Monday, March 5, 2018

Jay Treat'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

Recall with Purpose (uncommon)
Return target creature card and up to one target aura card from your graveyard to the battlefield.

Design 2

Echidna's Two-Headed Pup (uncommon)
Creature — Chimera
Menace, Vigilance
CARDNAME can block an additional creature each combat.
One head loves being petted and the other hates it. Good luck.

Design 3

Third Degree (common)
CARDNAME deals 2 damage to target creature and its controller. Gain 2 life.

Design 4

Cosmic Revelation (uncommon)
Draw a card.
Until end of turn, target creature has base power and toughness each equal to the number of cards in your hand.

Design 5

Lure of Treason (rare)
Gain control of target creature until end of turn. Untap that creature. It gains haste until end of turn. All creatures able to block it this turn do so.

Design 6

Illusive Vagabond (common)
Creature — Rogue Illusion
Whenever CARDNAME deals combat damage to a player, sacrifice it. That player discards a card and you draw a card.

Design 7

Bucket List (rare)
Whenever you cast a spell of a type showing on CARDNAME, put a counter over that type and draw a card. If all five types on CARDNAME have counters over them, sacrifice it and draw one more card.
[ ] artifact [ ] creature [ ] enchantment [ ] instant [ ] sorcery

Design 8

Jori, Archaeologist (mythic rare)
Legendary Planeswalker — Jori
+2: Put the top 2 cards of your library into your graveyard. Gain 2 life.
-2: Return target permanent card from your graveyard to your hand.
-7: Until end of turn, you may play cards from your graveyard. If a card would be put into your graveyard from anywhere this turn, exile that card instead.

Design 9

Fiona, Peaceseeker (mythic rare)
Legendary Planeswalker – Fiona
+2: Each player may tap an untapped creature he or she controls. Each player that does draws a card.
0: Gain 1 life for each card in your hand.
-12: Gain an emblem with You have no maximum hand size, then draw cards until your hand size equals your life total.

Design 10

Bought the Farm (uncommon)
Enchantment — Aura
Enchant land you control
When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, exile target creature an opponent controls until CARDNAME leaves the battlefield.
Enchanted land has T: Add GW to your mana pool.


  1. For criticisms on this...
    1. Recall with Purpose -
    A good design that feels like it can fit in a lot of places, but... it feels like it will end up with a lot of 'Gotcha' moments because you can't put the aura on the creature you reanimate. (See Replenish and Enchantment creatures). It might cause a lot of problems at first or need an explanation.

    Probably my favorite card here. Great flavor, love adding the text, in color. Only worry is if it is a bit too much for an uncommon, might move to rare in a real set.

    3.Third Degree -
    From a flavor standpoint, why does this heal? I see you trying to show a bad burn that hurts many people, but how does this cause life gain? Also why is there no 'you gain life' and just 'gain life'?

    4. Cosmic Revelation -
    A very solid card. Diminish at times, and a massive pump spell at others. Very on color and potentially in theme.

    5. Lure of Treason-
    Not super flashy but is super powerful. Can be a board wipe as a card. Might be a bit too cheap (to combine Lure and Threaten) but that would be for play design.

    6. Illusive Vagabond -
    On color, on theme, on size, on effect. It ticks off everything that a UB creature wants to be, but is it a common? I lean a little on the side of yes, but it is starting to toe that line in my opinion.

    7. Bucket List -
    Now I love this card in theory, but I think it is too close to an Un-card. It is a dangerous move and I would be cautious with adding too much to a card.

    8. Jori -
    On theme, relevant, but I feel like the -2 should be a -3, as that is a 3 mana reanimate. That is good enough and doesn't need to leave behind a walker. The ultimate also could drop a point in my opinion as it is a Yawgmoth's will, which while powerful, doesn't just end games. Other 3 mana walkers do that (See both 3 mana Lilis)

    9. Fiona -
    I feel like she needs something more. She is real and has powerful effects, but she just seems to be missing some sort of effect to tie the plus in more. Sure it is drawing cards, but to remove your own blocker and let the opponent draw a card you should get something more back.

