Wednesday, April 11, 2018

CCDD 041118—Jaya's Immolating Inferno

Cool Card Design of the Day
4/11/2018 - Have you seen Jaya's Immolating Inferno from the Dominaria spoilers? Let's discuss legendary sorceries.

Each color has one. Here's our exemplar:

First, this is a success in a couple ways: Mechanically, it gives Constructed players a few more ways to trigger historic, and it delivers on the missing legendary card types. Thematically, this is an epic spell and a lovely homage to the well-loved Jaya Ballard, Task Mage. (Speaking of Epic, the first time Wizards' tried to deliver on legendary-ish sorceries, the result was, well, pretty arcane.)

Because these spells are best when you control a legend, they support Dominaria's legends-matter theme. My concern (apart from the niggle that sometimes the set cares about historic cards and sometimes it cares about legends) is that when I say these cards "are best" with legends, what I mean is "only relevant." Despite years of regretting the fact that Magic's marquee cards have a fundamentally downside mechanic—and revising it multiple times to mitigate its effect—Wizards has doubled down on it with legendary spells.

Most legends you can only have one of at a time. These legends, you can only have when you've got other legends (the cards you can only have one of each at a time, and thus aren't playing 4 of). Oh, and then there's the fact that the legendary supertype has one rules meaning on permanents and a completely different—almost opposite—meaning on sorceries.

What's the alternative? We could make the cards castable in the first place, and then reward you for having a legend, especially if you've got the right legend:


You may note that this model conveniently works better on this particular member of the cycle than the others. We can always design different sorceries once we find the best model.


Also, it's wordy. That's not the worst thing on a legendary sorcery but I definitely got greedy having three modes. We can simplify.

Design a legendary sorcery (either based on one of these, or a new one) in the comments.

60 comments:

  1. Jays's Immolating Inferno XRR
    Sorcery
    Kicker - Tap a legendary creature or Planeswalker
    Deal X damage to any target
    If this spells kicker cost was paid, deal X damage to a second target.
    If this spells kicker cost was paid by tapping a red creature or planeswalker, deal X damage to a third target.

    I like either solution, but kicker makes a lot of sense here so there isn't confusion on timing if they kill you legend in response.

    Still for being a LEGENDARY sorcery, Comet Storm with a slightly different kicker doesn't feel that special. The restriction makes it feel more special, which mostly works in its flavor favor.

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    1. Kicker sure fits here!

      I wonder if the final template wouldn't be weirder (based on Anavolver):

      Jaya's Immolating Inferno {X}{R}{R}
      Sorcery
      Kicker - Tap a legendary creature or Planeswalker
      Kicker - Tap a red legendary creature or red Planeswalker
      ~ deals X damage to any target.
      If this spell was kicked with its first kicker, it deals X damage to an additional target. If it was kicked with its second kicker, it deals X damage to two additional targets instead.

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    2. I do think they could finesse the default wording for these:

      Jaya's Immolating Inferno {X}{R}{R}
      Sorcery
      Kicker - Tap an untapped legend you control
      ~ deals X damage to any target.
      If this spell was kicked, it deals X damage to an additional target. If it was kicked with a red legend, it deals X damage to two additional targets instead.

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    3. Tapping planeswalkers seems like a bad idea. People will assume that tapping and using loyalty abilities are mutually exclusive when in fact they're completely independent.

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    4. Good point.

      Why don't we tap PW? So untap effects can't break them?

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    5. Yeah, that seems like the most likely reason.

      Delete
    6. Epic Murder 2BB
      Legendary Sorcery (rare)
      Kicker 1B or control a black legend
      Destroy target creature.
      If you paid the kicker cost, instead destroy all creatures except target creature.

      Delete
  2. Karn’s Temporal Sundering
    7UU
    Legendary Sorcery - Mythic Rare
    Take two extra turns after this one. Exile Karn’s Temporal Sundering.
    Karn’s Temporal Sundering costs X less to cast, where X is the total converted mana cost of Karn planeswalkers you control.

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    1. I like the cost reduction idea, though I'm inclined to simplify it: "~ costs 4 less to cast if you control a Karn PW."
      Taking two extra turns sounds unfun to me, though it should about win you the game. Can you make a non-mythic version to fit the cycle?

