Tuesday, April 5, 2011

CCDD 040511—Drown, Barnacle Shambler & Underwater is a Lonely Place

Cool Card Design of the Day
4/5/2011 - All of today's cards were inspired by some pretty sweet images of an underwater art museum covered recently on Wired: http://www.wired.com/underwire/2011/04/underwater-sculpture/ They tend to be pretty grim which is why you'll see as much black as you will blue.

There's no question this is a zombie and therefore black. One could argue it should be blue as well. I originally gave it islandwalk and even toyed with islandhome, but I like "more dangerous underwater" better than "invisible underwater" and/or "underwater only." That actually gets me wondering if more "unblockable if" abilities shouldn't be handled similarly since they are more interactive. One last note on Barnacle Shambler, why is black hating on blue? Maybe this belongs in block where enemy and ally color associations are reversed? Or maybe a water world?

This is a bit of a stretch, I admit. Why is blue sacrificing creatures? I honestly don't know. The name came from the art, the trigger came from the name, and the effect came from the color+trigger combination. Seems like this could be terrible in limited but a monster in a combo deck.

I am compelled to share with you the feint sensation that I am underwater as I type this. Maybe the art is that compelling or my imagination that powerful. Or maybe I'm just hungry and have low blood sugar.

It's funny, the line between creepy but awesome and full-on disturbing. Most removal spells walk this line. White spells tend not to be disturbing unless you really put yourself in the shoes of a creature stuck in an endless ring of oblivion; red spells tend not to evoke anything beyond "very badly burned;" but black spells come the closest to particularly gory or horrific effects. Terror's not so bad—it just melts your mind with fear. Doom Blade's okay, you're just dead now. Spells like Disfigure, Feast of the Unicorn or my recent The Happening get a lot closer to touching a nerve that we might not want to touch. Magic should be fun and even though violence and sometimes even malevolence are central to the game, they need to be abstracted to the point where we're comfortable selling these cards to eight-year-olds. Does Drown cross that line? I don't know. It helps that this particular image is just a stone statue and not a wild-eyed human in her last throes. Too far? See what I mean?

1 comment:

  1. I'm stealing these for Wedge World! They'd get a few tweaks though...

    Barnacle Shambler would probably lose "or blocks," since it's a little hard to grok as is (and it doesn't make sense to me that you'd both hate islands and want to be playing islands).

    Lonely place seems like it needs a black component. It also needs a timing restriction (like "At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control...") to prevent players in Limited from cycling through all of their dorks to find their bombs every game.

    Drown seems fine as "Destroy target non-blue creature."

    I don't worry too much about the art/imagery on Magic cards... you'd have to push much harder at the current boundaries before you started getting results close to the effects of current video games and movies (although the art on Inquisition of Kozilek is pretty creepy).