Friday, August 10, 2018

Weekend Design Challenge 081018 - Guild Leaders/Champions


Hey Artisans. Click through to see the requirements for this weekend's design challenge, due Monday morning. Every submission warrants feedback, so once you've got your great idea down, give some thoughtful critique to some of your peers. Revise your submission any number of times, and on Monday-ish, I'll review the most recent submission from each designer.

What, you thought I would stop my Ravnica hype? 

For this weekend's challenge, design a guild leader or champion. It can be an updated version of an old one, or a new character, but it should generally fit within its guild from a mechanical and flavor standpoint. 

Good luck, have fun, and I'll see you Monday.

54 comments:

  1. Elg'Helorn, the Immutable 2UUBB
    Legendary Creature - Spirit (M)
    When Elg'Helorn dies, target unit becomes a copy of it. You gain control of that unit.
    5/5

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exciting and concise! I assume "unit" here means creature, but honestly that's a typo I would make too.

      This plays well with the opponent having Graft or Evolve creatures. This plus a Viscera Seer makes for a Plague Wind. That's probably... fine? I'd look for competitively-costed-but-not-free sac outlets available in the same set/format.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Yeah, unit is creature. Just been playing too much Eternal. Case A is just that this is a big creature that's hard to deal with in mid-range fights. Case B is that this can function as a combo piece in the right decks.

      Delete
    4. I think artifacts should be a legit target, too. It fits the color pie.

      Delete
    5. I think it's within the color pie, it can even follow the story of the spirit moving into objects if there are no hosts around, but its also a lot less grokable when it turns an artifact into a copy of itself. I think it would need a lot more words and be less elegant for it to incorporate the possibility of hitting artifacts too.

      Delete
    6. Similar, but Keiga could trade up. Elg is repeatable but always the same.

      Delete
    7. Much approve. I love the resonance.

      Delete
    8. So cool. I feel like as-is it's way too easy to break with any basic sacrifice outlet. The easiest safety valve is a mana cost for the triggered ability. I'm not sure if I'd have it be a static UUBB or have it keyed to the newly-haunted creature's mana cost. Alternatively, you could limit it's trigger to once per turn (although since it would be a new object, we'd have to do some templating gymnastics for that to work) or force a life-loss on your end to keep it from breaking too badly (esp. in commander).

      Delete
  2. Azorians here to ruin all your Rakdos revelry.

    Griento, Curfew Keeper 2UW (Rare)
    Legendary Creature -- Vedalkin Wizard
    Flying, Vigilance
    When a spell or ability you control would tap any number of an opponents' creatures, you may tap one additional target creature that opponent controls.
    3/3

    I imagine him on a griffon or flying steed of some sort.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After looking at it in MSE, I realized that the text is not so wordy that I can't actually also give it tapping powers. And therefore I bumped up the cost.

      Griento, Curfew Keeper 3UW (Rare)
      Legendary Creature -- Vedalkin Wizard
      Flying, Vigilance
      When a spell or ability you control taps any number of an opponents' creatures, you may tap one additional target creature that opponent controls.
      1W, T: Tap target creature.
      3/3

      Also deleted the "would" out of the initial wording to make it clear the tap boost doesn't work if the spell/effect fizzles.

      Delete
    2. Is the opponent clause essential? If not, this could just be templated as:

      "Whenever another spell or ability you control taps one or more creatures, you may tap one additional target creature."

      Otherwise I like it. Cool build-around and very Azorius.

      Delete
    3. I wanted to avoid any potential confusion as to whether a tap activation cost from a third party (like Kumena) triggers it. Granted, the rules should make it clear that if you tap your creature as a cost it shouldn't. But I just wanted to avoid confusion.

      Looking at it again, I'm wondering if it should say "target one additional creature," which would allow players to get additional value with sleep effects as well. But then that gets into a weird space with lockdown-style blue auras. Could you lock down two creatures with a single Waterknot? Is that a bad or confusing thing?

      Delete
    4. Well, as far as rules go with Waterknot, it would tap the additional creature, but the enchantment would only prevent untapping of the enchanted creature.

      I've seen these types of contortions happen a lot with Black kill spells, trying to make them kill one more thing. For the game to recognize what it is you're trying to do, and to limit its scope to that, it requires some very unintuitive templating, and I always wonder what the grok cost is for this.

      I propose the following: The first time a creature an opponent controls becomes the target of a spell you control each turn, you may tap another target creature.

      This grants 90% of the original intended functionality (although prevents it from triggering more than once per turn, or triggering off of abilities) it still works with lock-down auras and tap spells (but not Oblivion Ring style enchantments.)

      For people who dig Azorius bureaucromancy, this is a great Guild Champion. As long as it's not too degenerate or bonkers-broken, I'm on board.