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    2. OH MY GOD HOW ARE LEGENDARY SORCERIES NOT MYTHICS????

      I *seriously* did not realize until you said that! That makes no sense to me - these are the very definition of mythic!

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    3. Rarities in Dominaria are all weird and confusing to me.

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  3. One of the lines of thought I'm going off of is that you can't do mundane things while casting legendary spells. For example:

    Yawgmoth's Vile Offering 4B
    Legendary Sorcery (R)
    (When you cast a legendary sorcery, you can't cast nonlegendary spells until the end of your next turn.)
    Put up to one target creature or planeswalker card from a graveyard onto the battlefield under your control. Destroy up to one target creature or planeswalker. Exile Yawgmoth's Vile Offering.

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    1. So the fact that is undercosted by 2 or 3 is insufficient splash? It has to do something unique? Seems like a reasonable argument; Is that true of all legends?

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    2. I wasn't really trying to say anything in regards to the effects of the spells, just justifying the flavor behind the mechanic "When you cast a legendary sorcery, you can't cast nonlegendary spells until the end of your next turn."

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    3. Ahh. Missed that. Reminder text, y'know?

      So mini-Epic?

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    4. Yeah, kind of. I also like that it still fits the works with legendaries theme, but not in such a way that it can't be used without them.

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  4. Karn's Temporal Sundering 5UU
    Legendary Sorcery (R)
    (You may start the game with one legendary sorcery face up in the command zone. Legendary sorceries may only be cast from the command zone.)
    Each player shuffles their hand, graveyard and creatures into their library and draws 7 new cards. End the turn.

    Jaya's Inferno 5RR
    Legendary Sorcery (R)
    (You may start the game with one legendary sorcery face up in the command zone. Legendary sorceries may only be cast from the command zone.)
    Jaya's Inferno deals 5 damage to each opponent, creature and planeswalker.



    Khamal's Druidic Awakening 3G
    Legendary Sorcery R
    (You may start the game with one legendary sorcery face up in the command zone. Legendary sorceries may only be cast from the command zone.)
    Until your next turn, all lands you control become 2/2 Elemental creatures with reach, indestructible, and haste. They’re still lands.

    Etc...

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    1. Do Legendary Sorceries return to the command zone when they resolve, so you can cast them again for {2} more?

      This is an amazing upside. Any format in which they're legal would require you to play one, since it's a free card in hand. They also reduce variance, which is the opposite of legendary permanents (but a much less egregious opposite than the real one).

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    2. This steals a bit from Conspiracies, but if anything is going to play with the command zone in black border it might as well be legendary sorceries.

      Also, the fact that Sylvan Awakening is in the same set as Khamal's Druidic Awakening and does the land animation that was the green Khamal's activated ability really bothers me. What Khamal's has to do with Genesis Waving legendary permanents I just don't understand.

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    3. No, these would be one and done unless they print some way to get cards back into the command zone. Casting a Legendary Sorcery multiple times in a game wouldn't capture the EPICness these cards are going for.

      As for being "required", I mean, sure. You're still losing a deck slot, and I'd imagine most of the designs would want to be more narrow so they aren't just automatic inclusions. Yawgmoth's/Urza's would have to change for sure

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    4. What do you mean by "losing a deck slot"? Isn't a 59-card deck better than a 60-card deck?

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    5. I'm assuming these would work like Conspiracies where the don't count towards a minimum deck size. So these would be taking a sideboard deck slot rather than msin deck. Not a huge cost, but a consideration if you're playing an aggro deck that never assumes it will have 7+ mana to cast one of these.

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    6. Ah, I see. That makes sense.

      Delete
  5. Rishkar's Expertise {4}{G}{G}
    Sorcery (rare)
    You may cast a card with converted mana cost 7 or less from your hand without paying its mana cost. If you cast Rishkar, Peema Renegade this way, draw cards equal to the greatest power among creatures you control.

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  6. Jaya's Immolating Inferno {X}{R}{R}
    Legendary Sorcery (rare)
    ~ deals X damage to any target.
    You may cast a Jaya card with CMC X or less from your hand without paying its mana cost.

