Thursday, May 26, 2011

CCDD 052611—Pervasive Instinct and King Predator

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/26/2011 - Green doesn't get to kill creatures directly. Usually it gets the job done by presenting a must-block creature of its own, but recently it's been getting creature replacement like Lignify and Beast Within. Since the paucity of creature removal in green is one of the biggest drawbacks to my favorite color, I often think of other ways to alleviate the issue while sticking to the color pie. Pervasive Instinct is the theme I come back to most often:

I'm quite fond of the flavor of making everything basically forget anything it knew and just become a single-minded predator. Functionally, this does everything the color needs it to since opposing creature size or numbers are rarely green's concern. Once you get rid of the tricky abilities of the other color's creatures, they are unlikely to withstand the natural strength of your own.

My main concern with Pervasive Instinct is how much it can warp games in an unfun way for the players who count on their creature abilities but can't deal with the enchantment, either because they're black or red or because they were just not counting on needing to disenchant anything. We could stick this ability on a creature, but then it's almost too easy to get rid of. Perhaps Hexproof will do the trick:


  1. My issue with "lose all abilities" designs is always the question of "What happens to Lhurgoyf?" I'm aware the rules have an answer for that question, but it's not necessarily one that will be immediately intuitive or apparent. I can only assume Wizards shares those concerns as they have never printed a card that removed a creature's abilities without also setting its power and toughness to a specific number. Which leads me to thinking the King Predator here might keep a similar concept but avoid those issues by instead being something like, "Each other creature is 5/5 and loses all abilities."

  2. I personally like the text "has no abilities" or "loses all abilities." But I think Wizards have been avoiding this text because of rules concerns.

    If a non-creature permanent has a static ability that's making it a creature, and another effect causes all creatures to lose all abilities, a contradiction seemingly happens. Does it turn back into a non-creature, regain its ability because it's no longer a creature, then turn back into a creature again with its ability?

    Actually, I think this problem has been solved already because of the layering rules of static effects. But maybe Wizards is concerned about player confusion, or the possibility of the complications resurfacing if the static effects rules need to change in the future.

    This problem doesn't happen with effects that say a creature turns into "a X/Y creature with no abilities" because that kind of effect makes sure it stays a creature.

    King Predator seems like the kind of effect green deserves. But I wish it said "Creatures you control get +1/+1. Creatures opponents control have no abilities." But then it would have to be King Praetor..?

    I guess there's an indirect appeal in making all creatures lose abilities too (feeling rewarded for being in the fatty color.) But I wish it didn't make the opponent's creatures also get +1/+1. I think it would allow your opponent to double block more effectively so that only one of his guys dies, even if you are outclassing his creatures.

  3. I'm quite fond of Chah's assymetrical suggestion but even fonder of Can's P/T setting suggestion. I'm thinking 3/3 since green so loves making beasts and elephants but we can let development make that call. The +1/+1 is better flavor (I like imagining Royal Assassins swinging mindlessly like Grizzly Bears) but the P/T setting version opens up much fewer questions and also creates a much cleaner board state ...until some of those creatures get Giant Growth'd, Moldervine Cloak'd or grafted, at least.

    @Kirblar024 points out that Hexproof is almost certainly too much on a creature with as game-warping an effect as this and is probably right. At the same time, I hate to see him perfectly vulnerable to Go for the Throat, but semi-untargetability just seems to fiddly for a card that's all about removing complication.

  4. Making everything 3/3 is great!

    That makes me think, how about this:
    Enchantment (Or creature)
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, name a nonland permanent type. All other permanents of that type are 3/3 creatures with no abilities.