Monday, March 5, 2018

Ari Nieh's Design Test Submission

(These Tests are being backdated for administrative purposes. They were not disclosed to nor published on this site prior to their publication on the mothership.)

Design 1

Steamfist Enforcer (common)
Creature — Human Rogue
If mana from an artifact source was spent to cast CARDNAME, it enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter and is an artifact in addition to its other types.

Design 2

The Raven Lord (mythic rare)
Legendary Creature — God
When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, create two 1/1 white Bird tokens with flying.
Flying creatures you control have 1, T: Draw a card.
As long as you've drawn two or more cards this turn, CARDNAME has indestructible.

Design 3

Rahmi, Master Engineer
(mythic rare)
Planeswalker — Rahmi
Whenever an artifact is put into your graveyard from the battlefield, put a loyalty counter on CARDNAME.
0: Create a 1/1 colorless Servo artifact creature token.
-2: Add RRR to your mana pool.
-8: Create a 10/10 colorless Golem artifact creature token with trample and indestructible.

Design 4

Mugai Creation Saga (mythic rare)
Do both of these, in either order -
* Draw a card for each creature you control.
* Create a 2/2 green Bear creature token for each card in your hand.

Design 5

Nyxian Ascension (rare)
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control five or more enchanted creatures, you win the game.

Design 6

Gwyn, Harvest Celebrant (mythic rare)
Planeswalker — Gwyn
+1: You may sacrifice a creature. If you do, return a creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
-2: Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Another target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.
-7: You get an emblem with Whenever a creature dies, each opponent loses 3 life and you may draw a card.

Design 7

Taiga Eruption (uncommon)
Create a 3/3 colorless Elemental Mountain Forest creature land token with haste and trample. (It has T: Add R or G to your mana pool.)

Design 8

Excommunication Rite (uncommon)
CARDNAME costs 1 less to cast for each Cleric you control.
Exile target non-Cleric creature.

Design 9

Macabre Rumors
Each opponent puts the top four cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
Whenever a creature you control dies, you may cast CARDNAME from your graveyard. If you do, exile it as it resolves.

Design 10

Obsessive Remorse (rare)
Enchantment — Aura
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature attacks each turn if able.
Whenever enchanted creature attacks, defending player gains control of it at end of combat.


  1. I really liked this collection a lot. Various thoughts.

    1. Steamfist Enforcer. I see an ability keyword concept here, no doubt intentional. There's so many different things you can do with it in the right set. I also feel like there's maybe too much value for common. I think it could be as simple as making it a 2/2 instead of a 3/2 (though that feels awful if you don't have artifact mana).

    2. The Raven Lord. I'm on a U/W flyers kick right now, so love this. (It's the only escape from the tribes in Ixalan). Raven Lord screams black though, but that's just a name thing.

    3. Rahmi. Not sure what the point of the second ability is and how it coheres with the rest of the walker. I kind of want Rahmi to have an ability that lets you sac an artifact.

    4. Provincetown Bear Party
    "Ooontz! Oooontz! Oooontz! Ooontz!"
    Even though they're not merfolk, this goes so well with the current G/U merfolk deck.

    5. Nyxian Ascension. I like it but worry about it being hybrid-colored. I'm thinking of it ending up in a U/W deck with no green at all but lots of control and protection. Not sure if that's actually a problem. But it feels weird to have an alt win card that has that sort of flexibility.

    6. Gwyn. Useful all-around planeswalker that exemplifies BG but doesn't force a particular deck archetype to be good.

    7. Taiga Eruption. "This card has everything!" This is one of those cards I can imagine Stefon reading out loud on SNL. I think that's a compliment?

    Excommunication Rite. I'm pretty sure clerics can be excommunicated! Kidding aside I'm not sure if this is more interesting in a tribal-themed set with lots of clerics or it's more interesting in a set that only has a couple.

    Macabre Rumors. This feels like a struggle to make it feel partly black instead of a mono-blue mill card with flashback.

    10. Obsessive Remorse. I like the idea of the card for multiplayer games. But I think it also needs to give the creature a power buff or something to raise the stakes, especially at rare.

  2. 1. Steamfist Enforcer - Decent amount of text for a common. I'd question whether the extra text and potential memory issues are worth it becoming an artifact.

    2. Raven Lord - Cool card & quite powerful. I think Ravens are definitely black as well, but no big deal. Not sure there's much to say, but maybe not #2 design here.

    3. Rahmi - I don't get why this card is white and I don't think the -2 ability fits the card or the engineer trope.

    4. Mugai - I like it. There might be a better way to word it, but I'm not positive. Sadly not great when you're behind if you don't have much hand or board, but that's not a design flaw.

    5. Nyxian Ascension - Yeah, sure. Triggers on upkeep and can be interacted with, so you didn't fall into alternate win-con pitfalls.

    6. Gwyn - Fine design, but probably pretty weak. I like the BG minus ability in a vacuum, but feel like it doesn't mesh well with the plus ability or the feel of the PW overall.

    7. Taiga - Cool. I'd probably place it higher.

    8. Excommunication Right - Probably better as an instant. I like the hint of an overall set theme from the text of the card, and how you tied it in flavorfully with the card name. Feels like a very good use of the little space given for the trial.

