Friday, March 9, 2018

Weekend Art Challenge 030918 — Tomas O. Muir

Click through to see the requirements for your extra-long design test, due Wednesday morning. Every submission warrants feedback, which you may use to revise your submission any number of times. I encourage you all to use the extra time for this test to revise your designs at least once in response to feedback. I will review the most recent submission from each designer.

Art by Tomas O. Muir

For this art, design a common card which enables an interesting or unique draft archetype.

107 comments:

  1. Strength in Discipline (common)
    WW
    Enchantment
    WW: Target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Activate this ability only as a sorcery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Going for a monocolor archetype, here? I like that it's quite functional in a two-color deck, but gets much more powerful in a monocolor white deck.

      So, this is stirring up some interesting questions for me! This is definitely red-flagged as a common, due to the 'sorcery-speed' clause, but I'm wondering whether it has too much board complexity for a common.

      So, my train of thought: Yes, you have to announce the boosts before attacks. That does help, as you don't have on-board tricks that can surprise an opponent. However, your opponent is still going to be running a lot of calculations to figure out what your attacks look like.

      If you have two creatures out, and WWWW available, that means you have a total of four options for attacks (zero, one creature, the other creature, both creatures), and for these possibilities you also have to account for the boosts! In other words, whereas without this card you have only four possibilities, now you have 12!

      This is the upper bound of complexity with two creatures, but my point is, there is still board complexity here even if it isn't instant-speed board complexity.

      So, I'd rule this is as not quite a common, but I'd certainly like to hear other people's opinions, and perhaps even have this playtested!

      What does everyone else think? Common or no?

      Delete
    2. Also, allow me to emphasize: I really like the subtlety of pushing towards monocolor while really incentivizing it. That's very clever work.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the feedback! And walking through some of the extra choices required. I was thinking it would make blocking quite difficult, but I suppose it also impacts racing math and generally does provide too large decision tree.

      The effect is also comparable to many equipment or Duskborne Skymarcher/Infantry Veteran. However, all of those only let one creature be boosted.

      A riff on the same template:
      Slow Infantry (common)
      W
      Creature - Human Soldier
      1/1
      T: Target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Activate this ability only as a sorcery.

      That doesn't fit the challenge too well though. How about this?
      Revival of Little Rings (common)
      2W
      Sorcery
      Return up to two target creature cards with converted mana cost one or less from your graveyard to the battlefield.

      Delete
    4. And scratch the 1 CMC thing - back to abilities:
      Ring Voyager (common)
      1W
      Creature - Human Scout
      WW: Gain 1 life.

      Delete
    5. The above design could get tricky late game as you can blunt one or two unblockable attackers with it. I can try to add a phrase like "activate this ability only if CARDNAME attacked or blocked this turn." But that ups the complexity.

      Super basic mono W encouragement:
      Ring Protector (common)
      WW
      Creature - Human Knight
      2/3
      Vigilance

      Delete
  2. Ruins of the Mage-Rings
    Land (C)
    Instants and Sorceries you cast cost 1 less to cast.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting design here, and another head-scratcher! Oof!

      So, we're pushing for an instant/sorcery deck in Limited here, with this land the equivalent of Goblin Electromancer. That's a common, yeah, but it has additional utility beyond this text, being a creature.

      In the average limited format, this really doesn't hit many cards in your deck. On average it's roughly a third of spells (8/23) at best. Of course, this is likely on Vryn, where that number can be bumped higher - but how much higher can we go? I'm not sure we can reach a point where this card hits 50% of the spells (11/23), but I invite you to prove me wrong with some ideas! (Token-creating instant and sorcery spells are one solution!)

      Let's assume you've solved it, and the average Limited deck in Vryn has 50% instants and sorceries among its nonland cards. Still, this card can only really help cast half your spells. In addition, it's often just adding C that can only be cast on instants and sorceries. How often are you casting two or more instants or sorceries in a single turn in Limited? In Vryn, it might be a lot more, but how much more? It seems to me a bit narrow.

      Lastly, it breaks the 'must add mana' rule that has only been broken on Eye of Ugin. Yeah, that's a rare for other reasons too, but the weirdness of that line is one of them.

      Now, I've been real negative so far, so allow me to say the big positive: This design is awesome! It's really cool, inspires some fascinating decks, and has great flavor! It's just not common, in my eyes. Once again, though, I'm really divided on that! But in the end, it just doesn't feel common to me for narrowness reasons, not power level or complexity reasons.

      Overall, just a really intriguing design, but I ultimately think it isn't common. Let's try to figure out how to move from this concept towards common!

      Delete
    2. My own idea, riffing off yours, was a Secret Base or Unclaimed Territory like card, but for instants/sorceries. That doesn't capture the same flavor that colorlessness does, though.

      Delete
    3. That's fair. I'd imagine seeing that card in a set with buyback, so you'd incentivise a deck that would play more Instants and Sorceries over the course of the game than normal. That said, buyback isn't the most likely mechanic to return and this is so narrow that it's still probably an uncommon.

