Friday, January 12, 2018

Weekend Design Challenge 011218—color shift

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.

Color-shift a card (into a color it's never been in). The shift must be justifiable. Bonus points if it's progress. The new card needn't be functionally identical. You can change it as much as you like, as long as the unique thing you're shifting remains.

57 comments:

  1. Solemn Dryad 3G
    Creature - Dryad U
    When Solemn Dryad enters the battlefield, search your library for a basic land and put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.
    When Solemn Dryad dies, draw a card.
    2/2.

    Solemn Simalucrum is, of course, famous. While taking it out of artifact weakens it a little, it's perfectly in-color for green as is (mana fixing and a creature-linked cantrip), and I have no doubt it would still see play. I could even see it at 2GG.

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    1. I'd expect this to be rare at this cost, but otherwise, yeah: This is a perfectly green creature. Nice one.

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  2. First that came to my mind:

    Frenzied Ransack {1}{R}
    Enchantment (U)
    {1}{R}, Discard a card: Draw a card.
    {1}{R}, Sacrifice CARDNAME: Draw a card.

    I'm really interested in other artisans' thoughts about this card. Is it now printable in red? My gut says yes, but I would love some argument against it.
    Original card is Compulsion from Torment.

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    1. Seems great. Especially considering they just gave this card to artifacts

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    2. Awesome find. Definitely belongs in red (I think the discard-first looting isn't even something blue gets access to anymore).

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    3. Seal of Cantrip isn't red because it requires patience for the future. But only the most shallow inspection would says Frenzied Ransack is that. What we have here is an engine that lets us rummage as often as we want, with the decidedly short-sighted and red option to give up that engine for one more card (when our hand is empty, or has no cards we're willing to pitch left).
      So I love this in red. It's great. Might be a touch strong in environments with any synergy, but that doesn't mean it's not red.

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  3. Cloak of Friendship 1WW
    Enchantment — Aura (R)
    Enchant creature with converted mana cost 2 or less
    You control enchanted creature.

    White gets Enchantment based temporary removal. Control Magic effects are Enchantment based temporary removal. Blue stealing should be permanent and normally done through spells, like Confiscation Coup.

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    1. I disagree-- stealing is not the same as "enchantment based temporary removal". I'm not persuaded that this makes sense as white flavor either. It's also card advantage, which is supposed to be one of white's fundamental mechanical weaknesses.

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    2. Maybe these then?

      Evangelical Angel 2WW
      Creature - Angel
      Flying
      When Evangelical Angel enters the battlefield, gain control of target creature for as long as Evangelical Angel remains on the battlefield.
      2/2

      Rehabilitatory Prison 2WW
      Enchantment
      When Rehabilitatory Prison enters the battlefield, exile target creature an opponent controls until Rehabilitatory Prison leaves the battlefield.
      Rehabilitatory Prison is a copy of the exiled creature.

      White gets "card advantage" of this type all the time in the form of fiend hunters. I think that overlap isn't particularly egregious, especially with cards like Binding Bishop being 80% there already.

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    3. Still not convinced, sorry. I agree that Binding Bishop is a step in that direction, but it seems more like 20% than 80%. Copying and/or gaining control of enemy creatures feels like "stealing" which is flavorfully and mechanically not white. Doesn't matter how temporary it is.

      That being said, I really like the idea of Rehabilitatory Prison re-flavored as a blue "imposter" creature-- once you get rid of the copy, you get your original creature back!

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    4. White has a little bit of history in creature stealing, but hasn't done it since Time Spiral (*stares*) and isn't rostered to have in the 2017 Mechanical Color Pie.

      I do think that a white Threads of Disloyalty is very close to the ideal way that white would do it, because it is both answerable and focused on low CMC creatures. But I ultimately have to conclude that white doesn't need any amount of mind control.

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  4. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest a couple of full color pie mechanic swaps. These were inspired by a theoretical question about removing a color and redistributing its mechanics.

    Lover's Requital (Common)
    2R
    Instant
    Destroy target creature that dealt damage this turn.

    (Avenging Arrow)

    The idea is that red could get white's ability to destroy things that hurt the ones they love. It fits philosophically with the relatively new focus on red as the color of emotion and freedom. The biggest problem is that this ability is relatively redundant with red's current strengths. Still, you could make an argument for replacing red cards that do an arbitrarily large amount of damage that essentially result in destroying a creature.

    Mana Musician (Common)
    R
    Creature - Human Shaman
    1/1
    R: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.


