Monday, March 28, 2011

Runaway Train of Thought

This post is based around a string of cards I scribbled down while I was doodling before work - it's a kind of stream of consciousness to describe how I think about cards. The cards themselves took about five minutes - the explaining has taken a few hours. Follow me through some epic reasoning worthy of the old Adam West Batman.

I'm still fiddling around with the wedge colored factions I started for my casual GDS2 entries, and while I was flipping through old MaRo articles, and stumbled on this one, where he mentions trying to fit reach into white. Makes sense right? Reach is only good for creatures playing defense, and white loves some creature-based obstruction. In fact, it makes so much sense that it's already been done before on cards like Longbow Archer (which made me sad, 'cause I really thought my bowman was a neat find). But it still got me thinking...

White also loves vigilance, which is another defense friendly mechanic that could probably show up more in green. Now, I like me a good spider, but they're starting to seem tired. But giants seem hot right now (I admit I've been playing Primeval Titan relentlessly lately), and they're tall and reasonably able to grab flying things (or perhaps throw things at them). I came up with a giant I liked (he's just an upgraded giant spider), but I decided giants don't really tie-in well with black (in a wedge-colored block, white and green are necessarily aligned with black). So I took a step back to think about what other mechanics could tie these colors together...

Green and black share regenerate, but it's not really a white thing, so I set that aside too. Green and black also share deathtouch, which loves first strike (another white favorite), and also getting to ping creatures (which white can also do). Soldiers and archers and assassins are all creature class types that fit these abilities, and elves and kithkin seem to be the best creature races to tie those classes together. So what kind of environment could these guys fit into?

Originally when I was thinking about a white-black-green faction, I imagined a pastoral country side, where a bunch of feudal serfs lived in thrall to an elite gentry of demons, nightmares, and horrors. But while I was jotting down cards, I realized this was boring - it could be any fantasy story anywhere (all it needs is some Hero or another to come slay the monsters and liberate the land). Why not mix it up some? What about a country where tribes of elves and kithkin live in a jungle? Perhaps they're an underclass of rainforest peasants, living by gathering in carefully planned orchards, and occasionally hunting down travelers to offer to their insatiable overlords. Kithkin (sinister headhunter pygmies!) live in tunnels burrowed into the tree trunks like giant skyscrapers, and the elves live in cities strung between the branches. Their dark lords live in vast underground palaces beneath the trees, where the roots poke down like huge, tower-sized stalactites. 

(As always, all cards have been posted to the Wizards' wiki here.)

[Some place] Longbowman (common)
creature - [kithkin] soldier archer
First strike, reach

[Some place] Crossbowman (uncommon)
2/1 - [kithkin] soldier archer
First strike
Tap: CARDNAME deals 1 damage to target attacking or blocking creature.

Timber Giant (common)
creature - giant
Vigilance, reach

Deep Shadow Sniper (uncommon)
creature - [elf] archer
First strike, reach, deathtouch

Poison Arrow Guy (uncommon)
creature - [kithkin archer assassin]
Deathtouch, Reach
When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, it deals 1 damage to target creature

Deep Shadow Tribesman (uncommon)
creature - [elf] soldier archer
Vigilance, reach, deathtouch

Deep Shadow Prowler (rare)
creature - [kithkin archer assassin]
Vigilance, deathtouch
Tap: CARDNAME deals 1 damage to target attacking or blocking creature.

Insatiable Overlord (mythic)
creature - nightmare demon
Soldiers and assassins you control get +1/+1 and intimidate
At the beginning of your end step, sacrifice a creature other than CARDNAME. If you don't, tap CARDNAME. It deals 5 damage to you.

The first three could fit in any set - I think they'd be most comfortable in a core edition. There's nothing about Deep Shadow Sniper that prevents him from being mono-green, but I like the black splash in elves, and I like the assassin flavor, AND he fits my wedge world concept. The problem with these is that you could only fit one, maybe two of these guys (not counting the demon - I love making demons) into a given block, since I'd be really worried about gumming up a limited environment. The varying iterations of vigilance, deathtouch, reach, and first strike make it really hard to want to attack, and you'd end up with a bunch of low-power, effectively unblockable weenie creatures slowly whittling away at the other player. The crossbowman type cards might actually make it easier to attack and get damage in (since you could pick off blockers while still getting your guys across), but I'm not sure it'd be fun.

Some play-testing and tweaking might be able to make it work, but I'm not sure it'd be worth the trouble.

1 comment:

  1. The long version of my comment got lost in the intertubes, but the short version is I like the idea of an enemy-colored shard block, but I think execution will be even harder than it sounds. Does the GWB shard get some flying because it includes white or none because it includes green? Are all cards tri-colored and, if not, are WB cards equally GWB and BRW?

    I also think your too liberal with your use of death touch in combination with first strike and direct damage. That's too powerful, but even at the right cost, not fun to play against.

    I think giant's need more than two power and I think your lord shouldn't have four creature types printed on the card.

    Interesting stuff.