      Also worth noting that the "must produce mana" is a bit of a misnomer. Lands just need a mana like ability. After all, Evolving Wilds doesn't produce mana and it's in every set.

      How about this:

      Ruins of the Mage-Rings
      Land (C)
      {T}, Put the top card of your library into your graveyard: Add {C}.

      Delete
    4. True regarding the "must produce mana" rule. However, those are a part of the exceptions of "filtering mana" and "getting access to other lands" (which provide or filter mana). A cost discount isn't sufficiently 'mana'-connected to usually count as a land. While I agree it can be a land, if it is on a land it should be on a rare was my point. :)

      That new design is very interesting. It looks bad to new players, but it will push players to think, "Okay, why does this card exist? What's it wanting me to do?" Encouraging players to realize ways they can use the cards in their graveyards as a resource. Very interesting learning moment. Ideally I'd like a reason for it to end up in player's decks so they can discover its utility through play - currently, it needs them to consider the card upon seeing it and going "wow, why?"

      A big question is: how often does that 'benefit' justify playing a land which can only produce colorless?

      Delete
    5. Can we get a set with both flashback and unearth? That would be sweet.

      Delete
    6. Let's make it a little more self-contained:

      Ruins of the Mage-Rings
      Land (C)
      {T}, Put the top card of your library into your graveyard: Add {C}.
      {T}, Exile a nonland card from your graveyard: Add one mana of any color among those of the exiled card.

      Keeps the self mill theme, but also provides some inconsistent mana fixing so it doesn't always come at the expense of casting spells.

      Delete
    7. That's looking a lot better, but is that second ability suitable for common? I think power-wise it's fine, but it might be on the upper edges of complexity. It's not too unintuitive or weird, though!

      In addition, the card's now red-flagged for going over four lines of text. That's no death sentence for a common, but it is something to keep in mind! :)

      Delete
    8. I think there are a few clever ways you could build a format that allows archetypes with well above-average spell counts. I'll throw out a couple of ideas:

      Conjurer's Wisdom (common)
      2UU - Sorcery
      Conjuration - As an additional cost to play Conjurer's Wisdom, pay X.
      Draw 2 cards. Create an X/X Homunculus token.

      Conjuration may not be worded properly, but it essentially lets you overpay for spells and get a token for each mana you over-spent. It's a powerful, flexible effect but the cards it's attached to are overpriced to offset this. Can go in any colors, really.

      Novice Grenadier (Common)
      Creature - Human Tinkerer
      1R
      2/1
      ----
      Live Grenade
      Sorcery
      Aftermath 4R: Deal 3 damage to target creature or player.

      Provides use for the spell discount while also being a goblin piker.

      Just some quick ideas.

      Delete
    9. Four lines:
      Ruins of the Mage-Rings
      Land (C)
      {T}, Put the top card of your library into your graveyard: Add {C}.
      {T}, Exile a land card from your graveyard: Add one mana of any color.

      Nothing worse than playing self mill and accidentally hitting your splashed land.

      I like Conjure, although I don't know if it would really increase the number of spells in the deck. It would just increase the cost. The aftermath creatures would increase the number of spells, although I'd suspect they'd use a template like this instead:

      Novice Grenadier 1R
      Creature Goblin
      4R, Exile ~ from your graveyard: Deal 3 damage to any target. Activate this ability whenever you could cast a sorcery.
      2/1

      Delete
    10. Right, but with that wording instead of aftermath it's not actually an instant or sorcery to synergize with the Ruins of the Mage-Rings.

      The hope with Conjure is that it allows you to play mostly spells and still have access to a way to generate creatures.

      Delete
  3. Reclaim the Rings {1G}
    Sorcery (C)
    Search your library for a Mage-Ring card and put that card onto the battlefield tapped. Then shuffle your library.

    And an example
    Mage-Ring Cataract
    Land - Mage-Ring Island
    (T: Add U.)
    Network - 4U, T: Scry 2. Activate this ability only if you control 5 or more Mage-Rings.

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    Replies
    1. 5 or more is a pretty high threshold! Especially for a Limited archetype where I have to spend picks on them.

      ..and lands in Magic are tough. I personally think non basic lands like this that produce colored mana and don't ETB tapped are good for the game but others may disagree.

      Delete
    2. I'm one of those naysayers, Zachariah. :P I'll say it: this is strictly better than a basic Island, so it has that issue.

      Moving beyond that, I also agree that 5 is quite the high threshold. I think I see what you were going for here - that if you have a high threshold, you can do more potent effects, which helps make these more exciting picks - but it also makes them really tricky to reach that threshold in a game. If you draft 8/17 lands as Mage-Rings, you don't have a high chance of achieving a Network. Even if you have a guaranteed Mage-Ring in each pack, that's still, as Zach noted, a lot of picks you're spending on lands to even reach 8/17. Consider looking to Deserts matter for inspiration; those only required themselves to work, but could use other Deserts for fuel too. Likewise, Gates in Limited only required a single Gate to work best.

      I encourage you to try to find a similar balance here. Something between the two - where it works with a single Mage-Ring, but wants lots of Mage-Rings - would be best for a land-based archetype, because of the tricky nature of picks.

