Saturday, May 14, 2011

Japanese Card of the Day: Giftstone of Dohzo

Within a few days, I'm going to start another blog about teaching yourself to play Magic in Japanese. It will focus on language learning, but each post will also contain a card design inspired by a Japanese word or phrase. I'll simultaneously post just the card designs in this Goblin Artisan blog too, since it may be of interest to any readers of this blog.

The first one is based on the word Dohzo. It means "please, go ahead," and it's used to offer a gift or a seat, give permission to do something, ask a guest to come inside, etc. When playing Magic, "Dohzo" (along with a hand gesture) is sometimes used to pass the turn.

This is a marriage of Bloodletter Quill and Jinxed Choker

I like effects that give your opponent control of your permanent. (As long as it doesn't lead to a format-defining combo deck!) I think the idea of giving a self-harming card to the opponent after you've milked benefit from it is amusing. 

While I needed this particular card to have its own built-in Donate effect (because I want to get people to use the word Dohzo), in general it might be better if it was left for the players to build their own combo. It's more satisfying if you've built the combo yourself. Also, a card like this would require three abilities - a benefit, a drawback, and a way to give it to another player, so it might end up looking clunky. (It's interesting to try to think of a way to merge two of those three abilities into one.)

On the other hand, it's not likely that we'll get a large selection of Donate effects. Mark Rosewater discussed Donate-like cards in this article; Donate caused the dominance of Donate-Illusions of Grandeur decks at one time, and Donate effects in general created a big design constraint on the design of cards with dangerous drawbacks. So considering how an open-ended donate effect carries inherent problems, it's probably ok for some cards with drawbacks to be designed with their own closed donate ability.

Somewhat recently, a weakened donate effect has been printed in the form of Bazaar Trader. I like how it could be part of a casual combo deck while probably being too fragile to take over tournaments. (Or if it could be used, it would need another combo piece to give it haste or protection, which would balance it?) It could also be fun as a tool for deal-making in long multiplayer games.

What I do want to see more of are cards that exchange control of permanents like Juxtapose. They're very tricky, mischievous, and fun. The last one we've seen is Puca's Mischief in Shadowmoor, and I wonder why there haven't been more. 

I think "exchange control" effects that only exchange cards of the same type are balanced and printable, since the only permanents you can be sure of your opponent playing are creatures and lands (and in the current meta, Planeswalkers). Not many lands have self-destructive abilities, and most decks have some way to deal with creatures. Unlike effects that just donate something, they are playable without being put into a degenerate combo. I'd like to be able to cast a Legerdemain to trade a Vampire Lacerator for my opponent's Wurmcoil Engine and have the spell double as another way my deck can get rid of its own Abyssal Persecutor

I guess a set can only have so many creature steal effects, and exchanging will be like a stealing effect that's only slightly weaker most of the time. But I wonder if this could be one of the abilities to be permanently shifted into Red's color pie. I think it's certainly mischievous and conditional enough to be so.

No comments:

Post a Comment