    9. Macabre Rumors - Seems excessively tame. I like the mechanic, though. Reminds me of Recover but without the feel-bads or repetitive gameplay.

    10. Obsessive Remorse - Really doesn't feel Rare to me, but it's not a terrible design. I don't get how the name ties into the effect.

  3. 1 Great!
    2 I'd focus on the cool bird lord aspect rather than the top down Odin aspect. The Indestructible is cool, but it has a lot of shields down moments, especially when the card is first played.
    Rookery Master 3UW
    Creature Human Shaman R
    ETB Create two UW flying bird tokens.
    1, tap an untapped creature with flying you control: draw a card.

    4. I'd echo the others on Rami.

    1. 4 I love this card's abilities! Templating is awesome, very Tommi (Timmy/Jenny). I wish this cost less than 9, particularly because it's such a neat design I'd want it to see play.

      5 Neat build around! Definitely read this as "enchantment creatures" first time through.

      6. Gwynn probably doesn't need to sacrifice a creature with the plus ability. It helps capture the life cycle thing, but it's a huge drag on playability. If the formula for a typical walker is draw/protect/ultimate, That's a pretty big drawback to have the draw ability be CA neutral.

    2. 7 That's one hungry Tiaga! I like how the landness justifies this being a token rather than being a creature. I wonder if it needs Trample, beyond the thematic eruption reasoning. I'd say the same about the instant speed, but I understand the challenge doesn't allow flexibility

      8. Nice Orzhov removal. I like affinity for clerics! Could this be common?

      9. I like the rumors! Another good justification of instant speed, and I like Morbid flashback for the most part. Plays well with Jay's UB card.


    3. 10. Love the constant cycle of shame. Not sure about it being rare or it being blue. Feels pretty mono-red

    4. My riff on Rahmi

      Rahmi, Master Engineer (mythic rare)
      Planeswalker — Rahmi
      Whenever an artifact is put into your graveyard from the battlefield, put a loyalty counter on CARDNAME.
      +1: Put a +1/+1 counter on each artifact creature you control.
      -X: Create X 1/1 colorless Servo artifact creature tokens.
      -8: Create a 10/10 colorless Golem artifact creature token with trample and indestructible.

    5. My riff on Gwen

      Gwyn, Harvest Celebrant (mythic rare) 3BG
      Planeswalker — Gwyn
      +1: Target creature gets -X/-X until your next turn, where X is the number of loyalty counters on Gwyn
      -1: Exile any number of cards from your hand, then return that many cards from your graveyard to your hand.
      -7: You get an emblem with "Whenever a creature dies, each opponent loses 3 life and you may draw a card."

  4. 1. Steamfist Enforcer (common) -
    Nice and clean common that shows a design space around the colors commonly used.

    2. The Raven Lord (mythic rare) -
    I like the overall design of this, being an army in a can, having an overarching theme. But I do echo that the character in the story and the idea of ravens seem a bit more black than white.

    3. Rahmi, Master Engineer (mythic rare) -
    I agree that this doesn't seem very white. The artifacts dying kinda gives an idea to that, but it is a bit rough.

    4. Mugai Creation Saga (mythic rare) -
    Great green mythic sorcery. Fits on theme and gives options, which is nice.

    5. Nyxian Ascension (rare) -
    It is a cool buildaround, but I would possibly make it enchanted permanents, as that opens up some options and makes it potentially a playable buildaround.

    6. Gwyn, Harvest Celebrant (mythic rare) -
    I think there needs to be some sort of cost for the rebuying of cards, otherwise it is a heavy protection repeatedly. I don't know if sacrifice is the right cost though, maybe make a creature token that can sacrifice to rebuy so it has that cost, and does cost something to protect itself. Then it also interacts with the ultimate nicely.

    7. Taiga Eruption (uncommon)
    Not sure how I feel. I think a flash 3/3 elf with haste and trample is quite a bit. Might be a bit close to pushing the mana/rarity boundary.

    8. Excommunication Rite (uncommon)
    Could be an instant I think, but that is my only complaint. With the restrictions I understand that not quite working, but I think it fits in great with the theme, although you can excommunicate clerics and their churches.

    9. Macabre Rumors (common)
    I think this is a great card, simple, and has good effects and fits at common in a set with mechanics like this.

    10. Obsessive Remorse (rare)
    I do like this version of Mind Control. Doesn't totally steal it, but it makes the creature act for both sides. The cycling of remorse is nice, and the mind-control part is what is blue. Might want flash potentially but that could be asking for too much.

  5. First of all, huge official congrats to Ari/HavelockV! Notwithstanding anything I'm about to say, this is an awesome submission and you 100% deserve your top 8.

    Steamfist Enforcer- Neat artifacts-matter mechanism. Needs to be in the right environment to see print at all, and in that environment I buy it as a common. Hybrid design with menace checks out. At first I thought 4/3 menace for 4 was too good, but Emberhorn Minotaur and Thraben Foulbloods are comparable. All in all, very solid and a good choice for the #1 slot.