      As you might have surmised, Reclaim the Rings is indeed a safe and nice design. It just really depends on what Mage-Rings are, so naturally, I focused my feedback on that. :) And of course in the design challenge review, I'll go over Mage-Rings as well as Reclaim the Rings.

      Delete
    3. I was inspired by deserts matters, the game play of ascend, a few custom card mechanics I'd seen using land as a threshold.

      In more detail, I knew land type matters as an archetype was possible because of deserts, and I lkve the gameplay of ascend (and actually I suppose like threshold itself) where a resource naturally builds up over time and once a number is reached, your cards transition to a lategame mode.

      I chose 5 because I felt 5 mana was about the threshold where you had to try to make a network and where non ramp decks would stop playing lands naturally in a draft, meaning you had to be drafting "the mage-ring deck" to pull it off, but the number may be too high. My first pass was 3.

      Not necessarily related to the critique, but I realize in hindsight maybe this is a little out of the spirit of the challenge as this card is more about the mechanic/other cards supporting it than the card for the challenge itself. I may revamp the card itself to be more like a traverse/nissas pilgrimage where it ramps early but later it has a bonus effect once the threshold is reached-- in other words, the ramp spell itself would have Network. I prefer that style of card anyway, and maybe it makes the actual challenge card a little more interesting.

      I would actually like something like the Locus cards of Mirrodin but I feel that scaling based on land number is a little too much their gimmick. Do you think this mechanic still works with a smaller Network number, where its a threshold mechanic rather than scaling? Maybe it shouldnt be keyworded at all, and go unnamed like the deserts in play or yarded mechanic in Hour. I actually prefer that if its just an archetype and not necessarily a set theme.

      You both are correct on having this be better than an Island. I'll fix that. I imagine thered be many mage ring lands with a common cycle at least for each color, though.

      Delete
    4. Reclaim the Rings {2G}
      Sorcery (C)
      Search your library for a Mage-Ring card and put that card onto the battlefield. Then shuffle your library.
      If you control three or more Mage-Rings, you gain 6 life.

      (Life gain to help you stabilize after networking and combines a life gain spell with ramp if it helps for set skeleton.)

      Mage-Ring Cataract
      Land - Mage-Ring (C)
      ~ enters the battlefield tapped.
      When ~ enters the battlefield, scry 1.
      {T}: Add {U}.
      (Basic workhorse, cycle would probably be the same except for color. Enters tapped in exchange for adding color and scry to dig for more Mage-Rings. May be too powerful considering this becomes a rare just by adding another color.)

      Sparrow River Plant
      Land - Mage-Ring (U)
      {T}: Add {C}.
      {1}, {T}: Add {U}{U}{U}. Activate this ability only if you control three or more Mage-Rings.
      (Payoff for the enabler Reclaim. I like the idea of Mage-Rings forming their own tron.)

      Delete
    5. Enzio, did you mean for the mana cost of Reclaim the Rings to be {2}{G}?

      Delete
    6. Due to what I use to mock up, mana costs in text boxes need to be seperated by their own brackets, but its easier for me and more standard to type mana costs in a single set of brackets as I don't copy the text box. In other words, yup, its 2G (as opposed to 1G before). Sorry for the confusion

      Delete
    7. Other small difference just in case is the land doesnt enter tapped anymore. The common colored cycle of mage-rings all enter tapped by default, but it'd matter on others.

      Delete
    8. This is getting ecen more out of the scope of the design challenge, but as I've been thinking, I realized it'd kind of interesting to have lands you could "link up" in a chain, like S.N.O.T. Solves the card advantage problem since lands are not typically subject to removal, and mage-rings aesthetically would work nicely with art that could be "connected". And also having a distinct art would help identify lands that are mage-rings at a glance, not huge bur functional. No idea what benefits or the goal or anything you could get by doing this though.

      Like I said, out of the purview of this challenge but something I'd been thinking about as a result.

      Delete
    9. If we're assuming all colors have mage-rings, what makes this art the blue one?

      Delete
    10. I just made the two designs based on the basic land art from Origins. I'm not sure how the lands would be organized outside of a single common cycle that is all colors, (which would be the etb tapped scry 1 tap for color, etv tapped so as not to be better than island and scry 1 as a minor upaide that works well in a deck that A) wants to play a long game, such as a ramp deck, and B) help support a "mage ring" deck whose goal is to get 3 rings out).

      I suppose I just felt mage-rings have an affinity for U because of Origins, but the one thats meant to be like a tron land could easily be colorless, if thats what you mean.

      I actually would like to see if I could find a recognizable mechanical gimmick to tie together some Mage-Rings as I feel just based on these two, perhaps they're too scattered. Deserts did a lot of stuff too I suppose but the iconic ones I think are the uncommon sacrifice cycle. Id want that sort of thing.

      Delete
    11. Jay, I think the art is intended for Reclaim, not the Mage-Rings land. :)

      Delete
    12. Oh, I thought he'd made a typo or something and was asking why I made U mage-rings. I misunderstood too. Yep, the card to match the challenge art is Reclaim the Rings. Sorry!