    (Also, we should be able to refer to Jaya creatures in the same class as Jaya PWers. Proper names ought to be immune to the translation concern that prevents name dissection otherwise.)

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    1. Lot5R does this to a degree. The factor descriptor keywords (equivalent to subtypes) as well as names into callouts. If something says it's the Sword of Everlasting Flame, it counts as a Fire card because it has a 'Fire' word in its name. That seems pretty cool, but it could be hard to artfully incorporate that into magic rules. I'd hate for any attempt to result in all future Legend names needing to be of the format [Name], [Title].

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    2. Does this mean Emrakul's Hatcher and Whispers of Emrakul would count as "Emrakul cards"? (Maybe "legendary [LEGENDNAME] cards" would get the point across better? It's already a shorthand being utilized for deck-checking purposes.)

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  7. The new Legendary sorcery rule has a cutesy corner prison design:

    Reki, Mythmaker {1}{W}{U}
    Legendary Creature - Human Wizard (R)
    Sorcery cards in all zones are Legendary.
    2/3

    It enhances Historic and Legendary matters for you, while locking out your opponent from sorceries unless they have a legend.

    But I agree about the downside of the current legendary sorceries not being castable. I would have to think a bit more about how to improve that...

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    1. Welcome, Moonfolklore.
      I'm not sure I'd want to turn off all sorceries so early in the game, but that's a very clever design!

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    2. I like it! It'd probably be less of a hard lock if it made all non-land permanents into legends as well as sorceries, like Leyline of Singularity. Or at least all creatures.

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    3. Thanks for the welcome and the feedback! It probably is too cheap. I was thinking of someone like Gaddock Teeg. Right now it might be playable in eternal formats. In commander it is balanced somewhat by the fact that every deck has a general. It probably needs to cost at least 4 though. I'm not sure how harsh a penalty like that is in standard.

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    4. I'm confused- how does this enhance legendary and historic stuff for you?

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    5. Anything that can search for historic or legendary cards, or interact with them, now works with regular sorceries. So it enhances "legendary/historic matters" cards slightly.

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  8. Garruk's Wildcalling 2GGG
    Legendary Sorcery
    Create two green 3/3 Beast creature tokens for each forest you control.
    If you control a Garruk Planeswalker, untap all forests you control.

    --------------

    As an aside, I just want to express player/designer annoyance that I really liked the U/W signpost legend they had designed for Dominaria (Raff Capashen) and then today they spoiled an artifact (Thran Temporal Gateway) that completely undercuts what he brings to the set that's unique. WHY DID THEY DO THAT?

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    1. Oh, also, I was so mad about the gateway that I did this wrong and essentially made a Planeswalker deck card, sorry.

      Garruk's Wildcalling 2GGG
      Legendary Sorcery
      Create two green 3/3 Beast creature tokens for each forest and green legend you control.
      If you control a Garruk Planeswalker, untap all forests you control.

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    2. Why is Raff Capashen UW and not just Mono U?

      At least the gateway cheats things into play ala Quicksilver Amulet. I don't see it and Raff overlapping in most decks.

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    3. The UW theme is very much triggers from playing historic stuff. He probably could have been mono-blue, but they wanted to signal he plays well with some white stuff.

      I don't see Raff overlapping either. My annoyance is that the Gateway's power essentially makes Raff mostly unnecessary. I mean, granted, in a limited environment, you're going to be more likely to have Raff and not the gateway.

      But I'm playing constructed in Arena and so I'm just visualizing Gateway in other colors and possibly being even more efficient than Raff is in what he's supposed to be doing.

      It reminds me of how the most powerful blue card in Kaladesh was Smuggler's Copter.

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    4. Not to mention the whole thing of every color being able to flash in impactful permanents at the end of their opponents' turn.

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    5. Oh GOD. And of course you can splash any legend, saga or planeswalker with it, no matter what color. I'll just toss my Vraska into my vampire deck. Oh here: A turn five Zacama. Who cares if I don't untap my lands because I didn't cast it!

      I hope I am dramatically overreacting.

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    6. It certainly seems problematic.
      Especially as an artifact many decks can't normally interact with.

