Friday, July 10, 2020

Weekend Design Challenge 071020 - Jumpstarted Legends

Hey Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.


Thursday, July 9, 2020

CCDD 070920 - Frontline Anthem

Here's a weird keyword ability. It goes on any permanent, but preferably non-creatures to avoid timing issues. It's partly upside but mostly downside. It's trying to capture the flavor of borders, conquests, and lines of battle. It's... defensive!


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

CCDD 070720 - Robo-Brawler

This is a classic example of a pure Mel design. Given the concept, the text box has basically zero flexibility, so the only available "knobs" are the power/toughness and mana cost.


Friday, July 3, 2020

Weekend Design Challenge 070320 - Blue Autumn

Happy Friday, Artisans, and Happy 4th to those in the US! Click through to see this weekend's design parameters. With those as your guidelines, design a custom magic card. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs, and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. If I have time over the course of next week, I will try to offer some of my own feedback.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

CCDD 070220 - Jor Kadeen, the Resister

Here's another take on "encourage interaction through combat by doing broken things if opponents don't interact." It's the flip side of the previous CCDD in it's framed positively-- your own creatures are the ones being encouraged (okay, required) to attack. The payoff is that blocking is pretty much the only way your opponents can interact profitably.


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

CCDD 063020 - Quincy, Master Bureaucrat

Attacking and blocking with creatures is a big part of what makes Magic fun, but some decks just don't want to fight fair. They focus on finding ways to win-- or at least accrue an overwhelming advantage-- outside of combat. In the interest of fun I like to find cards that make those decks less appealing, but it's hard to interact favorably with strategies that are fundamentally non-interactive. Sometimes, I find, it's better to fight unfair with unfair.


Friday, June 26, 2020

Weekend Design Challenge 062620 - Masks

Happy Friday, Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design parameters. With those as your guidelines, design a custom magic card. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs, and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. If I have time over the course of next week, I will try to offer some of my own feedback.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

CCDD 062520 - Adaptation

Here's a design inspired by Hostility, which turns Lava Spike-style direct damage into creature tokens. I wanted to capture the same feeling of rewarding a type of effect that isn't normally a great investment. Ikoria gave me exactly the tools I needed to do that in green.


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

CCDD 062320 - Cascading Failures

Here's a Shatter variant that punishes artifact-heavy decks. 


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Weekend Design Challenge 062020 - Extremely Common

Hello Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

CCDD 061720 - Funny or Die

Making, and choosing, piles is fun. After the original Fact or Fiction there have been several imitations like Death or Glory and Do or Die. Let's make another.


Friday, June 12, 2020

CCDD 061220 - One-Eye, the Wanderer


Designing "Norse gods" has been an appealing design goal since we saw Magic take on the Greek pantheon in Theros, even more so since we met the Egyptian gods of Amonkhet. I've seen several neat ideas from other sources but there's still one implementation that appeals the most to me as a mechanical and flavor match.


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Friday, June 5, 2020

Weekend Design Challenge 060620 - Core 2021 Teaser

Hello Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

CCDD 060420 - Phyrexian Prosthetic

I forget where I got the idea for this design. Maybe I was trying to come up with cool equip cost discounts, like the ones on Ghostfire Blade and Blackblade Reforged. Or maybe I was just trying to design a card for Tezzeret the Seeker's arm and got the lore mixed up.


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

CCDD 060320 - Impatient Growth

Plenty of iconic spells have multicolored variants-- e.g. Detention Sphere or Counterflux-- but as far as I know we've never seen a multicolored Rampant Growth effect, unless you count Spring // Mind. Part of the problem is that Rampant Growth is faster unconditional ramp than Standard is supposed to get these days, so tacking on a multicolor bonus would probably create a too-powerful card. But there's at least one way around that...

Saturday, May 30, 2020

CCDD 053020 - Turn to Vapor

This design is inspired by Lignify and friends-- Darksteel Mutation, Kasmina's Transmutation, and so on. They often make their target useless for attacking, but leave it able to block. That can be a major drawback-- for example, if the target is The Locust God or a Commander or another creature with built-in recursion-- so I decided to make a version that plays somewhat differently.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

CCDD 052820 - Towering Strider

What exactly is the flavor of trample, anyway? Are we supposed to imagine Proud Wildbonder literally running over a Pyroceratops, for example? Or is he just so fast and furious that his momentum carries him past the Dinosaur's corpse and into the opponent's face? I don't really have an answer, so this is just a long way of letting you know that I have no idea whether Towering Strider's ability makes sense.

Monday, May 25, 2020

CCDD 052520 - Goblin Savant

Nothing too fancy today, just a red one-drop in the vein of Foundry Street Denizen or Monastery Swiftspear.