      Delete
  4. It's such an interesting addition to the challenge to try to make this a card for a draft archetype. The image begs to be something fairly general or utilitarian in common. (This isn't a critique of the image. It's just what it makes me think in Magic terms is about lands and utilitarian "research"-oriented mechanics like scry and card draw)

    Let's try this.

    Taj-Nar Wastes
    Land
    T: Add C.
    T: Add CC. Use this mana only to cast artifact spells or to activate artifact abilities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, that's powerful for common. Try this!

      Taj-Nar Wastes
      Land
      T: Add C.
      T: Add CC. Use this mana only activate artifact abilities.

      Much more narrow use. I visualize in a artifact-themed set (Hence the Mirrodin setting).

      Delete
    2. Hmm... attifacts with activated abilities definitely feel Mirrodin, but Im wondering, is that an expected theme? An activated abilities artifact deck? Another thing is most artifacts have activated abilities to give a color identity to them. Any thoughts for this generating colored mana in some way to enable that?

      Delete
    3. Possibly that second ability could add one mana of any color on tap to only activate artifact abilities (but probably not more than one and still feel common). Then it would feel great if you're drafting a set that has, for example, a cycle of common artifact creatures with color-activated abilities (like in Kaladesh).

      I also thought about for that second ability:

      "Tap and artifact you control, T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool." But that didn't really feel like it was pushing a draft archetype.

      Delete
    4. Well, that last idea of yours is pushing an artifact-matters archetype in a set with less artifacts. Similar to the archetype in M15 with Aeronaut Tinkerer and the like.

      Enzio has a great point. Looking it over, there are 63 common artifacts with colorless activated ability costs (remember Equipment), and 41 with colored activated ability costs.

      Without considering equipment, it ends up in favor of colored ability costs.

      Really, though, my other consideration is that producing more than one mana at common on a land is pretty dangerous. I think it's safer and more interesting with these off-color cycles as a fixer. Include a cycle of those with this and you'll get some real interesting splashes, I think!

      Delete
    5. Also, thank you for finding the challenge interesting! I figured, we have more time than normal to work on it, why not make it a little trickier than normal, get people talking more? :)

      Delete
    6. All right, I'm convinced.

      Taj-Nar Wastes
      Land
      T: Add C.
      T: Add one mana of any color. Use this mana only to cast artifact spells or activate artifact abilities.

      So I can see a player getting some really sweet artifacts to choose from early on and then looking for maybe one or two of these to splash in off-color activation costs later in the draft.

      I folded artifact casting back in for the possibility of a set with a decent number of colored artifacts at common/uncommon. (I seem to recall MaRo saying that colored artifacts are popular)

      Delete
    7. Well Alara was one of my favorite worlds but that might be the tricolored and nostalgia, since that is when I started playing.

      Delete
    8. I like the design, but It's hard to imagine Corrupted Crossroads for Artifacts at common. Uncommon maybe, but probably rare, especially if it's a painless city of brass for artifacts.

      Delete
    9. Ah, an excellent point Wobbles, and surprised that I missed it given my feedback on other lands above that lead me to Corrupted Crossroads! I will note that artifacts tend to not need colored mana so it's a little 'safer', but yeah, it's probably uncommon at the very least, unfortunately!

      As we're seeing, designing interesting lands at common is pretty darn tough!

      Delete
    10. I think the constraint of also contributing to an archetype when normally that is the role of uncommons adds to the difficulty.

      Delete
    11. What about making it a prism effect?

      Taj-Nar Wastes
      Land
      T: Add C.
      1T: Add one mana of any color. Use this mana only to cast artifact spells or activate artifact abilities.

      Delete
    12. Unfortunately, that compares unfavorably to Unknown Shores / Shimmering Grotto.

      Delete
    13. [Beats head against wall]

      Okay. If this doesn't work in common I'm gonna toss the idea out entirely and start from scratch. (I do actually have other ideas)

      Taj-Nar Wastes
      Land
      T: Add C.
      T: Add one mana of any color. Use this mana only to activate artifact abilities.

      I do have doubts that this actually facilitates a draft archetype so much as it allows a player to splash an artifact bomb if they get one.

      Delete
    14. I would also be interested in seeing some of the artifacts you are hoping to enable. What do they do that costs colored mana (or large amounts of colorless)?

      Delete
    15. Out of context, "any color" feels strange for the (usually) explicitly colorless card type. But a set that was all about colored artifacts could certainly pull it off.

      Delete
    16. I never actually thought too far long that axis yet, Zachariah. I had in mind a set with a heavy emphasis on artificing and artifact creatures with activation costs. I recall that the common creature cycle in Kaladesh and the puzzleknot cycle were pretty useful in draft formats.

      But I'm not so much sure they constituted deck archetypes so much as useful tools to add into a deck.

      My back-up plan was to make Taj-Nar Wastes a sac land that required white mana and gives artifact creatures +1/+1 until the end of the turn, and making in part of a cycle of artifact-focused sac lands, one for each color.