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    7. I mean Quicksilver Amulet was already a card. It's niche and combo-y and I don't anticipate it having a huge impact unless you've got huge dinosaur to cheat into play. You aren't playing it in a vampire deck just to cheat Vraska into play.

      Meanwhile Raff is going into a Bant Planeswalker control deck. The ability to flash in Oath of Teferi is huge, but not something you want to spend 8 mana to do.

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    8. I'm just thinking about it in Arena terms. I don't expect it will be as big deal in Standard and certainly not in other faster formats.

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    9. If UW is the 'historic color' in Dominaria and that's why Raff Capashen isn't mono U, then why is Jhoira UR? (I mean, I know why Jhoira is UR, but why is that ability on a UR legend?).

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    10. I don't think we're intended to see her as a "signpost" legend. To me, I think she's clearly a top-down designed card whose colors were picked first because of who she is and then crafted to make sure she's playable in any U/R deck.

      And I don't think historic triggers are exclusive to U/W. But it's something they seem to do better than other colors. Kind of like how explore was in all five colors in Ixalan, but G/B did it better than the others. (There's still plenty of cards missing so I could be totally off)

      This is an unusual set with the emphasis on more gold cards than usual and legends squeezed in among the signpost uncommons. Some of the intended signpost uncommons don't really seem like signposts at all (look at Rona and Tatyova).

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    11. I guess that regardless of how "signpost" it is, I'm unsure where the red aspect of Jhoira's ability comes from. For comparison, Jori En was UR both because Surge was strictly UR and because Red caring about casting several spells makes sense flavorfully.

      Jhoira is UR because of her artificer flavor, I guess? But she's the only Red card (so far) that mentions historic at all. I just don't really get why her effect is red in this context.

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    12. Yeah, I think it's just flavor. WotC may want to talk about wanting to make sure gold cards have components of each color, but sometimes it's really about expressing a top-down concept or even controlling what sort of decks they go in. In Rivals of Ixalan, pretty much every tribal lord that was dual-colored that gave simple boosts could have been mono-colored, technically.

      I just earned a couple Nicol Bolas planeswalker cards in Arena and realized none of his abilities do anything blue at all. Everything he does fits squarely in red and black. But he represents Grixis ... and the tri-color demand deliberately means you can't just toss him in a deck.

      I was playing red-black pirates and realized there's no reason the Dire Fleet Neckbreaker couldn't be completely mono-red. But if she were, she could easily be tossed in a blue-red pirate deck, and the blue pirates are where you get the cheap fliers. All that evasion and such a dramatic power boost would be a problem.

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    13. Well, I think there are some situations where WotC doesn't design specifically towards colors but rather towards guilds, shards, tribes, etc. The 2-color lords in RIX were specifically designing towards their tribes instead of their colors. I don't think those bend the color pie or go against design principles at all, really.

      Similarly, Bolas may not be equally Blue, Black, and Red - but he is very Grixis. Using further examples from Alara: Sedraxis Specter is easily mono B, Wooly Thoctar is literally a mono G card now, Rhox War Monk could be mono white, and Sprouting Thrinax isn't red at all. They're all very fitting in their respective shards, though.

      Jhoira feels like we're getting some UR Kaladesh-style artificer in a set that really wants this ability to be UW. It's like seeing Sedraxis Specter in Theros and wondering why it's not mono B.

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    14. MaRo says that the current incarnation of Jhoira was created to fill the "UR artificer legend" hole that EDH players have been complaining about for a while. She cares about historic by virtue of historic is the mechanic in DOM that cares about artifacts.

      Am I the only one who doesn't see Thran Temporal Gateway as invalidating the existence of Raff? Compared to TTG:
      -Raff can attack and block (and thus is better off the topdeck; flash ambush potential doesn't hurt either)
      -Raff can be your commander
      -Raff is better with many cheap historic cards as opposed to few expensive ones
      -Raff procs Wizard tribal cards
      Conceivably TTG could have been saved for a future set that also cares about historic, but I'm not sure if WotC's able to plan for that at this stage.

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    15. I'm probably just being punchy because he suddenly feels less unique. I'm sure he will be fine and TTG won't be some horrible monster (except for in dino decks where it will kill me every single game).

