Thursday, August 4, 2011

CCDD 080411—Dark Riders

Cool Card Design of the Day
8/4/2011 - I'm in Indianapolis today for GenCon, so I prepared this installment early. If you're there, come and say hi. If not, maybe next time. Either way, wish me luck: I'm pitching a couple non-Magic related boardgame designs to publishers for the first time.

Back to today's card. Haste is secondary in black, meaning that it sports the keyword from time to time but never at a significant level. Dark Riders, while better than Hill Giant or, uh, Scavenging Scarab (yikes), is no less appropriate or fair a card than Crypt Ripper.

I've got it an uncommon here, but it could certainly be common depending on the speed and needs of the set it belongs to.

I enjoy haste in black because it feels different than haste in red. Red haste always feels like charging: A foolhardy goblin running head-long into battle or a fearless beast released from its cage, raring to go. Black haste tends to feel rather more like this thing is literally coming out of nowhere or that it's been stalking you from the shadows for longer than you realized and has chosen this moment to strike. I love that Magic can convey all that with one keyword and a choice of color.


  1. This is colorshifted Talruum Minotaur. I prefer my black hasters with an ability attached that wouldn't be expected in red, making them feel "blacker."

  2. Hi, I stumbled onto this cool project, and wanted to lend a hand. I'd be willing to do the black analysis for you, Alex.

    As for the returning mechanic, I like Exalted the best of all the mechanics. It’s a simple, resonant mechanic that alters the way you build your deck (makes evasion better, exalted stacks well). Also, it’s a mechanic that appeals well to both Spike and Timmy. Exalted gives Spike a lot more ways to use his creatures, and Timmy is excited by the prospect of a single gigantic creature. Also, Timmy will like the large, splashy riders that will surely be put exalted creatures at larger rarities (e.g. Rafiq). In response to some of your concerns, I think it’s a little speculative to say that exalted isn’t conducive to the environment we would like for a core set. I understand that we want to show newer players what combat is usually like in Magic, and exalted does get in the way of that picture somewhat. Still, I feel like as long as we don’t flood the set with exalted creatures, beginners will still experience plenty of games that play out semi –normally. I admit, I really wish I was at Wizards right now, because market research on beginner’s reactions to exalted could change my view of it. I still feel like this mechanic still has enough potential to be worth put it into preliminary testing.

  3. As KingRitz said we have to consider how black aproaches haste, both mechanicly, and thematicly.
    I will look at cards in the current standard.

    Red, has a feeling of "race you to the 20 damage line" feel of haste. I try to attack all in, you attack all in, I drop my hasty guys, try to get your life low enough to burn you and finish this game. Thematicly it is a passionate urge, with no holding back, an all or nothing kind of deal, fitting with red's ideas.

    However, black approaches it differently, in a more sneeky way. Both hasty black infect creatures have a lure you into attacking in order to get those unaccounted poison counters. It also gives haste to reanimated creatures that will die on the next turn.Manor skeleton does not really fit the theme, but has generally been stated to feel a bit off as a card. Crypt reaper is also more of a surprise game ender, but still does not feel very black.

    I believe that black haste should be a rider for a surprise effect, more like an opportunistic strike when there are no blockers to get a one-of benefit, and then retain the creature to treaten to have that benefit again. I think of it as a sneak behind the lines and cut your resources. It would feel better if it has low power but a good bonus when dealing damage to a player, like dealing extra damage when unblocked, or -and this is certainly a color pie shift- keeping lands tapped.

    Still I believe haste has not found its proper place in black yet.