with Etched Oracle and maybe Etched Champion. It's certainly inspired by Oracle, although that doesn't mean it would need to work that way.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Err, do (a)CARDNAME(/a), only with <> instead of ().

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    4. How to do card links is described here: http://goblinartisans.blogspot.com/2013/03/testing.html?showComment=1458842819566#c7062678012288618809 and that link is at the top-right of every page on the site.

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    5. We've identified another kind of cycle. The re-make/homage kind, where you make a new version of an old card some players loved with a modern design aesthetic and/or a keyword from the new set. (Generally, these sets have to be related, as Mirrodin and Scars of Mirrodin are.)

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    6. Oops. Thank you for pointing out the link instructions!

      Delete
  8. I got Charmed Pendant:

    http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=29899

    Charmed Ring
    2
    Artifact - Equipment - Uncommon
    Equip 2
    Equipped creature gets +X/+X, where X is equal to the number of colored mana symbols in its mana cost.

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    1. Equipment didn’t exist in Odyssey, so maybe this would be in a callback set revising the plane? I don’t think Charmed Pendant was popular/iconic enough for it, but that’s probably the most likely scenario.

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    2. Ooh, I wasn't familiar with Charmed Pendant. Neat card.

      Charmed Ring also looks at a card's colored mana symbols, which is great, but removes the uncertainty of the top of the deck and replaces mana generation with P/T boosting. On one hand, I feel like that's two steps removed from the source when I'd rather see one, but on the other hand, this is both a more usable and less breakable card.

      This is the alternative I see:

      Charmed Ring
      2
      Artifact - Equipment - Uncommon
      Equip 2
      T, Put the top card of your library into your graveyard: Equipped creature gets +X/+X until EOT, where X is the number of colored mana symbols in that card's mana cost.

      I don't know that's better.

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    3. I'd probably go for a "Key to the City" style artifact here, because the discard ability gives you choice

      {T}, Discard a card: Target creature gains protection from the colors of colored symbols in the mana cost of that card' until end of turn.
      Whenever ~ becomes untapped, you may pay {2}. If you do, draw a card.

      I think you want the color to matter if you're looking at the colored Mana symbols. Just counting the symbols as a random number generator isn't that exciting.

      Delete
  9. I got Tidal Kraken

    so vertical with the uncommon being printed with tidal kraken (reprint) in RIX

    River Kraken 5U

    Creature Kraken

    U: target merfolk or pirate attacks this turn if able.

    "To merfolk, pirates are a nuisance. To pirates, merfolk are a threat. To the kraken, they’re both appetizers."

    5/5

    ----------------

    wasn't asked for but the common is probably a 5U 4/4 with explore

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    1. I see the name relationship to Tidal Kraken, and that we're still a kraken, but this activated siren ability is completely different from the static evasion ability of the source, so these don't feel any more related to each other than any two other creatures of the same subtype.

      I do like the idea of a kraken that lures pirates to their watery grave, and making more dual-tribal cards in Ixalan, but I feel like the merfolk of Ixalan are too at peace with nature and the water to be hunted by its denizens.

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    2. I'd even consider "Target non-merfolk creature must attack this turn if able."

      Delete
  10. My random: Pharika's Chosen.

    OK, technically not part of a cycle. Also a french vanilla function reprint (of Typhoid Rats) but we'll make it work.

    Laying out the Journey into Nyx Gods and colors, it looks like we'd want...

    - Athreos's Chosen in white
    - Iroas's Chosen in red
    - Keranos's Chosen in blue
    - Kruphix's Chosen in green

    At this point I noticed that the challenge says to only design one card, but that wouldn't be very interesting, would it?

    Athreos's Chosen W
    Creature- Zombie
    1/1
    Lifelink

    Iroas's Chosen R
    Creature- Human Soldier
    1/1
    First strike

    Keranos's Chosen U
    Creature- Elemental
    1/1
    Flying

    Kruphix's Chosen G
    Creature- Insect
    1/1
    Hexproof

    The hardest thing about these designs was choosing the creature types. The abilities shook out very naturally.

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    1. Another Boggle? Broken!

      I'm so confused as to the decision to make some creatures enchantments and not others. I thought it was those creatures "of the gods" that were Enchantment Creatures, but apparently bring Chosen didn't make the cut.

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    2. The rule for enchantment creatures in Theros block was that there had to be a reason for the enchantment part. In practice that meant enchantment creatures had to have (a) the God pattern, (b) Bestow, (c) Constellation, or (d) an ability that could have gone on a noncreature enchantment (e.g. the Archetypes).

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    3. Story-wise, I believe enchantment creatures were born of the gods, whereas Pharika's Chosen was born normally but got her favor anyhow.

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