      Delete
  5. Parched Excavation 1W
    Sorcery (C)
    Fossilize target creature card in your graveyard. (Exile it, then create a token that's a copy of it except it gains "This creature can't attack, block, or activate abilities.")

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Artifact Alternative for set with mechanics that repair broken artifacts:

      Parched Excavation 1W
      Sorcery (C)
      Exile target noncreature artifact card in your graveyard. Create a token that's a copy of it except it becomes broken. (Broken artifacts lose all abilities)

      Delete
    2. These are interesting, but again, not too sure they are common.

      The big issue with Parched Excavation v1 is that you need creatures that you want back on the field without wanting them to do most of the things the typical creature does. This means you're looking for creatures with triggered or continuous abilities. We don't see enough of those in a Limited deck for Parched Excavation to work a lot. Let's look to Kaladesh. With its flicker subtheme, Fabricate, and Energy, it should be very promising. It has around 27 creatures at common that would 'work' with Parched Excavation v1, out of a total of 55. Not bad; around 50%. So you ideally draft towards it, and end up with hopefully like, 75% of your creatures doing something when fossilized.

      The question is, can this do enough to justify its effect and complexity? Think about it like this: if I cast Raise Dead then cast the creature, I get the effect and the body. Sure, it costs more, but you have to consider: is the 'discount' on the body worth it? How often are you going to want to spend {1}{W} for these effects? My gut feeling is that it won't be often enough to justify this card at common. At uncommon or rare, though, it's an interesting design!

      I could see Fossilize as something a card does to itself, like Embalm, for very cheap. But then you have the issue of this being a complicated token copy that would want reminders like Embalm, and once again must consider how 'worth it' it is. You could probably get a lot of mileage out of creatures like Soul Warden, Deathgreeter, etc.

      Now, Parched Excavation v2 is even more narrow. Why bring back a noncreature artifact if it has no abilities - for 1W, no less? I'm sure there's reasons, but are they reasons that justify this at common?

      I think Fossilize is onto something interesting, but it needs some work to be common. We have the complexity of Embalm here, but not the play. This is a great, intriguing, flavorful start - I can't wait to see how it's improved upon!

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the feedback. My intentions with the artifact version were perhaps there might exist cards like

      Wandering Repairman 2W
      Creature - Human Artificer
      When Wandering Repairman enters the battlefield, repair target noncreature artifact you control. (It is no longer broken)
      3/2

      As for fossilize, what I'm interpreting from your comments is that the fossil needs more utility to be common. Maybe something like this ?

      Parched Excavation 1W
      Sorcery (C)
      Fossilize target creature card in your graveyard. (Exile it, then create a token that's a copy of it except it gains "This creature can't attack or block." and "3, Sacrifice this creature: Draw a card. )

      This way, players can reuse the effects of a creature (I allowed activated abilities to widen the range of usable creatures), but then cash the fossil in when it's no longer useful, like if they just wanted to trigger an etb effect.

      Delete
    4. After thinking about it some more, I can't see a way to get the effect I'm looking for at common without making it too complicated and/or too powerful. I'm gonna hedge a little with a less ambitious design.

      Ruins Excavator 1WU
      Creature - Human (C)
      Whenever Ruins Excavator deals combat damage to a player, you may return target artifact card from your graveyard to your hand.
      2/3

      Delete
  6. Oh, I like this challenge! It's really hard to make a common engine card, since recurring effects are so often relegated to uncommon or higher. I'm thinking about something like Vineweft, Soaring Hope, or Conviction - minor effects that recur themselves, but not in a way that's gonna cause combat trickery.

    Trailblazer's Destiny
    1G
    Enchantment - Aura
    Enchant creature
    When [CARDNAME] enters the battlefield, enchanted creature explores.
    2G, exile a creature card from your graveyard: Return [CARDNAME] from your graveyard to your hand.
    "Life was harsh in the deadlands. Azor gave us a better life."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you like the challenge!

      The card looks good, and I think it's a solid common for the challenge and could be submitted as-is. But I'm gonna push you!

      Your card's red-flagged. While that's not necessarily bad, let's say the design team really wants to spend their complexity elsewhere, and asks: is it possible to make this card simpler? How could we simplify this card while preserving its concept?

      If you do design a simplified version but would prefer to submit the original, just let me know and I'll review the original.

      Delete
    2. Alright, here goes something a little bit different. Squadron Hawk effects kind of have to be common.

      Discover Power
      G
      Enchantment - Aura
      Enchant creature
      When [CARDNAME] enters the battlefield, you may search your library for any number of cards named [CARDNAME], reveal them, put them into your hand, then shuffle your library.
      Enchanted creature has +1/+1.

      This loses the story the original one told, but does more to enable a specific archetype (and is weak enough that whoever wants to draft it will be able to).

      Delete
  7. Falconer Scout-1GW
    Creature-Human
    1/3
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield create a 1/1 white bird creature token with flying.
    T: Generate 1 Mana for each bird you control.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Doug,

      Interesting design here! I like the idea of a creature who makes mana according to a tribe coming with a member of that tribe, and the flavor of this card is quite interesting. But I also have a bit of feedback!

