Thursday, June 23, 2011

21 Ways to Design a Card: Cards Based on Aaron's RCC #4 - #5

Here are even more cards based on Aaron's Random Card Comment of the Day.

#4: Crazed Skirge
See the comment here.

Basically, the comment is about black haste creatures. Haste in Black makes it possible to design haste creatures that are different from Red's haste creatures, such as small flying haste creatures.

Unfortunately, not a whole lot of black haste creatures have been made, and Aaron guesses that part of it might be due to black small haste creatures feeling weird or unnatural somehow.

Mark Rosewater explains why there was a great shift in the keywords that each color gets, during Time Spiral block. It's interesting to see how Mark explains the flavor of black's first strike in this article:
Black is the most opportunistic color. If something will give it an edge, black will use it. Black doesn’t allow things like morals or “playing fair” to get in its way. Thus first strike in black can be flavored as black’s willingness to fight unfairly. Black’s edge comes not from training or experience but from underhandedness. 
While Mark Rosewater also adds that this flavor comes at a stretch, I think this flavor can also be played up on black creatures with haste.

Black creatures with haste shouldn't feel like "I want to attack and start dealing damage as quickly as possible." It should feel like a sucker punch, like "I want to hit you when you're not ready."

Here's one such example.

This is a card where you want to hit the opponent while most of his creatures are tapped out, and you can enjoy a sneaky "gotcha!" feeling.

This is another card you want to attack with when the opponent doesn't have blockers ready:

I understand that lifelink doesn't usually go on common creatures with power 3 or higher, because that could prevent games from reaching their conclusion. However, I think it should be ok if the creature is easy to trade with. And if a player were to build his limited deck to enchant or equip this card, or combo it with another evasion-granting creature, that kind of synergy-building should be allowed.

I went on to design a 5/1 haste lifelinker for 4BB. But I decided that this one would offer better gameplay if it had trample, not haste.

I wonder if this would cause problems. I kind of like how it makes you think about the deck's build - your deck's aggressiveness / defensiveness, other six-drops competing for space, as well as synergy with graveyard recursion, combat tricks, etc.

Aaron also talks about how green could use haste to get around sorcery speed destruction.

It would be great to have a card like this in Limited.

While searching for Wurm art for that card, I got another card inspired by art:

#5: Kei Takahashi
Read the comment here.

Aaron talks about how the Legends expansion did something good. It debuted gold cards and legendary creatures, which are extremely appealing to players - but it did so without mining all of the potential space, leaving future expansions room to explore further.

Now, all I need to do for this exercise is to design a mechanic that looks so new and so flashy and so awesome that it would cause sets to fly off the shelves, but in a way that leaves enough unexplored space for many future sets to come.




This is the kind of thing I should think about every time I design a set, but it's also kind of a huge task for a daily exercise.

For this post, I'll just repost a twist to the level up mechanic which I posted on the GDS2 wiki during that contest.

I think they purposefully didn't explore everything with the level up mechanic in Rise of the Eldrazi. (After all, it was just one standalone set.) Magic already has a precedence of mechanics reminiscent of level up in Whirling Dervish and Sengir Vampire, and I think something like this would be a natural extension of the level up mechanic.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I'll be returning to posting other ways to design cards within this week. But I'll also continue posting cards based on Aaron's Random Card Comment of the Day in parallel, since it's giving me lots of card ideas.


  1. Here's a point in which Mark Rosewater has it backwards and Aaron Forsythe and R&D got it right. It only takes a few playtests to understand that Black doesn't want haste but flash, and likewise green doesn't want flash but haste. Fortunately, developers usually win this battle because they work after design is done with the set, so we get a better game in the end.

  2. I still think Green should be the one with flash creatures of the surprise-blocker-fatty kind.

    With haste, I think they should forget about the distinction of secondary and tertiary colors for haste, and just put it in both Black and Green whereever applicable. Green should get it at lower rarities.

    There should be no problem with Green having more creature keywords since it's the creature color. The only problem would be if other colors lack keywords to use for creature cycles, etc, and this doesn't cause that.

    Also, red, green, and black would get haste on different types of creatures, so there's no problem of having all the colors feel the same.

  3. Right. Red gets small things with haste, green gets big things, and black gets evasive things. They can all coexist.

    I don't think black wants flash any more than it wants haste; the main reason it was given haste is to broaden the space for that mechanic. I don't see what space gets opened up with more flash in black.