Tuesday, August 9, 2011

CCDD 080911—Magnesium Heartbreak

Cool Card Design of the Day
8/9/2011 - There are very few red cards that destroy a creature outright and even fewer have been printed in Modern Magic. Fissure, Cinder Cloud, and Aftershock are all old examples. Dark Temper is recent, but only mono-red in the most technical of senses. I'm not about to propose that "destroy target creature" should be added or shifted into red's color pie, but that doesn't mean there won't be some unusual exceptions from time to time.

Mechanically, we have what is effectively a modal spell. "Choose one—Molten Frame meets Smash to Smithereens; or red Vendetta." The flavor's my favorite part though. The concept (I know the art doesn't portray it yet) is that you are causing the target's heart to explode by über-stimulating their emotions. Since artifact creatures aren't accustomed to having feelings, they're easier to affect and you can direct the heartbreak toward their controller. Living creatures will die too, but you have to get close enough that the blast will catch you in it. Finally, red creatures are already too crazy for this passionmancy to affect them.

What do you think? Is there still room for exceptions to red's modus operandi? Does Magnesium Heartbreak qualify? How would you do it?


  1. While I personally have experimented with red "destroy creature" effects, generally as an extension of their wall-hate (i.e. "destroy target creature with power 1 or less"), I think the flavor of your design here really just wants to be Detonate for artifact creatures. The nonred clause feels like an arbitrary color-pie conversion.

  2. I'd love to see "Destroy target creature with power 1 or less."

    I don't really buy the whole "heartbreak" thing but the card's mechanics in the abstract are interesting. I'm also a fan of when red gets the occasional outright creature destruction, since it's basically just an extension of its direct damage. "This deals as much damage as it needs to destroy this creature."

  3. To me, the flavor here is tenuous at best, and doesn't convince me there's a good reason for such a confused combination of effects.

    For one, without your paragraph explaining the flavor, I wouldn't have had any idea what the card represented. Two, even after hearing your explanation, it seems to me you've gotten it backwards.

    Creatures with emotions are *easier* to manipulate, and thus can often be convinced to harm their controllers. Red has a huge body of work supporting this idea quite literally, just think of Act of Treason and friends.

    An artifact creature, however, when assumed to be a construct with no emotions, can't be convinced to betray its owner. It just does whatever it was 'programmed' to do. If you want to destroy it, you have to do it yourself.

    Lastly, though I think my interpretation is the one most in line with logic and precedent, in neither interpretation does the nonred targeting restriction make much sense.

  4. I like theorizing red creature destruction, but the nonred clause seems iffy. If anything, red is great at killing red creatures or being anti-red (think 90% of mountainwalkers and Vulshok Refugee). The other part of the spell is okay though, it is a good drawback.

    In my planned color-shifted set (the 2nd set of my custom block), I'm pretty sure I'm including a red Damnation/Wrath of God called "Explosion". The extension of Wrath is easy to see for red as just like black, red gets either half-sweepers (like Chain Reaction and Earthquake to black's Mutilate and Black Sun's Zenith) or expensive superkillers (like Obliterate and Decree of Annihilation to black's Decree of Pain and Hex). For the same reasons black could get Damnation, red could get "Explosion" (the best name I could come up with that evokes the same feeling as Wrath/Damnation).

  5. "Nonred" does seem to break up the flow of the card and feel a bit vestigial when most of the interest is between artifact or not.

  6. "Passionmancy" seems like it would be a very different brand of magic. Barry White, planeswalker?

  7. I think this would feel redder as:
    "~ deals damage to target creature equal to that creature's toughness. If that creature is an artifact creature, ~ deals that much damage to its controller. Otherwise, ~ deals that much damage to you."
    [i]Nothing will stop a resourceful pyromancer. Surface too reflective? Blast it from behind.[/i]

  8. I really dislike red "destroy creature" effects, unless they hit the flavor just so. This seems to be a far stretch to the flavor, really, since in a fantasy setting you do not think of X-men's Magneto power removing the metal from your body, but rather a fire ray bolt steam of some sort.

    I found Tom LaPille recent article on red and black removals quite usefull on this subject.