      For one, why is this {G}{W}, when Birds don't have a big presence in {G}? {G} doesn't get fliers really, so this couldn't be part of a {G}{W} "Birds Matter" archetype. You could get away with an Ostrich or an Emu or two in {G}, but why not go for a color pair more naturally suited to birds, like {W}{U}?

      Secondly, we don't see a lot of multiple-mana-generation at common set to a variable like this. The last time we saw it was Overgrown Battlement from Rise of the Eldrazi, and that's quite a ways back. It's simply a little dangerous at common to ramp that much. (Also, it's still "Add mana", even with upcoming Dominaria changes.)

      Lastly, and this is a real nitpicking of feedback, but... for a creature card, we generally like to have the face of the creature in the art, and have them be the focus of the piece. Even cropped, this art doesn't show the creature's face, so it's hard to convey to a player that the card is about the creature; it'll feel off.

      I do really like how you've naturally chosen tribal for this challenge, which is a great and simple way to meet the requirements. You're the first to do straight tribal, so kudos to you for recognizing how useful tribal is for this! Picking a more obscure type definitely meets the 'interesting or unique' condition with elegance.

      I think this is a great start to a fascinating design! With the art, the creature type might not be the best for this challenge, but I encourage you to try to find a place for this as an uncommon in a future set of yours, perhaps. :)

      Delete
    2. Well given that it produces mana even if it is colorless, doesn't it have to be green? I was wondering if producing multiple mana could be a problem maybe restrict it to casting bird cards. I really wish tribal would comeback. Yeah Dominaria is changing a lot could not remember if it was still Add, thanks for clarifying. Weirdly the creature discovering this world end landscape seemed like a focus. I feel a focus on the creature. Also, having a build around draftable land at common is very tough.

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    3. Ah, to be clear, of course the final execution of the design as-is couldn't be swapped over to {W}{U}. I was trying to say that when you started the design with the concept of 'a creature that cares about birds', it is interesting to me that you gravitated towards {G}{W} rather than {W}{U} as many would, and I was curious as to the reasoning behind that choice.

      If you're drawn to the creature that's understandable! Note that in my opinion, "a creature discovering this world-end landscape" is more of an action than a person, if you see what I mean, and hence leans towards things like instant or sorcery, or even enchantment. Designing a creature won't mark you down by any means - like I said, I was being real nitpicky there.

      Yes, designing a build-around draftable land is very tough! The goal with this challenge was to be quite tough. :)

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    4. Well scout just seemed green white to me. I actually was not even thinking about green white not getting birds in green. The archetype might just be green ramp. So the white contributes to quick token making and then you get to cast your dreadmaw on turn 4. Also if it is a weird swarm ramp deck maybe the red deck with the blazing volleys in the sideboard becomes better. Another option is this is in a populate set or where abzan had outlast and this just feeds your mana sink. So the archetype is actually big mana. Maybe birds is bant. So you could go aggressive blue white birds and then there is the big mana birds. Populate token birds could be another option.

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    5. Green-White makes sense to me for this card. The white makes the bird and the green makes the mana.

      This is too self-contained and explosive for common. You either need to ditch the bird, so that this can make mana if you pair it up with bird cards, or you need to limit it to generating one mana.

      Why colorless? Power concerns?

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    6. Power concerns and sort of flavor, since the land that is being explored looks like it would not bring mana. If it only generates 1 mana then it isn't really a draft build around. It isn't much stronger than overgrown battlement but that was bumped to uncommon in Iconic Masters. If it produced mana that could only be used to cast bird spells, does that still seem too explosive, since mainly you'll be playing it in a bird deck anyways.

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    7. It's still explosive by nature, but limits the output of that energy to these rather than Emrakul, the Aeons Torn so yeah, that helps.

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    8. You also have to play birds which by nature are usually small.

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    9. Which actually makes the extra-mana feel bad since you can't really use it.

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    10. Yeah which I feel limiting it to birds would be a feel bad moment unless the set has some insane tribal bird spells.

      Delete
  8. Mage Ring Ruin 1
    Artifact

    T: remove X storage counters from ~ add X C

    Whenever you cast your second spell in a turn put a storage counter on ~

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    Replies
    1. I like that we're going for a common artifact!

      This is an interesting design along a few axes, but I'm not sure it's a common.

      The thing about the 'storage counter' mechanic is that being able to save up mana for later turns can lead to big jumps on later turns, or consistent ramping in the future. Now, that does require a bit of storage set-up, so it's not disastrously powerful... but there's a reason it's usually uncommon. Not only is it a bit 'fiddly', the ability to jump mana like that is strong. That's why it's generally not common.

      On the other hand, let's look at the rate this gets counters. You can get a storage counter every other turn on average (without card draw) which lines up approximately with Mage-Ring Network. Unlike Mage-Ring Network, however, this requires no investment of mana!

      Think about it like this: you can cast two spells, get a storage counter, and then the next time you cast two spells, you can use that storage counter to do so, replacing it. In one sense, it gives you a discount of {1} on the second spell you cast each turn. That's already quite useful for a {1} Artifact at common.

