Tuesday, May 17, 2011

21 Ways to Design a Card: Part 2b - The Most Annoying Card Ever

If you've read my previous posts, you'll know that I've been making cards that draw inspiration from common phrases players say during a Magic game. These cards are based off of the phrases "I'll let it through" and "I concede." The second one resulted in an annoying card to play against.

"I'll Let it Through:"

This can be used on the opponent to alpha strike for the win, or to protect your creatures from a Pyroclasm.

"I concede:"

I tried to think when a player would ever want to play an effect that is based on this word. Presumably, the caster is going to lose the game somehow. 

I made a card last year that makes you happy to lose the game (or at least makes your opponent afraid to win the game.) It gives you a bonus in the next game if you lose this one. 

But this card had the problem (besides having absurd text length and complexity level) that the current game might be the last one in the match so that you don't benefit from the ultimate.

While designing a card about conceding, I had the same problem. In the end, I had to get a little bit of help from Karn.

Life After Death 3(W/B)(W/B)
Choose one — Restart the game with your opening hand size reduced by one and your starting life total reduced by 5 until you complete a game; or you lose this game, and in the next game your opening hand size is increased by one and your starting life total is increased by 5.
Cycling 2 (2, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

The "until you complete a game" clause is meant to make the first effect cumulative; the intention is that if you restart a game you're about to lose, and then restart the game again, you will start with -2 hand and -10 life.

Maybe the second effect should also have that clause just to make them work the same way, though I shudder to think that the player would effectively get a chance for a free reset (-0 hand, -0 life) in the next game should s/he draw this card again.

This card might be more balanced as a sorcery so that the player holding this could be caught off guard with a surprise burn spell or pump spell and lose when s/he thought s/he had one more turn to make the call.


  1. If Take the Brunt only worked on yourself it would be white and if it only worked on opponents it would be green or red. I think having the option makes it multicolored.

    I actually like Life After Death a fair bit. I like the sorcery version better and I think both sides should be symmetrical. The card should exile itself from future games so it's harder to force a draw. Also, it shouldn't have cycling. Yes, you don't want to cast it when you're winning but an effect this powerful needs a card commitment like that.

  2. Life After Death is definitely interesting. I'm no tournament player, but might it cause weird situations where you *could* concede, but you drag out a losing game in hopes of finding Life After Death?

    I guess it becomes of a mini-game, where the extra time might pay off in a better chance to win, but also increases the chance of a match draw.

  3. * And yes, its ability to infinitely draw a match seems really annoying. In a control mirror, you can basically guarantee that you never lose a match, just draw one.