Monday, March 5, 2018

Jeremy Geist'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

Pick Your Poison (rare)
Choose any number of modes that add to exactly <4> You may choose the same mode more than once.
<1> Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.
<2> Create a 1/1 black Snake creature token with deathtouch.
<4> All creatures get -2/-2 until end of turn.

Design 2

Bewitch (rare)
Enchantment — Aura
Enchant creature
You control enchanted creature.
Enchanted creature gets -2/-2.

Design 3

Mama Bear (common)
Creature — Bear
Mama Bear enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it if you control a creature with power 1 or less.

Design 4

Pam, Shapeshifting Planeswalker (mythic rare)
Legendary Planeswalker — Pam
+1: You may choose a creature or non-Pam planeswalker on the battlefield. If you do, Pam becomes a copy of that creature or planeswalker and gains indestructible until end of turn. If Pam becomes a copy of a planeswalker, she may activate a loyalty ability once this turn as though none of her loyalty abilities have been activated this turn.
-2: Create a 3/3 green Ooze creature token.
-6: For each player, search his or her library for a creature or planeswalker card and put it onto the battlefield under your control. Then each player shuffles his or her library.

Design 5

Sign In Someone Else's Blood (common)
Sign In Someone Else's Blood deals 3 damage to target creature you control.
Draw two cards.

Design 6

Whimsical Djinn (mythic rare)
Creature — Djinn
At the beginning of your upkeep, choose one at random that hasn't been chosen. If you can't, return Whimsical Djinn to its owner's hand.
– Whimsical Djinn deals 4 damage to each of up to two target creatures and/or planeswalkers.
– Whimsical Djinn gains double strike until end of turn.
– Draw three cards.

Design 7

Mix (uncommon)
Attach target Aura enchanting a permanent to another permanent it could legally enchant.
Attach target Equipment to target creature.

Design 8

Sorin, The Prequel (mythic rare)
Legendary Planeswalker — Sorin
+2: Each opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.
-3: Exile target nonland permanent an opponent controls until Sorin, The Prequel leaves the battlefield.
-10: Create a legendary 8/8 white Angel creature token named Avacyn, Angel of Hope with flying, vigilance, indestructible, and other permanents you control have indestructible.

Design 9

Remember Your Charlemagne (uncommon)
Target artifact or non-Aura enchantment you control becomes a 5/5 creature in addition to its other types until end of turn.

Design 10

No Humans Allowed (uncommon)
Creatures you control get +1/+0 and have trample as long as you control no Humans.


  1. One thing I wanted to mention that's pretty missable: Whimsical Djinn has three modes partially because it lets you use a d6 to determine it no matter what.

    Also, every time I see Mix//Match I get embarrassed. I totally panicked when I had to come up with a RW sorcery with 12 hours to go. In retrospect, I should have used that slot for the structure of Pick Your Poison, which is color-neutral, and done something else in BG.

  2. Congrats Jeremy! Well deserved!


    Pick your Poison- I like the "points modal" idea. I disagree with the choice of effects in this case because (a) there's a mode that consumes all the points and (b) there are two modes that directly conflict, both of which go detract from the "mix-and-match" appeal.

    Bewitch- Not totally new (see Biting Tether) but very clean, flavorful, interesting, and fun. A definite hit in my book.

    Mama Bear- Neat condition, reasonable costing, very printable. I find that I don't have much to say, which is probably a good sign.

    Pam, Shapeshifting Planeswalker- Holy wall of text, Batman! Did you try rendering that? The +1 would be much better without the planeswalker-copying gymnastics. And the -2 could create a token copy of a creature or planeswalker that gets exiled at end of turn (or beginning of your next upkeep?) instead of the unflavorful Ooze effect. Also, I think this would make more sense in mono-blue or UB. But implementation issues aside, the concept is a lot of fun.

    Sign in Someone Else's Blood- Another solid, interesting, fun one that I don't have much to say about. A strict upgrade over Altar's Reap, but for BR that's fine. I very much approve of the playtest name.

    Whimsical Djinn- The random-choose-one idea is plenty interesting and fun on its own. I don't see what value the "that-hasn't-been-chosen" clause is adding, and I'm guessing the text box here is eight lines if not more. Removing the "hasn't been chosen" and "if you can't", and dialing back the power level on the first and third effects, seems like the way to go here.

    Mix//Match- You mentioned you weren't a fan of this one, and I can see why. It's very narrow even as a split card, and the color pie alignment is eyebrow-raising. Also, it isn't really innovating anything-- this is essentially just split Enchantment Alteration / Magnetic Theft. Good find on the name, though.

    Sorin, The Prequel- Have you seen R Stech's Kaya design? It has identical text for the first two abilities! I like your costing choices better, but Kaya's ultimate is more exciting. Your Sorin's ultimate is also very cool, in a different way, but it's missing a pair of quotation marks. Excellent job making the flavor match the backstory.

    Remember Your Charlemagne- 5/5 seems excessive. I'd say 4/4 to make the decision interesting. Deciding what restrictions to impose is hard-- I might consider "non-creature" in addition to what you have. Also, it doesn't grant flying? How could you?!

    No Humans Allowed- Finally, a #10 that I don't like! Other people were putting some of their best stuff down there. My impression is that the design is too strong for Standard-- it's very pushed compared to, say, Gruul War Chant, and the restriction is basically trinket text in Constructed. On the other hand, I could see this being frustraing and feel-bad in Limited. But the idea itself is neat. Maybe increase the cost by 1 and make it so that only half the effect depends on having no Humans?