      But, there's a more dangerous side to this card if it's at common: think of how many of these you can play. If you play two of these, then you net two mana each time you cast a second spell in a turn. If you play three of these, that's three mana! Unlike Mage-Ring Network, you can 'spam' these a lot faster by casting them, and they accumulate storage counters freely alongside gameplay, instead of costing a resource.

      Putting a card at common means it can be drafted in multiples relatively frequently. Even if this is the "101st", which shows up less frequently, it's still a frequent sight if at common. That gets dangerous for a card like this.

      Overall, this is definitely a really cool design, but not quite a common.

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    2. I also think it's clever how you limit the accumulation of counters to at most one per turn, and agree it's a bit awkward that spending them helps you accumulate more.

      "Add X {C}" is awkward. Consider using the wording from Mage Rink Network: "{T}, Remove any number of storage counters from ~: Add {C} to your mana pool for each storage counter removed this way." or indeed "{T}, Remove all storage counters from ~: Add that much {C}."

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  9. Waste Watcher - 1W
    Creature - Human Scout (c)
    1/1
    Whenever another one or more creatures become tapped, CARDNAME gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
    "I've seen you coming from far away."

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    Replies
    1. A 2/2 for 2 not an actual bear.

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    2. This was really hard, I've spent so much time on this becomes staying at common was so difficult (and now that I looked at the other designs I can see it is true). I'm not even sure this is supposed to be common - at least it has a really short text. However I'm not sure for that templating : I don't want this to trigger FOR EACH creature that becomes tapped (it would be going out of common), hence the "whenever one or more...", but I don't want it either to trigger by itself otherwise I feel it is too easy, hence the "another". But I'm not sure about combining the two. Maybe I should just drop "another". And maybe put this design on an enchantment instead. I'm not sure.

      Otherwise, archetype-lly speaking, this will reward you for everything you have that can tap outside combat ! Of course the classic white tapper would be ideal, as it adds 2 triggers (when the tapper's ability's cost is paid by tapping itself, and when it resolves by tapping the target), but it might be a bit confusing for a new player that might thinks it only trigger one. Or you can use other creatures with tap abilities from other colors : from the red pinger to the green mana dork, you have the choice to try an unconventional build.

      I must confess I was inspired by "Three Things to Know about Masters 25 Limited" article from Gavin Verhey. Since I read it I cannot help thinking about creatures tapping and untapping in crazy ways.

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    3. You could do a once per turn trigger and make it a bear so you would usually have a 3/3 for 2 which is a pretty strong common and would encourage the white weenie archetype or the tap creature archetype and have an aggressive 3/3. Maybe even a once per turn trigger could make a 2/1 for 1 but that might be pushed but wild nacatl gets to be common.

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    4. "Whenever another one or more creatures become tapped" is not intuitive enough for common. If I activate three creatures with T abilities versus attacking with those three creatures, the result is different.

      I'd use "Whenever another creature you control becomes tapped, CARDNAME gets +1/+1 until end of turn."

      That's the way players would most expect it to work. And won't surprise your opponent when they attack into it with their team and make it huge.

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    5. As for size, just match the cost to the average. If it usually ends up 3/3 (as battalion suggests), make it 2W or 3W.

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  10. Ampryn Ranger
    1W
    Creature- Human Scout (Common)
    2/1
    CARDNAME gets +1/+1 as long as no other player controls a Scout.

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    Replies
    1. Man, I love the flavor of this, but it doesnt feel much like an enabler. Any thoughts on this being something with a threshold 1 involving scouts? Something like "As long as you control another scout, ~ gets +1/+1"? The flavor isnt quite as on point (your scouts give you something versus you get something if youre the only one with scouts) but its a bit more of a build around, and the gameplay is a little better because there's never the annoying situation where opponents just accidentally make it bad because of them playing a random scout. Its asking you to do something for a payoff versus you hoping the opponent cant do anything.

      Also imagining an environment with scout tokens versus more typical token types feels fun and goofy.

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    2. Is that a Highlander?

      This mechanic is arguably worse than landwalk.

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  11. Seeker of Doran 1G
    Creature - Human Scout
    0/3
    {T}: Target creature assigns combat damage equal to its toughness instead of its power this turn.

    I toyed with a lot of ideas. A parched creature powered up by mill? A land that gives an effect which matters in multiples (taxing?) I felt it needed to be different to an uncommon build around me card, a card where you actively wanted multiples, but where the right other cards would help too.

    My model was something like Tome Scour, useless to most people, but a viable deck if you could get 7-8 of them and cast ~4 of them during a game, padded out by defenders or fog effects.

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    Replies
    1. The fact that you can target opponents' creatures makes this a little scary at common, since they have to consider the possibility of all their top-heavy creatures getting combat nerfs (in addition to this being a 3/3 on block itself).

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    2. Hm, good point. It should at least be "other creatures" so there's more reason to have multiples. Maybe it should only be your creatures even though that's less Doran'y. That's still confusing when there's multiple bonuses.

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    3. Sorcery-speed this for common.

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    4. Or, at least "only outside of combat", so it's still useful if you're NAP without leading to instant-speed complexity incombat.

