Tuesday, August 2, 2011

CCDD 080211—Deep Study & Draw from the Well

Cool Card Design of the Day
8/2/2011 - Sign in Blood is a great black card. Simple, useful, even versatile. If we can have two cards for two mana with a drawback, can we have three cards for three mana? What other kinds of drawbacks can we have for black card draw apart from causing life loss? I came to this question via the answer—which came from a top-design on this art from noah-kh (which you will notice a lot of in the last and upcoming months).

This drawback reminds me a lot of the old-school spell-casting from D&D where it took a wizard more than one turn to cast some of his better spells and you could prevent that spell from being successfully cast by interrupting him and breaking his concentration. This effect could easily be blue, but in this case, a dark mage is studying a wicked tomb to the exclusion of all else.

Correct wording is probably "At the beginning of your next upkeep step, if blah blah, draw 3 cards." This could instead be an enchantment that tries to sacrifice itself for cards each upkeep until you successfully avoid life-loss. We could also entertain a less black-and-white result where you draw one less card for each damage you took, but that seems like more text for looser flavor.

EDIT: As black as the art is, there's just no arguing that this is a blue card. Por vu, apt commenters:

And since that leaves the question I posed at the top unanswered, I've made a new answer for you.

There's been speculation that buyback will return in Innistrad. I have no idea whether that's true or not, but the horror setting makes for an obvious tweak to buyback that tempers the biggest problem with the mechanic. When the buyback price is mana, one need only reach a certain threshold of land before entering a perpetual card advantage loop. When the price is life, something much more difficult to replenish every turn, you must think before you buy your spell back the third or fourth time. See Slaughter.


  1. Blue card. I don't see what makes this black in the slightest.

    Let's make it red: "A pyromancer studying in a mountain cave."

    Green: "A druid studying in a forest glen."

    White: "A cleric studying in a quiet cathedral."

  2. Considering the drawback is of a defensive nature (as seen on Luminarch Ascension), I think you're unlikely to see this specific one on a black spell, as black is little more aggressive.

  3. Has there actually been speculation about buyback returning?

    Because that sounds like some speculation firmly rooted in "poorly constructed logic".

  4. Flashback is what's returning, if the cards found hidden in the D12 game code are accurate (why wouldn't they be?)

  5. This is awkward as a sorcery, if it's going to stick around it should just be an enchantment.

    Study in Pain 1BB
    At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Study in Pain and draw a card for each pain counter on it.
    Whenever you lose life, put a pain counter on Study in Pain.

    Study in Solitude 1WW
    At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Study in Solitude. If you lost no life last turn, draw three cards.

    Still think it works better in White than blue, which gets card draw in exactly these types of situations.

    Draw from the well seems above the curve. I mean, while it might look innocent, this card is basically Greed without the casting cost. Plus it cantrips for free and is basically unremovable. That's scary.

    A less broken version might be:

    Draw from the Well B
    Replicate B, Pay 2 life.
    Draw a card.

    This makes it a one time effect, which is way better than being able to use it to draw a extra cards for 3-5 turns.

  6. @ Alex - Yeah, I knew about Flashback. That's why I was confused about the assertion that people were speculating about buyback, especially since buyback leads to horribly repetitive game-states that make me want to punch people.

  7. ...which is sort of like "horror," right? :P

  8. Would argue the initial card is Wu or even only W in a (pursuit of knowledge) -a white enchantment- kind of way.

    As for the buyback of two life on draw from the well, wisperings of the muse has buyback 5... I would think that upping the lifecost, or changing it to 1 life and discard a card.