Monday, April 18, 2011

CCDD 041811—Azax-Azog, The Demon Thane

Cool Card Design of the Day
4/18/2011 - I love designing Demons because they almost always deliver a devastating or efficient monster at some kind of twisted cost. Designers love tension, often to our own detriment—it's very easy to go overboard. But what's really fun about designing Demons is the cleverness it takes to make a good drawback. Y'know, the kind that a proper black mage will have little trouble turning into a positive.

Azax-Azog was described on the mothership last week and this art was nearby. While I'm certain that a number of the thanes described were accompanied by unrelated art, I'm of the impression this art was for Azax-Azog. Behold:

His main schtick is ruling others through fear, but he also clearly flies. Flying is obviously required, but intimidate may not be necessary since his last ability plays off of that. I kept it on because it's very clear where the other is up for rather more interpretation. Now onto that funky text:

Okay, so he slowly kills himself. So what? He's a 3/2 evasion creature with a free Unstable Mutation. That kills the living hell out of your opponents' dudes. Unblocked, he will swing for 15 points of damage over five turns. That averages out to just a 3 power evasion guy for 4... that killed up to five of your opponent's creatures.

I'm pretty happy with that, but one last thought: I expect a lot of players would happily trade the intimidate (esp since he's two colors) for haste. That would certainly better justify the red in his cost better (he's red b/c his description was red).


  1. Sorry, but this art is confirmed to be for Chancellor of the Dross. There's been a wallpaper up on the Mirrodin flash site for quite some time.

  2. Regardless of the art snafu, I think you've got to be a little more concerned with his ability presenting too strong an aura of "downside", which just isn't appropriate at Mythic.

    This was something that always drove me nuts about Shawn's Prisoner Legends during the cycle challenge of GDS2, no matter how much he insisted that casual players could intuitively grok their power level. You just have to know that somewhere, somehow, a player is going to simply not want to attack with this guy because they don't want it to shrink.

  3. Is there a way to re-tweak this guy so he moves his counters on to other creatures? (Kinda in the same vein as Carnifex Demon, only with an attack trigger?)

  4. Jay,

    Design avoids having more than one evasion ability on a creature because, in ost combat situations, one of them behaves redundantly. So, in general, you could just pick one and either change or remove the ability. A demon should definitely have one of them, at least.

    Your drawback is unique, which is good, and it definitely counts as a drawback, but it doesn't feel like the player is being constricted by the demon. The player should feel like they paid a price to employ the services of the demon. Like a "This is what you get for dealing with the... Demon" sort of deal.

    Anyway, your ability is unique, and I enjoyed this post since demon design is indeed interesting to me. As a designer, I want to be able to come up with cool drawbacks, too! You dont regularly het to do those with nondemons.