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  9. Legendary spells are such a fun idea, it's a shame that it's such a puzzle to solve. I'm not even sure if there is a good answer.

    Wasn't mentioned in the OP, but s design thing that bugs me is how legendary now means two different things. It's weird to me the legendary rule is now "can only control 1 legendary permamenent" AND "Can only cast if you control a legendary character". Thats going to happen no matter what legendary spells meant, but it still bugs me. When I first heard of legendary spells and the "X's Y Z" naming scheme, I had actually guessed it meant a spell that improved if you control a certain character though, as mentioned.

    I came up with a clumsy way to do legendary spells that felt more related to how permanents work but I have to remember what it was. I do want to do a card for this as I love the IDEA of legendary spells, even if I'm not totally happy with the execution.

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    1. OP: "Oh, and then there's the fact that the legendary supertype has one rules meaning on permanents and a completely different—almost opposite—meaning on sorceries."

      Delete
  10. Here's a terrible idea for legendary spells:

    Jaya's Immolating Inferno 4RR
    Legendary Sorcery (M)
    Jaya's Immolating Inferno deals X damage to each of up to 3 targets.
    Splice onto Jaya - X

    I don't think splicing onto a permanent works, but this gets the idea across. It's sort of like adding a very powerful 'battlecry' to your legend and also letting you hardcast the spell later.

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    1. I don't know what this card does.

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    2. It would require rules tuning and reminder text, but basically it works like this: I Pay 2RRR to cast my Jaya Ballard, then reveal Jaya's Immolating Inferno from my hand paying X=2. The, Inferno either creates a trigger on the stack that deals 2 damage to each of up to 3 targets, or that ability is 'spliced' onto Jaya.

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  11. I couldn't come up with any great ideas, so here are some very iffy ones.

    - Use Tetzimoc technology to give legendary sorceries something to do before you can play them.

    - Use Nazahn technology to tutor up a specific legendary sorcery when you play a certain creature.

    - Have a legendary sorcery which itself tutors for the associated character, and maybe does something else if you already have one.

    -Some kind of pseudo-suspend, where you can pay a cost upfront but wait to cast the spell until you control the corresponding character.

    -A legend rule where you can reveal two legendary sorceries of the same name, discard one and draw a new card.

    -We have Wizardcycling, so why not Jacecycling on a legendary sorcery tied to Jace?

    -Panglacial Wurm technology to...do something?

    Basically, too much tutoring stuff. Yeah, scaling effects is probably the best implementation I think...

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    1. Tetzimoc tech as psuedo-suspend:

      Epic Badness 3BBB
      Legendary Sorcery (rare)
      At your upkeep, you may reveal ~ and pay 1B. If you do, gain an epic counter.
      Destroy target creature.
      If you control a black legend, destroy another target creature.
      You may spend an epic counter to destroy another target creature.

      Eh, I failed to tie to all together.

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    2. I don't know too many specifics, but I do know Pokemon TCG has a mechanic that's shared by multiple cards, but you can only use that ability once per game between all of them. Then, once it's user, you get a marker on you to keep track that it was used. That seems like an interesting space. The once per game thing has a ton of cool factor, appropriate for a legendary spell. Maybe something like
      Destruction of Epic Proportions 3BB
      Legendary? Sorcery (M)
      Destroy all creatures. If you don't have a legendary counter, you may create 2/2 zombies tokens equal to the number of creatures that died this turn, then you gain a legendary counter.

      Really rough idea. Basically you can pump up your spell and make it become one for the history books. It feels weird the reward comes after the first cast, which is the inverse of most play patterns (usually you build up to a stronger spell), but in a way it does mirror the gameplay of the diminishing returns of legendary permanents, at least. Whether or not that should be emulated, I dunno.

      Honestly, I wonder a bit if there should even be special rules for legendary spells. Maybe, it could just mean nothing on spells. Mark feels that legendary should only be a marker anyway. Why not just make it a marker on spells? No need for arbitrary new rules about it, and you don't have any gameplay snags. You'd just have to be sure it goes on spells that FEEL legendary. I really like the idea of tying them to existing legendary characters as a way to do that. Legendary spells cast by legendary people.

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