Friday, May 22, 2020

CCDD 052220 - Brain Beam

We've seen the Erratic Explosion effect multiple times; many of the variants have some way of making up for the real feel-bad when you flip over a land. This version cuts to the chase and just has the land deal a reasonable amount of damage.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

CCDD 052120 - Your Worst Nightmare

This design was inspired by effects like Vile Rebirth and Scarab Feast that black uses to interact with opponents' graveyards. Exiling even a whole graveyard is barely worth a card on its own most of the time-- Tormod's Crypt is evidence of that-- so the effects are often very cheap and have additional value stapled on. What would a higher-mana-cost version of those cards look like?


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

CCDD 051920 - Herald of Ula

As I run low on cool card design ideas I've started using the "random card" button for inspiration. Here's the first product of that. The card I got was Priest of the Wakening Sun, which tries to serve as small-creature support for Dinosaur tribal.


Monday, May 18, 2020

CCDD 051820 - Restrictive Priest

"Freeze" effects like Take Into Custody aren't in white's color pie. Discard effects aren't either. Can we make a case for giving it a mechanic that lets an opponent choose between the two?


Thursday, May 14, 2020

Expressly Forbidden - Fixing the "Forbidden" Mechanic

This article is not WotC safe.
What's more tempting than the forbidden fruit?

It all began with one of our very first glimpses at an unprinted mechanic - an infamous one - from Avacyn Restored "devign". But it's gone so much further, and has taken on its own life...

Look, if you dare, at the forbidden cards contained within this sealed containment cell called an "article". Unlock, if you are willing to pay the price, overwhelming power by "reading more after the jump"...

CCDD 051420 - Kael of Clan Nel Toth

Here's a commander design! It started out as part of a cycle where I was trying to give common deck-building themes (e.g. spellslinger, +1/+1 counters) support in an unusual color combination. This one was for graveyard decks, as the name suggests.


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

CCDD 050620 - Press the Advantage


Today's card isn't too fascinating; I was just happy to find a nice clean design that's never been printed. Eliminate the Competition is a (mostly) strictly better effect for more mana, but this version makes the choice of X more interesting.


Monday, May 4, 2020

CCDD 050420 - Ritual Stone

Inspired by the discussion on a previous CCDD, here's a mana rock with a twist. Think of it as a reverse Mind Stone.


Saturday, May 2, 2020

CCDD 050220 - Obstinate Elf

I honestly don't remember why I thought this design was so interesting. The first ability was the result of brainstorming how Obstinate Baloth-like effects, which green uses to punish discard, could be adapted to play well against Distress-like targeted discard spells.


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

CCDD 042920 - Breakneck Pace


Red's gotten a lot better at card draw in recent years. We routinely see Rummaging Goblin and Act on Impulse effects even at lower rarities. The theme for both those effects is that they're "short-sighted"; red isn't necessarily gaining any permanent advantage out of them. That's not just a matter of flavor; it opens the way for some exciting designs that wouldn't be safe to print in blue.


Monday, April 27, 2020

CCDD 042720 - Cabalistic Teachings

I designed this card before the Companions got spoiled, but in some ways it's trying to fill a role similar to theirs. I'll let you decide whether that's a good or a bad thing.


Friday, April 24, 2020

Weekend Design Challenge 04242020 - Mutate Mutations

Happy Friday, Artisans! It's been a while since we've done one of these, and maybe people are staying in for the weekend and have some time to think about magic design. Click through to see this weekend's design parameters. With those as your guidelines, design a custom magic card. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs, and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. If I have time over the course of next week, I will try to offer some of my own feedback.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

CCDD 04232020 - Megazord

So I don't know much about Kaiju. The closest I guess is I was a fan of Power Rangers when I was in 4th grade, and that had lots of giant monsters. Name of keyword aside, mutate is a cool way to capture the voltron/megazord transformation, so I played around in that space today.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

CCDD 042220 - Mutate and Defender

Jeremy's Cool Bird post had me thinking about other interesting designs that Morph opens up. I of course came up with the Jennyest of Jenny designs.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

CCDD 042120 - Touch of Frost

Here's another card from the Have They Really Never Printed This? file.


Monday, April 20, 2020

CCDD 042020 - Commanding General

For today's design, we have a silly pun in the vein of Charming Prince.


Thursday, April 16, 2020

CCDD 041620 - Drive to Exhaustion

Nothing too groundbreaking today, just a neat little Act of Treason variant.


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

CCDD 04152020 - Cool Bird

One of the reasons for Magic's longevity is its ability to change the value of a card by altering its context. This simple design finds new meaning in Ikoria's environment.