      Delete
  3. Professor Mitzi UR
    Legendary Creature - Goblin Artificer (R)
    X, T, Discard an artifact card: Reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal an artifact card with mana cost X or less. Put that card onto the battlefield and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.
    2/2

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very cool! I don't think it's really Izzet, though. Historically they don't care about artifacts.

      Influenced by https://www.mtgsalvation.com/forums/magic-fundamentals/the-rumor-mill/797166-htr-modo-the-gnarled-oracle by any chance?

      Delete
    2. Indeed!

      Professor Mitzi UR
      Legendary Creature - Goblin Artificer (R)
      X, T, Discard a card: Reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal an instant or sorcery card with converted mana cost X or less. You may cast that card without paying its mana cost and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.
      2/2

      Delete
    3. Should be fun with Living End or Ancestral Vision!

      This feels much more Izzet than the first iteration. If this had to cost more, would you put it in the casting cost or the ability's cost?

      Delete
    4. I kind of like the Artifact version. I get the critique that it's not historically Izzet, but it really should be. They're inventors and engineers, after all, and they do have some ties to artifacts mechanically (Mizzium Transreliquat - not many, but some).

      Either way the Spells version is great also, and probably less degenerate overall. In limited and commander, at the very least, building around this would have the unpredictable experiment the Izzet are all about. Constructed folks could probably find about 50 new ways to get cards banned with this, so we'd probably want Play Design to take a crack at this before unleashing it into the wild. I'm a fan.

      Delete
  4. Zegana, Second and Third 2GU
    Legendary Creature - Merfolk Mutant (r)
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, create a 1/1 blue and green Merfolk Mutant creature token. Then, choose two. You may choose the same mode more than once—
    • Put a +1/+1 counter on each Merfolk and Mutant you control.
    • Draw a card.
    1/1
    Who better to trust than yourself, and yourself?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, if you cast it from your hand, create a token that's a copy of it.
      When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, choose one-
      - Put a +1/+1 counter on each Merfolk and Mutant you control.
      - Draw a card."

      Delete
    2. I really want to hear this character's story and how it justifies the mode options. It's certainly a neat concept but I'm not 100% sold on why it pumps a tribe and/or draws cards.

      Delete
    3. I'm punning a bit on Prime Speaker Zegana. Through RTR block, we saw Merfolk effectively take over the Simic guild leadership, and since then, we've seen them go even more UG in magic broadly. The idea is that Zegana, head researcher and biovisionary for the Simic, is experimenting with all sorts of biological research, and takes a cue from Biovisionary, cloning an extra pair of herself to support both her research on mutation and her political positioning within the guild. Zegana's already got +1/+1 counters and card drawing, and in this case both options represent advances in research. Getting to choose should feel a just a little representative of the act of research. That's the flavor I was going for, anyway!

      Delete
    4. I also wanted to lean into a card that wouldn't be out of place in a Simic environment while also having an optional impact on Merfolk in modern. Another four-drop is far from an auto-include, competing with both Collected Company and Master of Waves, but in my head this splits the uprights on "includable but not busted". I might be underestimating just how good "2GU - Create two 1/1 tokens and draw two cards" is, or how much the flexibility spikes the power level, but with the rate on creatures swinging upwards I think this is a reasonable start.

      Delete
    5. I like this in concept, but is it ever busy. Counters, Tokens, Modes (repeating), tribal elements. This is a set's FAQ showstealer. Simic are definitely a Frankenstein guild, and that can be captured mechanically, but putting all of it in one card is just too much.

      I think the modal elements can be lost, as well as the tribal overall. Tribal avoids the legendary rule problem, but if we're making Clones, let's make some clones. Draw and counters can and probably should stay, as those are both pretty core to Simic's identity. Maybe something like this?

      UG, T: Create a token that's a copy of ~ except that it isn't legendary.
      2UU, T: Draw a card.
      2GG, T: Put a +1/+1 counter on each of up to two target creatures.

      Delete
  5. Lavinia, Guildpact's Deputy
    3WU
    Legendary Creature- Human Soldier
    4/5
    Spells your opponents cast that target CARDNAME cost 2 more to cast.
    At the beginning of each opponent's end step, if that player didn't attack you with a creature this turn, you draw a card and gain 1 life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The implication that she'll haumph a creature every turn is pretty cool.

      Delete
    2. Oops, didn't mean for her to be big enough to kill most attackers. 3/3 or something might be better.

      Delete
    3. A 3/3 isn't out of the question, but 4/5 seems reasonable as well, tempting Lavinia's controller on whether to use the big beater or pass up four points of damage to potentially fend off attackers and draw a card/gain a life.