    (Orochi Leafcaller)

    R&D has clearly backed away from making rituals in red, but I think that slice of the color pie could be replaced with mana filtering. If red is philosophically supposed to be creative, you might be able to justify giving it a type of "mana firebreathing" where it takes something of one type and turns into into something of many types. The art of this card could show red mana flowing into an instrument and an entire rainbow of colors flowing out.

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    1. I like the color fixing out of red, especially with the recent push of gold in red. The destroy effect is a bit weird. It seems like that is Avenging arrow is an odd choice because it destroys the creature rather than dealing damage. I could see it dealing 7 damage or something

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    2. I love the idea that red deals damage to stuff that has dealt damage this turn. One of red's major color philosophies is vengeance. Red feels strong emotions that turn into a need for revenge. I like Wobbles suggestion, maybe a Brimstone Volley-esque effect – Deals N damage to target creature, but if that creature dealt damage this turn, it deals N+3.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. How about this:

      Lover's Requital (Common)
      R
      Instant
      Choose one:
      -Deal 1 damage to target creature.
      -Deal 3 damage to target creature that dealt damage this turn.

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    5. Lashing back at those who've hurt us is very red, philosophically, so this seems like a fine vein to explore. I like the damage-dealing Lover's Requital more than the destroying one. I'd rather it focus on its story and purpose than support a second mode that players would never run on its own.

      It bothers me that these effects punish creature that dealt damage, rather than just those that damaged you or your buddies. In practice, it doesn't matter because you wouldn't choose to target your creatures the same way you don't with Shock, but if the point of this effect is to pursue a red flavor, let's not go half-way:

      Lover's Requital (Common)
      R
      Instant
      ~ deals 3 damage to target creature that dealt damage to you or a permanent you control this turn.

      (I also want to choose just things that damaged you or just things that damaged your stuff, so that the mechanic has more focus and generates gameplay ramifications, but I'm not sure either of those is particularly justifiable in contrast with white's protective/reactive nature.)

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  5. Vizier's Redaction W
    Enchantment (Uncommon)
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, target player reveals his or her hand. You choose an artifact, enchantment, instant, or sorcery card from it. Exile that card until CARDNAME leaves the battlefield.

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    1. On second thought, replace "artifact, enchantment, instant, or sorcery" with "nonland permanent".

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    2. Maybe this is a dumb question, but can something be a "nonland permanent" if its not on the battlefield?

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    3. No worries. It wasn't totally clear, but I meant the revised ability to say "You choose a nonland permanent *card* from it". And permanent cards are totally a thing (e.g. Chaos Warp).

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    4. White gets discard of the answerable variety? There's an argument that no mechanic should be solely the realm of one color (I'm not sure it's correct, but let's say it is for now), and from that philosophy, this makes a bunch of sense to me. Nonland permanent fits white a lot better than the fist list, since white can generally handle creatures but not spells.

      Practically speaking, I'm not sure it's worth cluttering the board with this card and what it snags, since the chances of further interaction there are relatively low.

      Black has a ton of different flavors of discard, and divvying those out must surely be the way to spread discard into other colors. Should white get look-and-choose? It certainly doesn't get random-discard (red would). There's an argument for white getting owner-chooses ala Mind Rot. As white is xenophobic and paranoid, there's also an argument for white getting name-a-card-first discard. Maybe that's blue slice of discard because it's a riddle. I feel like we could do a whole post this topic...

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  6. A white shifted version of Sorcerous Spyglass on a hatebear. Also acts like a Phyrexian Revoker colorshift too.

    Spyglass Sentinel 1W
    Creature - Human Scout (Rare)
    As Spyglass Lookout enters the battlefield, look at an opponent's hand, then choose any card name.
    Activated abilities of sources with the chosen name can't be activated unless they're mana abilities.
    2/1

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    1. White doesn't get the hand peek ability but itmakes sense to make Nevermore style effects less narrow.

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    2. On one hand, getting a 2/1 on top of Sorcerous Spyglass for the same price seems dangerous, but spyglass doesn't always do something, and putting it on a creature makes it largely more answerable when it does. Assuming we want white looking at hands—and that's not the worst bleed in the world—this seems entirely reasonable. Since it's a rule-setting card, it even seems appropriate.

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  7. Trader to Enemies 1UU
    Creature Pirate
    T: draw three cards target opponent gains control of Trader to Enemies
    2/3

    From humble defector. not a particularly common ability but it fits.