    The Raven Lord- Top-down Odin is a very good call (I was thinking of doing it too) and the mechanical choices work well, though personally I would have gone for scry over card draw. Given the other God designs so far, conditional indestructible that typically isn't active until you untap seems kind of disappointing. But otherwise there's lots of good incremental innovation here.

    Rahmi, Master Engineer- Gaining loyalty through triggers is a neat innovation, and designing the 0 ability to fuel it easily is a smart call. Not sold on the rest of the card-- the last two abilities don't feel like they're adding much to the design. I also wonder if a slightly less narrow trigger might have been a better choice-- e.g. gain loyalty on creature ETB and dig for a creature card with the 0.

    Mugai Creation Saga- So if you have X cards in hand and Y creatures, you can either get X bears and X+Y cards, or Y cards and X+Y bears. This is split Tomoya the Revealer / Saproling Symbiosis for 2/2s and then some. Good thing it costs 9 mana. The way this is achieved with the templating is very cute, but I'm not convinced it's worth the effort.

    Nyxian Ascension- Most "you win the game" cards have a harder-to-satisfy condition and do something to incrementally get you toward that condition (e.g. Mechanized Production, Revel in Riches). I would have liked to see this card designed along those lines. Otherwise I really like the wincon.

    Gwyn, Harvest Celebrant- So the main innovation here is the "you may" additional cost? I had a 'walker like that in my submission too, so I approve. The -2 requiring that you have two creatures to target seems like a mistake, even if it's an intended mechanical feature. Not getting much clear flavor from this one.

    Taiga Eruption- I'm really digging this one-- a neat combination of ramp and creature spell. It does beg the question "why isn't this a creature with flash, haste, trample, and T: add R or G?", but it's a question I'm sure Johnny/Jenny will be eager to answer. I get the impression that this was originally designed as a sorcery.

    Excommunication Rite- The "non-Cleric" clause delights both my inner Melvin and my inner Vorthos. Same with the tribal reward-- it's both mechanically innovative and uber-flavorful. I wish this one was higher on the list.

    Macabre Rumors- I like the mechanical idea-- seems keyword-worthy. (Though I'm not clear on whether it still requires mana when cast from graveyard?) I wish we could have seen a better example of it than "worse Glimpse the Unthinkable".

    Obsessive Remose- Another design that I wish were higher on the list. It has cool flavor, looks fun to play, and puts a clever twist on existing mechanical functionality. (Check out that smart "end of combat" wording!) Feels a tad more mono-red than blue-red, though.

    1. Using the same scoring system as zefferal, I get:
      Steamfirst Enforcer - 2
      The Raven Lord - 2
      Rahmi - 0
      Mugai Creation Saga - 1
      Nyxian Ascension - 1
      Gwyn - 1
      Taiga Eruption - 2
      Excommunication Rite - 2
      Macabre Rumors - 1
      Obsessive Remorse - 1
      for a total of 13.

  6. I'm doing my own mini-reviews of the design tests. I'm awarding a potential 2 points for each card, and will figure out what that all means when I get further along.

    1) Steamfist Enforcer: Strong opening. We have snow mana, why not artifact? Opens up the possibility for a lot of new design space. Might be strong, but solid design.

    2 points.

    2) Raven Lord: Fantastic. There's a lot going on on this card, but its cohesive. My biggest gripe is giving flying creatures the draw ability overall instead of the Ravens specifically. It didn't need to be a flying lord on top of all the other things its doing.

    1 point.

    3) Rahmi, Master Engineer: Four tests into my review, and three of them have had triggered PW abilities. This has triggered ability and four abilities. Too much. There's no reason the mana generation ability has to be there. It adds nothing to the design. Rahmi doesn't do much on its own, and Planeswalkers shouldn't rely on other cards (artifacts and sac outlets in this case) to do what they want to do. Think of how poorly Sarkhan the Mad was received.

    0 points.

    1. 4) Mugai Creation Saga: Holy cow my mind just melted. I love this card so much. I'm not sure how much more space you can mine out of "in either order" but I'm eager to find out.

      2 points.

      5) Nyxian Ascension: Alt win conditions are great. The difficulty of pulling this off does not read in the card. Recent win-con cards like this have all done something to further their own agenda, rather than just sitting there, and I wish this had taken some synergistic path of getting you to 5 creatures + 5 auras, but otherwise very cool.

      1 point.

    2. 6) Gwyn, Harvest Celebrant. No glaring red flags in the planeswalker. The theme of balance is strong, and I wish it carried through to the ultimate, having them discard on a creature death rather than lose 3.

      1 point.

      7) Taiga Eruption: I'm a sucker for cards that make rules managers question their life choices. My big concern here is that this might be a rare, not an uncommon. I'm not 100% convinced though.

      2 points.

      8) Excommunication Rite: Is tribal cleric still a thing people want to do? No accounting for some people's taste, I guess. This one's a common though.

      1 point

    3. 9) Macabre Rumors: clean, interesting, and inspires further designs. Looks solid.

      2 points.

      10) Obsessive Remorse: That's a thing of beauty. Are Fickle Efreet and Karona, False God the closest we have to this already? If so, that's a shame.

      2 points.

      Total points: 14