      Delete
    4. I like this card a lot, but I don't think it's an especially great fit for either Azorius the guild or Azorius the color combo. Other than the incidental lifegain in the punchline, mechanically everything about this fits nicely into mono-U. The pseudo-hexproof, the draw, the combat manipulation. I'd also be fine with this in GU.

      From a flavor standpoint, pressuring your opponents into bad attacks feels off for the law and order guild, and much more Orzhov or Dimir. It's a solid card, but not a great Azorius guild champion.

      Delete
    5. I figured that combat manipulation, rewarding spot removal, and "don't attack me" all made sense in W. Azor's Elocutors is precedent.

      I was also going for flavor-- in the story, Lavinia and Jace are just trying to keep the peace (i.e. stop people from attacking).

      Delete
    6. In hindsight it would be more flavorful, and more W, for the condition to read "if no creatures dealt combat damage this turn".

      Delete
    7. This card gives you nice things for not taking damage. This isn't "don't attack me," it's "figure out how to get around a 4/5 body, then always attack." What if it gave both players the life? Still doesn't really hurt you if the aggro player doesn't attack, and it could be an interesting carrot to dangle in a political multiplayer situation.

      Delete
  6. Golgari Undertaker
    {2}{B}{G}
    Legendary Creature - Elf Shaman
    Deathtouch
    When Golgari Undertaker enters the battlefield, distribute X +1/+1 counters among creatures you control, where X is the number of creature cards in all graveyards.
    When Golgari Undertaker dies, return up to two other target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
    2/2

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I give this a shenanigan potential score of 39.4. I can think of at least three different ways to abuse the stuffing out of this after about ten seconds. That's not to say it's a bad design, just to say that Play Design would have to very meticulously nerf this.

      There's little I would change about this, other than to playtest to see where it really needs to be reined in to keep it from being too broken. My one major nitpick is to have both abilities either check only your graveyard, or all graveyards. There needs to be better symmetry there. Otherwise, a very Golgari, very fun card.

      Delete
  7. Eren, the First Ghost WB
    Legendary Creature - Spirit (M)
    Lifelink
    If Eren would die, exile it instead.
    At the beginning of your upkeep, if there are ten or more creature cards total in all graveyards and you have at least 10 more life than target opponent, you may return Eren from exile to the battlefield with +1/+1 counters equal to the difference between your life total and that opponent's.
    2/2

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love this in concept. Golgari usually gets to focus on GY, but it's legit in Orzhov, since their whole shtick is keeping the ghosts as servants.

      I'm not usually happy with circumventing the commander tax, but I'd test this to see if its too oppressive or repetitive in commander.

      My biggest concern is all the bookkeeping Eren demands. Comparing life totals and doing math, checking graveyards for a particular card type and doing an entirely different type of math, it's all too much. I'd stick with the life total clause, because Orzhov, and leave counting dead creatures for the Golgari.

      Delete
  8. Ulahsht, the Hellion Hell Seed XRRG
    Legendary Creature-Hydra
    Devour X
    When Cardname enters the battflield deal X damage to each creature and player.
    X/X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think "Hydra Hellion" or vice versa might be a more fitting creature type (and just barely fitting in the typeline), and the P/T wants to be 0/0 I assume?

      Devour seems like a believable pick for Gruul! I'm not sure how much cannibalism they do compared to Rakdos, but it's definitely not out of the question, especially if in this go-around they lean into the Ulasht/Rumbling Slum feeling of "big nonhumanoids" with a support structure of "small humanoids to be devoured by their unthinking leader". Borborygmos could subsist on a diet of rocks and Skinbrand Goblins and I wouldn't be too surprised. The rate here seems fair.

      Delete
    2. I was wondering how the rate is, well if it is a 0/0 it dies if it doesn't devour anything but that might be fine, X/X might be way pushed. Yeah, was not even thinking, brain is a little fried from doing Ludum Dare, gamejam.

      Ulahsht, the Hellion Hell Seed XRRG
      Legendary Creature-Hydra Hellion
      Devour X
      When Cardname enters the battflield deal X damage to each creature and player.
      0/0

      Delete
    3. This one threw me for a loop, probably because Devour X reads like an additional cost where you have to sacrifice X creatures, rather than get X counters for each creature sacrificed. (c.f. Thromok the Insatiable, but also Spoils of War).

      I'm pretty sure that this can get out of hand quickly, and might tag it with a XXRG mana cost to keep its abuse limited to decks already doing bonkers things with mana and/or tokens. I really like where this is going, but it shouldn't be limited to finisher. It should have some good midgame application as well. It's a solid design for a Gruul Champion, if leaning slightly too heavily Mel for the guild.