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    1. Blue humble defector is okay. It makes more sense in red, where such shenanigans feel appropriate, and increasing the variance from 2 cards to 3 makes me even more skeptical, but Trader to Enemies is still justifiable at rare.

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  8. Hoarded Power
    1BB
    Enchantment - Mythic Rare
    Black mana doesn’t empty from your mana pool as steps and phases end.
    At the beginning of your upkeep, if there is mana in your mana pool, lose 1 life.

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    1. I like this card. However it feels less like "ok this makes sense in black" and more " yeah black can do anything if it pays life or sacrifices creatures"

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    2. I guess we're shifting Omnath, Locus of Mana, but replacing the body that gets bigger as your store mana with a cost for storing mana. The upside being our enchantment is harder to deal with.

      I think Hoarded Power is entirely justifiable in black. As a mythic, I think we strike the downside.

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  9. I approached this from trying to figure out where an issue was that needed solving. Green has been getting a lot more tools recently, with fight and the "souls fire" mechanic, to deal with creatures. But green still can't deal with spells without the help of hexproof. Hexproof comes with inherent issues, in that it creates non-interaction when put on creatures and can easily make an unfun game situation. That, and it's exclusively defensive when on non-creature spells.

    Green has been called the "anti-magic color" before, and I think that could extend further. Green has been seen hating instants and sorceries with protection, uncounterability, shroud, etc before. I think green could extend that hate into countering instants and sorceries. For instance, the following card:

    Roar of Refusal
    1G
    Instant (Common)
    Counter target instant or sorcery spell.

    This isn't exactly a color shift, as there's (surprisingly) no card that just counters an instant or sorcery, but it's effectively a color shift of negate/dispel (since green already has answers to other noncreatures). This is progress as it gives green another section of design space, without having to rely on the non-interactivity of hexproof. Also, it opens up space for cool and flavorful anti-magic cards in green's color pie such as:

    Absorb Magic
    2G
    Instant (Uncommon)
    Counter target instant or sorcery spell. You may put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.

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    1. I think you're tackling green's problems from a unique angle. However, countering ANY instant and sorcery doesn't feel green to me. Autumn's Veil kind of provides a precedent for giving spells "hexproof," and green's strength is supposed to come from its creatures, so what about this instead:

      Roar of Refusal (Common)
      1G
      Instant
      Counter target instant or sorcery spell that targets a creature you control.

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    2. Doesn't solve the problem of board wipe effects, which Green is particularly vulnerable to. What about this?

      Counter target instant or sorcery spell that doesn't target an opponent or a permanent an opponent controls.

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    3. Salmon, I agree that countering any instant or sorcery doesn't feel quite right. That said, green Turn Aside is basically hexproof written out differently, given they aren't casting two spells targeting your creature. I wanted a way for a green mage to do something different. Green's strength is its creatures, so I felt like green being able to protect its creatures makes sense. But just reskinning hexproof isn't worth it to make people feel like green can counter spells, but only very particular ones. So any instant or sorcery was worth it to me to push green into some new territory for the sake of interaction and interest. It would need some fleshing out to give this effect its own character, but I would be more excited exploring this territory than hexproof.

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    4. This is a very interesting discussion!

      Yeah, both of you are right that what I proposed is not really helping green's current weaknesses. I noticed that R&D has been toying with a new ability on cards like Hope of Ghirapur and Sphinx's Decree lately. What about moving those abilities into green to give it a proactive way to keep its creatures alive for at least one turn? That way you don't have to move counterspells into a new color, you keep the reference to creatures (and perhaps only put it on creatures), and green doesn't get punished for overextending.

      Roaring Brontodon (Uncommon)
      3GG
      Creature - Dinosaur
      4/4
      When Roaring Brontodon enters the battlefield, each opponent can't cast noncreature spells until your next turn.

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    5. Autumnnal Veil G
      Instant
      If target instant or sorcery spell would destroy a creature you control, that creature gains indestructible until end of turn.

      Technically the rules have space for this (via Equinox), and it's defense against singular and mass "destroy" spells, but I don't know if it's worth the rules baggage? It kind of helps green against everything other than blue.

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    6. Autumnnal Veil can just straight up grant indestructible.

      I like Roaring Brontodon a lot mechanically, but I worry that green isn't really one to tell others what they can and can't do philosophically.

      Roar of Refusal is certainly controversial. Again, in a world where we want to divy every unique mechanic between colors, I think green is a fine contender for certain sets of countermagic. One argument against spreading discard and counterspells around is that the game doesn't need more of these effects because they're not fun to play against.

