Wednesday, January 4, 2012

CCDD 010412—Accelerate Mortality, Brother's Betrayal, and To the Gallows

Cool Card Design of the Day
1/3/2012 Today, I want to share a couple interesting black removal spells. While I am suggesting that these are more in keeping with black's color philosophy than Doom Blade, you don't have to accept that position to evaluate them on their own. None of these could go into any set, but each of them could find a home in one or more appropriate places.

Accelerate Mortality is the Brainspoil update I was pondering on Twitter a couple days ago. I struggled a bit finding the correct flavor for the effect and I'm sure there's a better creative execution remaining, but I quite like the effect for black because it's a hugely versatile removal spell that shares the same can't-deal-with-enchantments weakness that the color does as a whole.

I prefer it as a sorcery because the instant version requires an extra bit of text to keep its drawback relevant. Accelerate Mortality could only be printed in a set with a sizeable aura subtheme, like Rise of the Eldrazi. I'm not sure this should be so cheap, but Jonathan Woodward had this in his GDS2 set and assures me that the sorcery speed is considerable enough that it's fine at 1B.

Next up is Brother's Betrayal. It's kind of a point-removal version of Endemic Plague, maybe a black Rivals' Duel, or even a Dead Ringers that can be read by people who didn't dual-major in Math and English. It should probably only be printed in a tribal set or at least a set with a Ghostly Changeling in it or something. Brother's Betrayal is dirt cheap because its restriction is massive. Most decks would probably only use this as a sideboard card for the mirror match. This should probably be uncommon—not for complexity or power level but because of how infrequently it will be useful.

Test of Loyalty remains a very flavorful removal spell that I would love to see printed at some point. You can check it out here. The card probably needs one of the tweaks suggested in the comments of that page, but is otherwise ready to slip into any set where family, loyalty or honor are major themes.

To the Gallows opens the field of possible targets up pretty wide. It can kill anything provided it's not "worth less" than one of your own proud achievements. The requirement to control something isn't trivial, but it is something most decks want to be doing anyhow. The fact that it needs to be more expensive than what you're removing means this won't fit in a sit-back-and-remove-everything strategy. It also limits how much of mana differential you can gain over your opponent without putting an X in the spell's cost.

I love how To the Gallows fits the arrogance of black's philosophy. "You got your new tv for 4 mana? Great deal, man. Oh, check out the sweet flat-screen I just picked up for 6. Not quite a 'bargain' but it was totally worth it for the surround sound system. Only the best for my family!" This could go in any expert set. Too much rules-speech for core.

Finally, we have Wyeth's Verdict which is new to the M13 file. It's based off of Fatal Blow and its ilk. It was originally just a simplified version with the can't-regenerate rider removed, but we realized if we were going to use it at all and if we're keeping cantrips that this is the perfect place for a cantrip: The 'free' draw actually feels like a wicked reward for finishing off some poor soul. In contrast, Recover just kind of has the cantrip as a random bonus to increase your card advantage.

I love that Wyeths' Verdict can kill any creature if you can just wound it first. We could probably use a sharks-smelling-blood theme or similar as well. We put Wyeth's name on it because we're aiming to make the M13 cantrips the common planeswalker spells. Now that I mention the shark idea and remember that Wyeth is a pirate, I wonder if we couldn't leverage some shark-feeding flavor. Pretty sure this could go in any set (at least w/o the cantrip). Could it cost 1B?


  1. A few great takes on black removal. I agree that just because it's generally been "non-black", it shouldn't be the norm.

    Accelerated Mortality is my fave of this bunch.

  2. A suggestion for Brother's Betrayal: I'd have it read "Destroy target creature if it shares a creature type with a creature you control." Not a big change but I think it reads better.