Thursday, July 7, 2011

CCDD 070711—Crystal Cocoon

Cool Card Design of the Day
7/7/2011 - Cocoon was never a strong card. In Magic 2010 and 2011, they rebuilt some poorly executed cards from ages past into newer, simpler, more resonant cards, Primal Cocoon being one of them. Except it's not quite as resonant since there's no enforced gestation period, and unlike some other re-imagined cards in the new core sets, Primal Cocoon still sucks to actually play.

Crystal Cocoon doesn't suck. It's also the first Magic cocoon that actually transforms a creature into a butterfly. Y'know, the thing that caterpillars use cocoons to become?

There are some obvious comparisons here to Beast Within, since that replaces an opponent's creature with a vanilla 3/3, and to Arachnus Web in that it is basically a Pacifism variant. Maybe Crystal Cocoon needs to cost more. Maybe it needs more limits on what it can target (perhaps instead of being an Arrest it can be an Entangling Vines), but at least it does what cocoons do and doesn't suck.

Is creating a flying 1/3 out of color for green? I don't think it is, in a case like this. It's not like you can just straight-up cast the butterfly. You're either giving it to an opponent or you're sacrificing one of your own creatures and spending a targeted effect on it. Which brings me to the other questionable aspect of the card: Is skulking the right trigger? It could require the creature's controller to pay 3 to break the cocoon or perhaps it falls off when s/he controls 6+ lands or something. We could take a page from Roc Egg's book...

Anything that involves time counters to keep track of a required gestation period will be too bulky to be worth the effort. Unless they serve double duty as the card's reward:


  1. I think the card would be more interesting if the resulting creature (the butterfly token) were a bit better. I'd almost always cast either of the first two designs on my opponent's best creature, because it's either arrested or changed into a crappy defensive flier.

    I do like the idea of a trigger based on land count, as it would tie in both with green's mechanical strengths (i.e. ramp) as well as a higher level conceptual idea of season's passing. It might even be a ripe opportunity for a landfall trigger, something like:

    Mothra's Big Cottony Ball of Love (U)
    Enchantment - Aura
    Enchant creature
    Enchanted creature is 0/1 and loses all abilities.
    Landfall - Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a seasoning counter on Cardname.
    At the beginning of each upkeep, if CARDNAME has 4 or more seasoning counters on it, sacrifice enchanted creature and put a completely inappropriate green creature token onto the battlefield.

    Wordy, and a challenge to figure out how far one can push the color pie in the name of flavor, but a worthwhile task I think.

  2. If Skinshifter can turn into a Bird, and if Hornet Queen can exist, then I think a reasonably large flying Insect token is perfectly fine (for a quirky one-off card).

  3. I really like all of these versions. I think the token size could be less quirky - maybe a 2/2 flyer.

    With the last one, I really like the duality as a card that can boost your guy or tap down theirs, but it's too dangerous to pump the opponent's creature just to buy 3 turns. It could say, "1G: return this to your hand." or "1G: Destroy this." That way it's still a risky removal spell but not guaranteed to backfire in 3 turns, and it's just as good for casting on your own guy.

    They still need the line "Enchant creature" so that could squish the text somewhat. My respect for the M10 cocoon that pulled it off as a common.

  4. For what it's worth, the token was originally 3/3 but I thought that was too similar to Beast Within and also an awfully large Butterfly, but then, what doesn't come in giant size on Dominaria?