Friday, June 17, 2011

CCDD 061711—Spined Ythid & Apocalypse Harbinger

Cool Card Design of the Day
6/17/2011 - Here's the last member of my quicky monster cycle. This ability kind of rehashes the oblivion ring variant that has been mentioned twice on this site fairly recently, but it just felt extra right here and none of the other when-you-return-those-creatures effects I thought of could compete.

Since it's extra easy to make black-aligned monsters, here's a bonus hulking entity of evil and destruction.


  1. I think the white one is worth simplifying into having just a flat cost for exiling a creature rather than scaling with size. Less text, and the balance of it isn't especially affected. It's a really cool card, by the way, though equally valid in black.

  2. Why bother with a cost to exile? It already costs tons and if it dies they get the creatures back. Honestly, if it's not a may, it's more of a draw back. 6/6 for 5?

    Big braids is fine, but those abilities are totally random together.

  3. Spined Ythid doesn't give the creatures back, Duncan. It gives them to you.

    It's true that Apocalypse Harbinger's two abilities aren't linked in any way, but almost no instance of protection or shroud ties directly to its owners other abilities.

  4. I still stick with not requiring a cost on Ythid, considering he costs more than a Titan.

    I thought the feeling you were going for with harbinger was inevitablity. In that case I'd go for shroud (Which is much cleaner than protection). It's more about evoking a feeling, which is what I meant about feeling random. I mean White Knight has pro black and first which isn't random because he's a White. Knight. Still, this Guy feels awkward if only because he's often better dead. Maybe vigilance?

    Apocalypse Herald 2BBBB
    Creature- Horror
    At the beginning of every upkeep, each player sacrifices another permanent. If a player can't, they lose the game.
    /Only doom remains./

    You really shouldn't be able to sacrifice him to himself if your going for innevitible evil.

    My main feeling is that you're designing big, splashy creatures in this cycle, and they're color intensive enough that pushing the power level rewards focused limited strategies instead of being stupid bombs. So makem simple and splashy.

  5. Cool designs, Jay. I'm constantly impressed by the quality and consistency of your CCDD columns, though I do have some thoughts on how you can take your already good ideas and give them just that extra bit of polish.

    For obvious reasons, your Apocalypse Harbinger reminds me of one of my own cards:

    Harbinger of the Apocalypse
    Creature – Angel
    Whenever Harbinger of the Apocalypse attacks, exile all other permanents. Return them to the battlefield under their owners’ control at the beginning of the next end step.

    (That's from a CF article I contributed to a few months ago, a good read if you haven't seen it yet:

    That the two cards happen to have essentially the same name is nothing more than a coincidence (it's both a known phrase and a fantasy trope), but it's a happy coincidence that allows us to make an instructive comparison.

    Because of their name, both cards bring to mind Apocalypse (, an iconic card in Magic's history. Much as Pestilence Demon pays obvious tribute to the original Pestilence, you would expect AH and HoA to remind us of the original Apocalypse in an interesting and creative fashion, though only one of them does.

    Harbinger of the Apocalypse mirrors the original Apocalypse both in casting cost and in the nature of its effect. Both cards cost 2CCC, and both cards exile all permanents. Anyone that knows of the original Apocalypse would instantly recognize its distinctive signature in Harbinger of the Apocalypse, and applaud the subtlety and poetry of the reference.

    Apocalypse Harbinger, on the other hand, is just confusing. It costs 2CCCC, and its two abilities have nothing at all to do with the mechanics or flavor of the original Apocalypse. People who are mostly unfamiliar with older cards won't know the difference, but I'd imagine most players would have the same reaction I did upon first reading AH's design: "Huh?"

    That being said, your Apocalypse Harbinger is an interesting design that deserves to be evaluated on its own merits, which can't happen as long as it carries the baggage of a wildly misleading name. So give the empress a new name, Bastian.

    (As long as it's not Moonchild.)

  6. A little obscure trivia. The Ythid appears to be a creature taken from the book "Under the Green Star" by Lin Carter. An ythid is "a reptile twice the length of a full-grown tiger, with a saw-tooth spine and lashing barbed tail." Also, many of the fundamental ideas for the movie Avatar also came from the book.

    1. I should have mentioned that the creature is also called an "ythid" in the book.