    10. Bought the Farm -
    Too much raw power in my opinion. To ramp and remove at the same time, this does a ton. It is hit by LD but that is slowly moved out and doesn't matter as much unless on a Non-basic.

    Overall I like where the colors are sitting and most cards seem to make cohesive sense, but there are a few phrasing and power-level based issues I see floating around to be cautious of.

    1. Yes, I think the templating could be improved on one. Either have the Aura return attached to the returned creature, or use "Then" to specify the timing.

      I like TDB. The life gain off the black helps justify the multicolor. I might have written out "Deal 2 to a creature. Its controller loses two life. Gain two life". It does bother me that Third degree burn only deals two damage, but three damage is too much for a common.

      Fiona seems weak. The ultimate is great, but I wish the 0 ability was a +1 ability and gave you a Spellbook Emblem. The draw ability is just asking a lot for very little gain.

      Bought the farm combines two three cost abilities O-Ring and Gift of Paradise. I'd say that costs at least 4, probably 5?

  2. Recall with Purpose - It's a good idea, but I think you need to separate it into two sentences for it to work the way you want. As written, you cannot attach the aura to the creature you return, which is clearly intended from the name.

    Chimera Pup - Classic chinese menu card, with an ability combo not yet seen. Solid.

    Third Degree - The only black part of this card is the gain 2 life part, which doesn't feel very black. I get that black also does damage to creatures and players, but that's very clearly what red's contributing to this card, which leaves black feeling like trinket text instead of strongly contributing. Not a huge problem though.

    Cosmic Insight - This has potential usability issues; some players will think the creature becomes a Maro. It does't, and it's clear you realize this since you draw the card first. Nevertheless I think the formatting could make this more clear, although honestly that's a problem for developers.

    Lure of Treason - Solid effect, clear limited-centric rare, although it will see play in casual tables too. I'd honestly put this card higher in your list. It doesn't cause problems, and has some lenticular complexity depending on the format it's in. Nice work.

    Illusive Vagabond - Cute pun. Attacking with this has the potential to feel bad though, since sometimes I just want the 2/3 body. I'd make it a may trigger. I like the design space this explores, it reminds me of a few cards from new phyrexia (blue and black mostly, I believe. How appropriate).

    Bucket List - This is really close to being an Un card, especially if it's the only card implementing this effect (and I wouldn't want to implement this on multiple cards, it's very bookkeepy). As a rule, cards don't care about the location of the counters on them (in black border land). I'm not sure what you can do with the formatting to fix this, maybe something like Ascend? Record: If you have a Record card out, note spell types as you cast them. Your Records are full when you hit five. Then bucket list could be something like:

    Bucket List (Rare)
    Whenever you add a type to your records, draw a card.
    At the beginning of your upkeep, if your records are full, draw a card.

    Not the same, but it's expandable to a mechanic in a way that doesn't give me headaches.

    Jori - Solid. I might restrict the ultimate to permanent cards as well? I get that it's yawgmoth's will. Is it more important to keep on theme or to reference a broken card? (Honest question, I'm not sure)

    Fiona - Rules issues. As written, if you have a higher life total than combined cards in hand and library, they lose. Maybe just let them draw cards until they decide to stop? That seems fun if a little time intensive. Draw any amount of cards? Choose the number and draw that many. Something.

    Bought the Farm - It's more or less utopia vow color-shifted to make sense, but it's more powerful since you get the mana instead. Can we put it on that player's land instead? that feels like a fairer trade-off.
    Bought the Farm (Uncommon)
    Enchantment - Aura
    Enchant land
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, choose target creature with the same controller as enchanted land. Exile that creature until CARDNAME leaves the battlefield.
    Whenever enchanted land is tapped for mana, its controller adds one mana of any color.

    Overall I think these are solid submissions. I would have ranked them differently, but I think they do a good job of showing your understanding of the color pie, types, and rarity, as well as basic design principles. Go get em!

    1. I realized that in my bucket list comments I made up a keyword, which you can't do in this challenge. This might be an effect that just can't be reasonably accomplished without one, in which case a different card might have been better suited for the challenge.

