Thursday, October 20, 2011

CCDD 102011—Under the Bed

Cool Card Design of the Day
10/20/2011 - Cellar Door is based off a fun horror trope, guessing what horror lurks within the darkness of your basement, in your closet or under your bed. The card plays a strong role in the blue self-milling Zombie deck and the thematic connection isn't bad, but it's far from the best in the set. It kinda changes the suspense from what-twisted-horror-is-on-the-other-side to how-many-zombies-are-down-there-and-how-often-will-they-climb-up.

Here's my take:

There's definitely something under there, but what is it? If you can figure it out, it can't hurt you. It's the danger of the unknown that's the problem. I like that Under the Bed creates a mini-game that requires the victim (aka your opponent) to actively wonder what the worst thing you could have under there might be, much like a child wonders what kind of hideous monster is under his bed.

This card would obviously need some development to determine the right cost to play and activate, whether the monster should be free to cast or whether additional conditions need to be applied to what you can search out (maybe you have to declare a creature type, for instance).

My original pass on this design had some more suspense with an it's-coming-up-the-steps type mechanic, but the text is already cramped and it just didn't warrant its own weight:


  1. With the second card, how does your opponent find out if they guessed right? Because if they got it wrong the first time, they will know what it is and get it right the second time. I have a suggestion, add a bluff cost.

    X: Target opponent names a creature card, then chooses and reveals a card exiled with Under the Bed. If it isn't the named card and X is equal to or greater than its converted mana cost, you may cast it without paying its mana cost.

    I added the choose an exiled card wording because random copy effects might give a player an Under the Bed with multiple exiled cards under it, (like Mizzium Transreliquat plus Mangara's Tome.)

  2. I think the first one is best. I'd just add that you get to cast it for free. I think considering you have a number of fiddly things you have to do, including winning the mini-game, it's kind of a let down you do all that and you still have to pay for it.

    Maybe make the sac ability cost 3 or 4 so it's not too cheap.

    But this is development stuff. In terms of design, that first card is absolutely brilliant. I totally want to play it. Well done.

  3. Wouldn't the name "Under the Bed" be more appropriate for an enchantment or instant/sorcery?

  4. Having the card be completely dead if they guess correctly doesn't sound appealing. It's more fun if you can try again. Maybe something like this:

    Lurk in Shadows
    Search your library for a creature card with and exile it face-down. Target opponent guesses the name of the card. If your opponent guessed incorrectly, you may cast it. Otherwise, put it into your graveyard and return CARDNAME to your hand. Shuffle your library.

  5. I like how it makes you play lots of quirky one-of creatures. Also, the amount of mana you have gives a subtle hint about what it might be.

    The problem with most creature tutors is that it reduces variance, but with this one, if you keep getting the same key creature with this, the opponent will know.

    This card gave me some ideas.

    Possessed Werewolf 2GG
    Creature - Human Werewolf
    When Possessed Werewolf enters the battlefield, search your library for a card and exile it under Posessed Monk face down, then shuffle your library.
    At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, turn the exiled card face up. If it’s a creature card, put it onto the battlefield and sacrifice Possessed Werewolf.

  6. I think the card is more fun if it just directly puts the creature onto the battlefield. Unfortunately, that makes it into tooth and nail. Still, at the right cost

    Under the Bed 4GG
    Search your library for a creature card with and set it aside facedown. Target opponent guesses the name of the card. Reveal that card If your opponent guessed wrong, put it onto the battlefield. If they guessed correctly, put it into your graveyard. Shuffle your library.
    /More terrible than your worst nightmare./

    This is probably about as safe to print as Summoners Trap, and the guessing game aspect is neat. While I can understand the impulse to make this card an artifact, artifacts typically refer to discrete objects. "Under the bed" sounds more like a spell. YMMV

    If I were designing an artifact:

    Cursed Bed 2
    4, t: Tap target creature and put a +1/+1 counter on it.
    If you control no untapped permanents, transform Cursed Bed.
    Unending Nightmare
    Creature- Demon
    Other permanents you control don't untap.

  7. Wow the flavor of Cursed Bed 2 is awesome.