      More thoughts on the subject.

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  10. I don't think this really counts, but:

    Green Knight GG
    Creature - Human Knight (Unc)
    2/2
    Protection from Black
    ~ is indestructible if it dealt damage to a creature which was dealt lethal damage this turn.

    This isn't exactly a colour shift, but when I was thinking about the knight cycle and ways of completing it outside the first strike colours, but also that "green knight" needed to work with the arthurian legend somehow, I realised that this idea sort of worked for both: the become-indestructible mirroring first strike's "can't kill me if I kill you first" timing; and the "you kill me but I don't die and I kill you" rhythm of the story where Gawain kills the green the knight and he rides away and then comes back to kill Gawain.

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    1. What the heck. This doesn't count as a submission, but I couldn't resist finished the cycle:

      Laughing Knight UU
      Creature - Human Knight (Unc)
      2/2
      Protection from Knights
      Whenever ~ blocks or is blocked by a creature with toughness 2 or less, ~ gets +0/+4.

      I don't know why laughing knight = blue in my head, I think it was a theme in some fantasy novel. But I wanted a white-knight-y creature in U, and couldn't break the W/B protection synergy

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    2. I like this destroy-to-be-indestructible ability, assuming it can be templated correctly. Feels more black than green to me, but I still think it's a groovy replacement for first strike in green.

      How do we decide which color Green Knight has protection from? Black seems fine. Should it blue if we're filling out the cycle (and the green knight has pro:green, rather than pro:knights)?

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    3. Thank you!

      "How do we decide which color Green Knight has protection from?"

      My logic was, Blood Knight having protection from white just like Black Knight played up a white/black divide amongst all the colours, so for symmetry, a green knight was more a colour shift of white knight, not just another one in the cycle. If you already have W->B B->W and R->W, I'm not sure you can make U and G anything else without making the cycle unbalanced.

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  11. Bellowing Braggart 1R
    Creature - Human Warrior
    T: Target creature an opponent controls attacks you this turn if able.
    She always knows just the right things to say.
    1/1

    In time, I think Courtly Provocateur could make it into red in both flavor and function, but it's best to start with the simpler, safer way. (A red Alluring Siren.)

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  12. Shifting: Academy Researchers
    Chosen of the Gods {1}{W}{W}
    Creature - Human Soldier (R)
    When Chosen of the Gods enters the battlefield, you may put an aura card from your hand onto the battlefield enchanting Chosen of the Gods.
    2/2

    Academy Researchers does not fit within blue's piece of the color pie. It does, however, fit in white, the enchantment color. It also, like many abilities that let you cheat on mana, should probably be kept out of common and uncommon. Turn three eldrazi conscription is nothing to sneeze at.

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    1. Interestingly, this ability is already primary in white https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/making-magic/mechanical-color-pie-2017-2017-06-05

      Academy researchers were /really/ pushed developmentally (thanks Urza block) so I could really see this design, just probably not for 3 Mana.

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  13. {1}{G} Mana Mine
    Artifact -C
    ~ enters the battlefield tapped.
    {T}: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.

    Making a Green Manalith taps into two states wotc design goals.

    1. Being less conservative with colored artifacts.
    The color pie is very important and wotc gets burned a lot in heavy artifact sets due to a lot of colorless effects (Smugglers Copter for example should have been blue)
    2. Cutting down on shuffling. Green ramp is a classic part of its pie but fetching out lands adds a lot of shuffling which slows down gameplay. Giving green mana rocks lets them acheive a very similar ramp effect.

    Power level wise this card may be a bit close to Rampant Growth which is why I see it showing up in say an EDH deck (where cutting down on shuffles hits even harder)

    You could also do it at 2G and give it a minor upside in the vein of the 2G ramp auras Green gets at common now adays, perhaps a lifegain rider or giving a creature +N/+N until eot

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    1. In a set that wants colored artifacts but not colored artifact creatures, Mana Mine seems 100% plausible. We'll never see this over a druid or land-aura in a normal set because of how closely attuned green is to land and creatures, but in that artifact set, yeah, nice.

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  14. Glorious Memory {W}
    Sorcery -Uncommon
    Return target creature card with converted mana cost 3 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield.
    Cycling {2}

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    1. Unearth!
      A truly wonderful find, and an on point shift.

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    2. Nice. I wonder if the name could get a "meet inherit the earth" reference or something.

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