    2. You kind of can, without a keyword, but it gets pretty wordy and complicated. I fiddled with some wording there, and came up with something like this, but again, it kind of speaks for itself for making your eyes cross:

      T can only be instant, sorcery, enchantment, creature, and/or artifact.
      Whenever you cast a T spell, if Bucket List doesn’t have a T counter on it, where T is one type of the casted spell, put one on Bucket List and draw a card. If you have five different counters on Bucket List, sacrifice it and draw a card.

      In other words, you can probably try introducing other types of variables other than X for numbers, to get this to work in the more evergreen space. However, it'd be very hard to restrict it to specific types while remaining in word count, to say nothing of uniquely tracking the counters themselves.

    3. Did you just introduce generic parameters to a magic card?

    4. Only for the sole purpose of stating an idea on how to pull back on Bucket List tiptoeing over the silver line. :D

    5. Yeah I was surprised Bucket List wasn't killed due to be being very close to silver bordered. Truthfully does it really work in black bordered.

  3. 1. Recall with Purpose. Others have pointed out the timing issues of trying to do both in one spell. What if the second part let you attach an aura from your hand on it for free or even move an aura you control onto it?

    2. Puppy. I like it a lot, but think it might be rare. And possibly undercosted. But I know that's a playtesting thing.

    3. Third Degree. Agree that the life gain feels weird. The name of the spells makes me think of -1/-1 counters to suggest harm that lasts beyond the spell's duration.

    4. Cosmic Revelation. Love it! Love how it is a turn-only trick so you're able to get this ability into a lower rarity. And of course what you can do with it is remarkably versatile. Though ... that does mean that you've got a G/U card that could be removal, especially in late game.

    5. Lure of Treason. Making it a potential game-ender is a good way to get players to want to play threaten spells.

    6. Illusive Vagabond. I feel like this wants to be a "may" on the sacrifice, but that probably pushes it out of common. I can't really explain why, but I think this will end up proving to be disappointing in playtesting. Like it's either too hard to get it off, and when you do, your opponent discards a land and you just lost a creature capable of dealing two damage a turn.

    7. Bucket List. I was thinking "This could be a fun un-card," and then saw I wasn't alone. A checklist design is an intriguing possibility. But I think maybe the first one you make needs to be a little simpler and maybe have a better payoff for completion.

    8. Jori. Just like Ari crafted, this is a nice, utilitarian BG planeswalker that can work in its colors without needing any particular deck archetype.

    9. Fiona. I'm concerned about the life gain for no cost and what she could mean for a U/W control deck with all this card draw as well. I think she could lead to dreadful game stalls that make players tear their hair out. Unless she ends up milling her owner.

    10. Bought the Farm. Agree with others that this is way powerful. Maybe like Baffling End you can limit it to small creatures? Don't want Eldrazi tending your farms.

  4. I just have a small complain on Jori. Its first ability should probably be "Put up to 2 cards from the top of your library into your graveyard [...]", juuuuust in case.

  5. First of all, huge official congrats to Jay! Notwithstanding anything I'm going to write below, this is an awesome submission and your top 8 is 100% deserved.

    Recall with Purpose- My first reaction was "OK, so what?" Not a bad design-- it makes sense color-pie-wise and lines that up with some smart mechanical synergy-- but I don't see what's so "Design #1" about it. Also, I wonder if it should be "up to one creature card" as well, for parallelism and flexibility. But I guess there's some top-down flavor that would get lost that way?

    Echidna's Two-Headed Pup- So, it's Two-Headed Dragon with vigilance instead of flying and firebreathing? I mean, sure, and it's nice that the white helps justify the "block an additional creature" ability. But two cards in, I'm a little worried that I haven't seen anything that looks much like innovation.

    Third Degree- If this just damage to the creature only or controller only, it would belong in mono-black or RW. But if it deals damage to both, and only gains you 2... wow, that's funky. In a great way. And I totally buy it in BR. The design is still using very stock mechanical ideas, but it shows deep and innovative thinking about the color pie.