      I'm curious if this is G moving forward?

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  12. I was also inspired by the Mage-Rings of Vryn, but didn't like how the Network uses storage counters instead of some other type. So:

    Manaflow Hub
    Land (C)
    CARDNAME enters the battlefield with three charge counters on it.
    T: Add C.
    2, T, Remove a charge counter from CARDNAME: Put a charge counter on another target permanent you control.

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    Replies
    1. I want a Power Conduit land! Though, three counters seems potentially strong for a land, especially at common.

      Delete
  13. Tried to make this as simple as possible. There's a lot more fun things to do in this space though, I think.

    Khanate's Surveyor B
    Creature - Human Scout (c)
    Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, if it shares a name with no other lands you control, target player loses 1 life.
    1/1

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    Replies
    1. I want to see more of this see-all-the-places mechanic.

      This is good, though I'm not sure why seeing new places makes this scout hurt people, or what makes surveying so violent.

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    2. I loved the mechanic but then asked myself, why create a worse landfall. The bonuses would need to be stronger to make up for that fact.

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    3. There's comparisons to be made on Morbid and Revolt and how specificity of an effect can make it more fun, but the greater point here is that it can much more enable different & unique draft decisions. Whereas with Landfall you might draft fetchlands slightly higher, (assuming this card/archetype is supported both with other payoffs and an enabling rarity distribution of lands), this can affect both your picks throughout the draft (do I prioritize another on or off-color land so I'm playing fewer redundant basics) as well as you deck creation after the fact (which color spells do I play to balance optimizing the lands I have drafted). I'd be looking to both Deserts and Snow-covered lands as places to start & improve upon for the format design.

      I have to cede the point that the flavor of the effect isn't the strongest point, but I do like pushing the idea of "empire" as a thoroughly black notion. On its face, there's the "it's a land mechanic & therefore green", but I think there's room to think outside that box. This effect at this cost is the easiest way I could find for an effect that could definitely be small and common but also worth drafting & building towards.

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    4. I think it might be more fun where it scales for each land with a different type or something like discovery 4. If you control at least 4 lands with different names something.

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    5. I wonder if it's cool to push this mechanic far enough that people play all five basic lands, and then start splashing for cards in all colors? Or how many nonbasic lands we can put in a set at common so they're not 'forced' to.

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    6. Well we also could include a lot of borderland ranger creatures. I feel the payoff needs to be there to make me to want to go there. I would love a wild nacatl power level creature at common. If I am getting a 2/2 or 3/3 for 1 then I could get excited. A 1/1 that makes people lose 1 life would not pull me to draft different named lands. Would evolving wilds and terramorphic expanse be in this set? With a cool name and the bonuses being big enough I can see it carrying a set.

      Delete
  14. Tour the World's Wonders {2}{G}
    Sorcery (cmn)
    Search your library for basic land card or a Formation and put it OTB tapped.

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    Replies
    1. Formations would be a land subtype that do something in unison, like deserts or loci. Perhaps:

      Nojari Arches
      Land—Formation (unc)
      Whenever ~ or another Formation ETB under your control, scry 1.
      {T}: Add {C} to your mana pool.

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    2. I was assuming Formations would be an artifact type, possibly something in the vehicle/equipment/fortification space -
      something that needs further enabling other permanents to make the free OTB less of a issue. But... that might still be too much at common, so perhaps the Locus way makes more sense.

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    3. Maybe Formations are the incarnation of lands with mana costs.

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    4. That makes sense. You pay the cost as it ETB, maybe, so this gets you the card/land drop free, and then you pay the mana payment on entry? That could honestly work with this still at commonish.

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    5. Paying to keep your Formation as an ETB-trigger will work easily in the rules, and still enables novel design. That said, Tour the World's Wonders doesn't make that mechanic shine.

      I'd be curious to see how hard the rules fight back if you tried to put a mana cost in the top right of a land card. I think players will get that that card counts as a land drop and that they have to pay mana to do it. I think where the confusion comes in is whether that act counts as playing a land, casting a spell, or both. I'd prefer it only count as playing a land, but if most players expect it's both, that's what we've got to run with.

      Delete
  15. Racetrack Scouter 2U
    Creature - Human Scout (C)
    Whenever you would race an opponent, reveal two cards instead. You choose which one counts towards the race.
    2/3

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    Replies
    1. What does it mean to 'race'?

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    2. I took the Steamflogger Boss route. It is to be determined by a future design team.

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    3. Enchantment - Race
      At the beginning of your upkeep, race an opponent (you each reveal a card from your hand or the top of your library. If the CMC of your revealed card is a number 2-4 that hasn't already been revealed and doesn't match your opponent's revealed card's CMC, you win the race and put a counter on ~)
      When ~ has 3 counters on it, sacrifice it and it deals 5 damage to target creature and that creature's controller.

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    4. Maybe. Possibly horizontal layout.

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    5. Why is blue good at racing?

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    6. I figure racing will be 5 colors, so I wasn't limited out of blue that way. Blue is most likely to scout and analyze the track ahead of time.

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