Wednesday, July 6, 2011

CCDD 070611—Displacer Beast

Cool Card Design of the Day
7/6/2011 - Translating existing fantasy tropes and monsters into your game is risky because if you don't nail it, the card will feel jarring to anyone familiar with the original, but it's usually worth that risk because when you do nail it, everyone will love it. Fuzzy feelings all around.

Well, I'm not so sure I nailed this one, so you'll have to settle for fuzzy feelers all around.

The most impressive thing about this card, is that I didn't plan the pun that introduced it. I mean, it's not a bad representation of a Displacer Beast. It still blinks away from the spells that try to kill it or contain it; it just doesn't blink in and out of combat. That's kind of okay since Magic always has its own twist on existing fantasy tropes but the bigger issue for my regular readers may be that I'm re-treading Mythogriff. -ish.

The funny thing is that I didn't start with the top-down idea of building a Displacer Beast. I was thinking about a form of shroud or regeneration that cost a card. Literally, "Discard a card: ~ gains hexproof until EOT." The idea being that you won't deny your opponent a 1:1, but you will deny them their chosen target. Thinking about what kind of creature would do that, it seemed like it would have to be some kind of semi-real or reality-traveling entity. Dot dot dot.

He's not perfect, but he's kind of cute. Y'know, in a mind-consuming cat/abomination kind of way.


  1. Hmm...

    "Whenever ~ becomes the target of a spell or ability, flip a coin. If you win the flip, counter that spell or ability."

    That would be a red card, though, naturally. And for the combat issue...

    "Whenever ~ blocks or becomes blocked, flip a coin. If you win the flip, remove ~ from combat."

    I'm not really a D&D person but the above pair of abilities would communicate to me the concept of something that tries to blink away from danger. And I suppose it echoes Frenetic Efreet in a way.

  2. Anurid Brushhopper?

  3. The card gave me an idea - a beast that comes into play with two Illusion copies of itself. (The illusions die when they are tageted.)

    It could be 3GU that gives a 2/2 and two Illusion 2/2s.

  4. WotC has stated that they don't want to put the few D&D creatures that are trademarked in their sets, probably because it would be disasterous if they ever lost the rights to D&D, but as a design exercise it's interesting and I like the card, but maybe it's not worth to use six lines of text when in most cases two can suffice.