Wednesday, January 11, 2012

CCDD 011112—Ash Storm, Fiery Hail, Legageddon

Cool Card Design of the Day
1/11/2012 - With Stone Rain out of the picture for at least as long as Lightning Bolt was and quite possibly forever, old fans of land destruction are starved for succor. At first, they filled Stone Rain's slot with either bad LD (Demolish, Victorious Destruction) or none at all, but recently they've started to find more flavorful/useful variations that still don't qualify as efficient LD, but at least they're playable in the right circumstances (Tectonic Rift, Into the Maw of Hell).

That's not the only solution to the problem, of course, and you can see another I'd like to explore today in Tectonic Edge. LD is fine as long as you're using it to limit a player's resources or answer land-based threats and not locking them out of the game.

Fiery Hail has that classic 2R cost, but can't reduce a player's mana production below three. Now we could stop there and make a strictly worse Stone Rain—and maybe that's the right thing to do—but no one wants to see that. The second sentence flows naturally from the first and gives you an upside to balance out the card. The only reason I used sacrifice here instead of targeted destruction is to simplify the template for a spell that may affect one or two cards.

Here's another possibility:
Ash Storm does exactly what Stone Rain does, but the cost to do it is inversely proportional to the number of lands they control, naturally self-balancing itself. If they've only got one land, you'd have to pay a whopping 8 mana to deprive them of it. If they're sitting pretty on seven land, you can nuke one for a single R. Ash Storm costs the same as the former iconic spell when your opponent has five lands. Maybe it should be four. Either way, I'm happy that the cost of the card scales with its effectiveness.

And for those ponza players who have felt underappreciated since they stopped printing Armageddon, here's a bone.

It's a cross between Armageddon and Wildfire. Unlike Armageddon, it doesn't lock anyone completely out of the game. Unlike Wildfire, the optimal use is to play as few lands of your own in contrast to your opponent. That's easier for red and doesn't require a commitment to green, but it's also not as dominating an accomplishment.


  1. I like the thought, but I don't see what's wrong with making strictly worse Stone Rains.

    I think Legageddon is the best of these, but it needs to be lower costed to get the effect you want (the most likely way to pay for it is with 4 lands, which doesn't give you the asymmetrical advantage). 1RR is more fair.

  2. I like Ash Storm the most. I agree with the sentiment that it should be easier to cast if they have more land.

  3. Fiery Hail 1RR
    Destroy one out of every three lands target player controls?