    1. Trying the same scoring system as zefferal, I get:
      Pick Your Poison - 1
      Bewitch - 2
      Mama Bear - 1
      Pam - 0
      Sign - 2
      Whimsical Djinn - 1
      Mix // Match - 0
      Sorin, The Prequel - 2
      Remember Your Charlemagne - 1
      No Humans Allowed - 1
      for a total of 11.

  3. Pick your poison is a great concept, but i wish the point allocations were 1/1/2 rather than 1/2/4. As written, it suggests that there are way more options than there actually are, which masks simplicity as complexity. You want your cards to do the opposite.

    1. 2) Bewitch is an uncommon and possibly undercosted. For the rare version: Sorcery: Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn. Gain control of that creature.

      3) Mama bear is awesome.

      4) Pam is not especially cohesive, that first ability is complex and probably doesn't work the way you expect it to, and it's way too wordy.

    2. 5) Sign in Someone Else's Blood is kind of meh. It's very low-grade interesting to me as a Johnny, but not especially appealing to either Spike or Tammy. It reads very much like an answer to a puzzle rather than a card that should see print.

      6) I like Whimsical Djinn a lot. Maybe a mythic, but probably not.

      7) Mix is U, Match is historically W but arguably could be R. It's not a bad design other than colors though. Very niche, but that's ok for this kind of test.

    3. 8) Sorin: +2 is dull. draining 2 would have been much more splashy and not especially much more powerful. -3 is bonkers, especially if the + ability is +2, but I could see it testing well regardless.

      Ulitmate is great, although I'm not sure that the "other permanents you control have indestructible" is really necessary. I get it's tokening the actual creature, but it adds a lot of unnecessary text. The three abilities could use a little more cohesion beyond story.

    4. 9) Remember is almost perfect. I'd lose the non-aura part of it and include reminder text about what happens to attached things when they become creatures (and when they stop being creatures)

      10) No Humans is another card that clearly is designed for a test. Without humans turning it off, it's a great uncommon, but doesn't exactly make any waves for the purposes of a design test. With the no-humans element, it just suggests something about the environment its in, but it doesn't suggest anything all that interesting. Consider something more universal instead: As long as you control no creatures with power = 1, or power <= 2, etc. It could create layers loops, but its more novel and interesting.

    5. Cause there's a lot of these to go through (80 cards!), I'm giving a possible 2 points for each card.

      My grades:
      Pick Your Poison: 1
      Bewitch: 1
      Mama Bear: 2
      Pam: 0
      Sign: 0
      Whimsical: 2
      Mix//Match: 1
      Sorin: 1
      Remember: 1
      No Humans: 0

      Total Score: 9

  4. Commenting while trapped in the Austin airport for several hours waiting for a flight home. So apologies for weird typos, et cetera.

    1. Pick Your Poison. Love the concept but I agree with some other concerns about how much actual choice is in the card. To me it feels more like Abrade in that typically know when you've drawn it immediately which mode you need to choose. But I really, really like the ideas behind it.

    2. Bewitch. I like the idea of getting to steal creatures earlier in the game then we currently do, especially when there's so much removal flying around. But this actually is just another form of removal early in the game. I had thought about it increasing the power but not the toughness and thinking of it as a type of spell you'd use to steal creatures with activated abilities or passive buffs. But that could just be done in mono-blue. I do really like the idea, but I ultimately expect this is going to be used as removal.

    3. Mama Bear. Really cute. Nothing to say other than maybe a large cat would be more appropriate type for G/W. But that's a really, realllllly minor critique. Very good common.

    4. Pam. A shapeshifting planeswalker is a great concept, but this is such a complex iteration. Trying to create a planeswalker that can mimic planeswalkers seems neat but looks tough. I have no idea what the ooze creature is supposed to be and feel like it's a reference I don't grasp. I also don't understand what about a shapeshifting planeswalker would have her pulling creatures out of people's libraries. I could see her making a bunch of tokens that copy one of each opponents' creatures in play though.

    5. Sign in Someone Else's Blood. Having it deal damage instead of requiring sacrifice feels like a stretch to make this partly red. Maybe if it did damage to a random creature you control? Put some real risk into the spell.

    6. Whimsical Djinn. I love cards like this. But I feel like one of the choices should be a backfire against its controller. Even the damage is templated so that you don't have to use it if you have creatures and your opponent does not.

    7. Mix and Match. I've been finding it about as hard to design simple cards for R/W that haven't already been done as it is for G/R so I feel you. Even when I was just fiddling around with this contest after get cut, my R/W card was a disaster that didn't even work. At least yours works! I can't imagine a set that would be designed so that both sides would be useful, but there may be some sort of constructed niche in an older format.

    8. Teen Sorin. I don't think Oblivion Ring effects are a good match for Planeswalkers. He already has a target on his back being a planeswalker. Using the exile makes him very vulnerable the next turn. I think I'd prefer an enchantment spell, which is generally harder to get rid of.

    9. Remember your Charlemagne. I like. I feel weird about it's place on the color pie with white animating an artifact. This would be fun with enchantments like the Trials from Amonkhet that lose their value the turn after they're played if you don't have cartouches.

    10. No Humans Allowed. I'm not as down on this as you are, but it would need to be in the right set. I'm not sure if it actually pushes a RG player into creating a deck different than they normally would. Maybe if it's no humans OR elves.

    1. My Bewtich suggestion was to REDUCE the power not toughness. I'm having this weird mental quirk as I grow older that I sometimes accidentally use the exact opposite word that I mean. No idea why this happens.

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