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

CCDD 041420 - Shimmering Battlement

Magic has lots of lands that tap only for colorless and then activate with a specific color or combination of colors, like Academy Ruins or Blighted Woodland and their respective cycles. But the activated non-mana ability has to be pretty good to make a nonbasic Wastes playable. One way to narrow that gap: start from a land that's slightly better, like Shimmering Grotto.


Thursday, April 9, 2020

CCDD 040920 - Sangromancy Scroll


Should this card be evaluated as a charm? A split card? A morph-like mechainc? I'm not really sure, but it seems to be doing cool things.


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

CCDD 040820 - The Questing Beast

Magic R&D has a hard job. Sometimes they make mistakes. Staying true to the Play Design vision for a card while balancing it properly for Constructed seems especially tricky; I understand why printed cards might end up with problems on either front. So this isn't criticism. I just wanted to prove something to myself: Pushing Questing Beast for a specific role in Standard didn't require a text box with eight lines, three line breaks, and multiple disconnected abilities.

Monday, April 6, 2020

CCDD 040620 - Face of the Unknown

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I liked designing Commanders that pushed popular color combinations in a different direction, right? Well, meet the brute-forciest of brute-force solutions to that challenge.


Sunday, April 5, 2020

CCDD 040520 - Trainer's Orb


This is a very top-down design. By that I mean: first I designed the name and mana cost... then the type line and rarity... and then the abilities.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

CCDD 040420 - Barricades


Here's another Fog effect-- this time an actual attempt to riff on the card Fog, though I think there was some top-down motivation here too.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

CCDD 040220 - Glade Elemental

Evasion is a bummer. I mean, yes, it's a crucial and valuable part of Magic gameplay, from flying to menace to straight-up "can't be blocked". But evasion abilities are fundamentally an invitation not to interact, and decks can abuse those abilities to the point where interacting through combat just isn't a viable strategy. Is there a way to make cards that would punish those decks?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

CCDD 040120 - Gatling Blast


For a bottom-up design, this card went through a crazy number of templating iterations. I knew what I wanted it to do, but not how to do that in a clean and intuitive way. Finally I realized that I could get the text box down to four lines by reusing an existing set mechanic.

Monday, March 30, 2020

CCDD 033020 - Eager Brute


I was a big fan of the Monarch mechanic (as seen on Palace Sentinels) when it showed up in the second Conspiracy set. Being able to assign statuses to players opens up a cool new region of design space. Finding effects that fit nicely there was harder than it seemed, though. Here's an example of one that I'm reasonably happy with.

Friday, March 27, 2020

CCDD 032720 - Read the Ancient Scrolls


Here's a common meant to show off a mechanic. This time around the model is Divination.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

CCDD 032520 - Advance Guard

A recent brainstorming project of mine: figure out what kinds of abilities would be interesting on Savannah Lions (2/1s for W, like Venerable Knight). One idea that occurred to me was a strategic one: these kinds of creatures usually feature in "weenie" decks that want to cast and attack with multiple creatures early on, getting value out of Glorious Anthem effects and the like. Maybe there could be an ability that pushes players in the other direction?


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

CCDD 032420 - Virus

This started out as mostly a joke card, but trying to capture the logic of "flatten the curve" / "social distancing" in a reasonable text box turned out to be an interesting challenge.


Sunday, March 22, 2020

CCDD 032220 - A Little Something Extra

Combat tricks are a bad value proposition in many ways. They aren't consistently worth a card, they're vulnerable to instant-speed removal, and so on. What's more, they aren't even all that tricky. Because they cost mana they're at least somewhat telegraphed, and easy to play around once they're suspected. What would it take to work around that problem? Here's one idea.


Friday, March 20, 2020

CCDD 032020 - Friendly Chatterbox


There's a well-known design trap where adding "bad" abilities to an otherwise fine card can make it read a lot worse-- like the difference between Gutter Skulk and Tavern Swindler. Today's card is a little bit that way at first glance, but I'm hopeful that the ability is actually more relevant than it seems.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

CCDD 031920 - Curse of Frustration

Dominion's "Curse" mechanic, where you add junk cards to a deck (usually the opponent's), is a cool and powerful design tool that online CCGs like Hearthstone have also picked up. Unfortunately it's logistically impossible for paper Magic. This is the nearest I could responsibly get to implementing it with existing design tech.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

CCDD 031720 - Ghost Soldier

I was thinking about another design problem when this weird combination of abilities suddenly occurred to me. In hindsight it reminds me of Debt of Loyalty, but I'm pretty sure that wasn't what I had in mind.