    Cosmic Revelation- Was the playtest name for this "Turn to Maro?" It tickles me that you can shrink an enemy creature by revealing the mysteries of the cosmos to them, and honestly that's probably the most common use. With that in mind, the cantrip turns out to be very smart-- otherwise this would be an unconditional kill spell in UG.

    Lure of Treason- Straight-up stapler design, even down to the name. 5 cards in, I've seen 5 very printable designs, but approximately 0 novel mechanical ideas. For complexity this would be uncommon, but I can see how rare is necessary because of how absurdly swingy it is-- like Seismic Stomp on top of Alpha Brawl.

    Illusive Vagabond- Sure, why not? Good resonance certainly. A little complex for common, especially in how it plays. A lot of the time it's secretly just Mind Ravel, which is fine, but might not be something beginning players realize easily. Compares terribly to Dimir Cutpurse, though it's likely a better design in terms of gameplay balance. Still nothing new mechanically.

    Bucket List- Finally a new mechanical idea-- and it's a doozy. This is not what people usually mean by "checklist card"! I like it a lot, especially the way it guides deckbuilding along different lines than we normally see. Not sure whether the rules changes to support the "covered with a counter" status are worth the goodness of this (probably one-off) design. Also, I was kind of expecting a bigger reward at the end-- just another card, not even an extra turn like Search the City?

    Jori, Archaeologist- Is this the same Jori? Big color identity shift if so. I like the design, though. Does for the graveayrd what Ashiok did for the exiled zone. Each ability is BG-ish on its own, which is neat but not strictly necessary. Ultimate looks very fun and appealing while still being balanced.

    Fiona, Peaceseeker- I thought this said "Peacekeeper" the first 5 times I read it. The +2 mystifies me a little; innovative, yes, but why "each player" (except for flavor)? I guess this would make Fiona an appealing planeswalker to play in Commander, which is a nice thing to have. Great choice of ultimate.

    Bought the Farm- I wish this were higher on the list! It's somewhat a "stapler" design, yes, but along an innovative axis. Reads like a lot of fun to a Melvin like me. Probably too good at 1GW since both O-ring and ramp cost at least 3 mana these days, but at 2GW it would be perfect.

    1. Heh. The original reward for completing Bucket List was precisely another turn.

      I forgot Jori En existed. New character.

    2. Using the same scoring system as zefferal, I get:
      Recall with Purpose - 1
      Two-Headed Pup - 1
      Third Degree - 2
      Cosmic Revelation - 1
      Lure of Treason - 0
      Illusive Vagabond - 1
      Bucket List - 1
      Jori - 1
      Fiona - 1
      Bought the Farm - 2
      for a total of 11.

  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) Recall with Purpose: Nice. Right on color (although I'd like to see a mono-W limiting the creature size also at some point), simple and interesting.

    2 points.

    2) Solid and elegant design, although I wish there was something a little more splashy at uncommon. Love the flavor text.

    1 point.

    3) Third Degree: Good common, but again not doing anything all that out of the box.

    1 point

    1. 4) Cosmic Revelation: Simple text, solid trick, on color, new ground. Excellent uncommon.

      2 points.

      5) Lure of Treason: Powerful combat trick, but nothing exactly ground-breaking here.

      1 point.

      6) Illusive Vagabond: That's about as much interestingness as you can ask out of a common. Elegant and unique.

      2 points.

      7) Bucket List: Before Sagas were introduced, I'd say this is exclusively silver border territory, but now I'm less convinced. It's very cool, but probably pushing just a little too much at the edges of "printable in black border"

      0 points

    2. 8) Jori, Archaeologist: Excellent PW submission up until the ultimate. Yawgmoth's Will is big and splashy, but it's far from a good win condition on a PW design. Instead of mimicking the iconic spell word for word, tweak it a little to give it more oomph.

      1 point.

      9) Fiona, Peaceseeker: Is there no existing PW that does nothing to disrupt or harm your opponent in some way? I can't think of any off the top of my head. That's an interesting concept, and a great fit for Azorius.

      2 points.

      10) Bought the Farm: Sure, I guess. It would see play, but this feels like the worst kind of gold card - just take two mono-color cards that have no synergy with one another and stick them on the same card.

      0 Points.

      Total Score: 12 points.