Friday, March 9, 2012

CCDD 030912—Ire Phoenix

Cool Card Design of the Day
3/9/2012 - MTG Color Pie recently asked what color you would move the Phoenix to. His concern being—as I understand it—that red doesn't normally get creature recursion and thus that this creature type is out of color. He's quite right that red doesn't get creature recursion and I would agree that the existence of phoenixes doesn't justify more red cards that recur creatures, but I say you could never put a phoenix in another color and that they do red good.

The important distinction is that the
source of the rebirth for the phoenix is fire. White can resurrect, black can animate corpses and green can survive what would kill less hearty creatures. Red can't do any of that. But it can, in this one instance, be reborn through flame.

Thinking about that and what makes Chandra's Phoenix or Magma Phoenix less ambiguously red, this ability occurred to me and struck me as a pretty beautiful phoenix trigger.

Needs templating and development, of course.


  1. ...and it isn't common, i think.

  2. See also: Spitemare

    I also really think that some forms of resurrection are a very red. The way that I think about it, Green represents Birth, Red Life and Black Death. Red is all about that lust for life, that rush of adrenalin that keeps you in a battle well after all reason. It's a neat little continuum.

    It's also one of the reasons why fire is associated with the phoenix in the first place. It's that idea that if even a spark of a fire remains, it can rekindle into a fire. Fires can be very hard to extinguish.

    As I pointed out with the Ouroboros Dragon, Red gets a considerable amount of recursion for both creatures and spells outside of its Pheonix.

    As far as templating on this guy:

    Whenever Ire Pheonix would be dealt leathal damage, it deals that much damage to target creature or player instead.

    It seems pretty solid.

    1. Berserker 1RR
      2/3 berserker
      ~ is indestructible while attacking.

      (With this wording, he dies to lethal damage when combat ends, which is probably not desirable and can be fixed easily with new wording, but it reads so awesome this way)

      Berserker 1RR
      2/3 berserker
      Warlust (Damage dealt by ~ also prevents damage dealt to it.)

    2. Warlust is crazy. I mean, the timing works, but that's pretty nuts. I always want damage riders (Infect, lifelink) to be triggered abilities, but of course they don't work like that.

      Crazed Berserker 1R
      Creature- Barbarian (R)
      If ~ would die while attacking, instead untap it and take an additional combat step after this one. Exile it at the end of that step.

      Or to make it simple enough for a mechanic:

      Final Rage (If ~ would die in combat, it deals damage equal to its power to target creature or player.)

      Of course that probably doesn't play well, considering it makes them basically unblockable and brutal 2 for 1s on defense. It's another ability best suited as a 1 of on a rare.

      Mostly these are just variations on Unearth though. But then, Unearth feels pretty fine on a lot of monored creatures.

      Postmortem Lunge or Corpse Lunge could also be colorshifted to red, especially if Corpse lunge hit players. It would need to be in the right context (graveyard based set, or maybe just Viking with a Valhalla theme), but I could see it happen.

    3. Crazed Berserker is awesome. Not sure it should get the free rage from being sacrificed after damage, but templating blah blah.

  3. I think this, like so many "does cool stuff if you try to mess with it" cards, suffers from the opponent collaboration problem: nobody will ever bolt this or block it, because there's nothing to gain by doing so. This ability will only ever trigger when the phoenix is blocking. And your opponent will rarely want to attack into it. So this kickass ability just won't trigger that often.

    1. Doom Blade my bird? Bolt it in response.

    2. As opposed to just bolting your opponent? Seems like a wash.

      I mean, I don't disagree with Havelock's point, but he might be over stating it a little. After all, Chandra's Pheonix is also disadvantageous to kill. It wastes a card, wastes tempo, etc. And yet, the ability still comes up. Even if it only acts as a deterrent it's still relevant. That said, I'd much rather have an ability like Ouroboros Dragon that protects the creature as well as having proactive applications as well.

    3. If you Doom Blade my bird, bolting it in response deals as much damage to you, but saves my bird.

      My bird can't be blocked reasonably except by 1-/3+ flyers: If you block it with your Serra Angel, I get my bird back and deal 4 to you or your angel.

      If I play Pyroclasm, I can wipe the board, get a free Shock and keep my Ire Phoenix.

      You guys just aren't trying.

    4. No idea how I thought bolting my Phoenix would save it from a doom blade.

  4. If Ire Phoenix would die this turn, instead do two damage to all creatures and players and untap ire Phoenix. Might need to cost 2RR - gets nuts in multiples.

  5. The Phoenix has a cool ability. I like Duncan's berserker and final rage as well.

    "It deals that much damage" is not necessarily clear to all players on how it counts damage accumulated in multiple doses. It should deal damage equal to the total damage it received this turn or something.

    I think the trigger could just be, "If ~ would die from damage" where "die from damage" would be a new phrase but should work and also be understandable.

    Ire Phoenix and Blasphemous Act would be powerful.

  6. If Ire Phoenix would be destroyed by lethal damage, regenerate it. Whenever Ire Phoenix regenerates this way, it deals damage to target creature or player equal to the damage already dealt to it this turn.
    (Knight of the Holy Nimbus x Ogre Enforcer + Matopi Golem + Whipkeeper)

  7. mtgcolorpie is off-base here. If we follow this logic, dragons should be blue or white creatures, since one of the main fantasy tropes of dragons is that they fly, and blue and white are the primary home for flying.

    At rare or mythic, it's fine for mechanics to bend to fit the flavor.

    Also, if you were worried about recursion being wrong for red, why give it regenerate instead? Isn't that just as wrong?

    For this particular card, I think you could get the idea without the regenerate. And giving it a fixed amount of damage makes it simpler to read:

    "When ~ dies, it deals 2 damage to target creature or player.

    The first time ~ dies this turn, return it to the battlefield tapped under its owner's control."