      Delete
  9. Skreet, Izzet MasterMind 1RU
    Lengendary Creature - Wierd Wizard
    distill (to distill Skreet, Izzet MasterMind cast it as an instant instead of crearture)
    Whenever Skreet enters the battlefield or is distilled player exiles they top card of their library until end of turn you may cast the cheapest non-land spell(s) exiled this way without paying its mana cost.
    3/1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting! So, with no alternate distill cost, this means we either choose the effect + body at sorcery speed, or just the effect at instant speed, making it slightly different from Evoke or Cycling. Is the goal that while you cast it it literally is "Type - Instant", triggering things like Wee Dragonauts? If so, I'm afraid that won't be clear at first glance as casting things "as an instant" or "as a sorcery" is common colloquial shorthand for the longer rules text defining things like Flash.

      As for the effect, getting the free cast off multiple opponents decks pits this as much more worth 1RU than a normal impulse would be. The restriction is neat, letting you game the system with a turn 3 Cruel Ultimatum but only if you're lucky enough that the opponent has a land. Combos strongly with effects that let you know the top card of one or both players' libraries, and that could have support in blue (between Izzet, Dimir, and Azorius) in a Ravnica set without batting an eye. The full templating is probably a few lines longer for "cheaper" and what to do in the case of ties, but I could see it fitting on the cardfront. All in all, a swingy, weird, fairly Izzet card!

      Delete
    2. yeah the concept is to trigger instant cards a cute way to raise the as fan for instants for izzet without compromising creature count but not sure how it could be worded to do such

      Delete
    3. Distill is a great concept. It's definitely something I could see as a one-off Un-card ("Instant or Creature - Weird" on the type line). Black border might be pushing it without substantial reminder text.

      (You may cast this as an instant spell. If you do, it becomes an instant instead of a creature until it finishes resolving, and then put it into your GY.)

      Might work. It would require some substantial support, but it's a great concept for Izzet. If we could get a rules manager to sign off, I'm on board.

      I think I'd like to see the entries at lower rarities for Distil. It's really hard to evaluate the keyword on the guild champion that clearly wants to do that thing at max volume. Is there concern that you can endlessly distill this from the command zone? Does that matter in this particular instance? This card and this ability really need to be playtested. I like both, but I need to see them in action.

      Delete
  10. Sho’Vel the Grave Churned 2BBG
    Legendary Creature - Gorgon
    Discard a card: card name gains menace until end of turn.
    If card name deals combat damage to a player sacrifice a creature and return a creature from the graveyard to the battlefield.
    3/5

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A gravedigger named Shovel is pretty cute.
      I can see menace translating gorgon, but with the rest of the flavor, I think this could be better with a different Golgari creature type. Is there a way to bring more G into this, both to balance out the cost and the feel?

      Delete
    2. It could be 1bbgg as a cost and troll shaman as a creature type. Plethora troll has a discard for effect ability and raising from the dead is within the realm of magic a shaman could use

      Delete
    3. Welcome, Kenneth. I think Pasteur's point was less to about having more G in the mana cost (although, as an aside, historically guild leaders and champions have had equal amounts of both in the mana costs) and more about including more green rules text. One of the most frequently missed questions on the GDS3 multiple choice test was about this very idea - Serra angel could be mono-W, so it is inappropriate on any multicolor card that includes W in its color ID. Similarly, this is a mono-B card. Menace and graveswapping are both Black abilities. Graveswapping isn't especially green (green brings back any card to hand, and occasionally does some self-reanimation at higher rarities, but when tied to a sacrifice effect, it's pretty firmly B.)

      Other than some templating concerns, I really like this in mono-B. To put it in Golgari, I would have the activated ability be something more green – Vigilance, life gain, land tutor, Giant Growth, or any of the G classics would work.

      Delete
  11. [Insert Rakdos Name] 2BR
    Legendary Creature - Azra Shaman
    First Strike
    When ~ enters the battlefield or deals combat damage to an opponent, you may discard a creature card. When you do, return target creature with converted mana cost less than that of the the discarded card from your graveyard to the battlefield.
    4/3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fun! Usual concerns re: stepping on Golgari's GY toes, etc. etc. etc., but this definitely has a strong Rakdos feel to it. Insert creates a little mini game, where you can sequence your discards to cheat out bigger and better creatures. Very interesting design. Do you think they'd retcon some Azra onto Ravnica? I'd like to see where they end up outside of Kylem.

      Delete
    2. Given that it's Rakdos, which is the literal opposite of the watered-down "bloodless sport" version of combat of Kylem, I say we go full-on Demon legend here.

      There's a little bit of precedent for Rakdos reanimation in Crypt Champion and Morgue Burst. I'm a fan of how this turns on hellbent.

      Delete
  12. Great group of cards, as always. If the leaders and champs we see in our upcoming Ravnica sets are half as good as these, I think the set will be off to a great start.

    ReplyDelete