Saturday, March 24, 2012

CCDD 032411—Midsummer Dream

Cool Card Design of the Day
3/24/2012 - I found a rare few minutes spare and thought I'd scan my CCDD folder to find an old design that's worth sharing (many aren't, but I'm sure that's no surprise). The one I'd like to share today isn't remotely innovative, but it's very printable, has nice flavor and was created about a month before Innistrad was released.

I mention the timing because it's so similar to Claustrophobia. (Of course there have been many similar iterations before). Midsummer Dream follows the same logic that a cantrip is worth +2 mana, but in reverse: a card that cantrips
for your opponent must be worth -2 mana. Now that math may not actually hold up since a card for you is not the same as card for your opponent, but Claustrophobia -2 mana seems Limited playable, even if it does give your opponent a card.

I'm not saying this is a good card to play; it's usually worse than Unsummon. It's not instant speed and it may give your opponent an even better card than the one you shut down. Since it's a permanent, it can be undone (and by an Unsummon, no less). It's not strictly worse, of course, because your opponent won't be able to replay the creature you targeted next turn as she would if it were Unsummon. That, and the fact that she is actually more likely to draw a non-creature replacement should keep Midsummer Dream out of the unplayable pile.

Playability discussion aside, this was clearly a top-down design and while it's no star, I do like it. The targeted creature falls into a deep slumber, but its dreaming is so powerful that it inspires ideas in its controller.

The use of the phrasing "attached to a creature" in place of ETB, is interesting. It allows for slightly shorter templating, but at the cost of reading strangely. It does make aura-moving abilities more interesting, but is that worth it? I'm not convinced.


  1. First thing I thought of when I saw this was Simic Guildmage. After you cast it, you can move it around and draw a card for each 1U you spend. I like the design and the concept of cantripping your opponent. That is a cost reducer I'd like to play around for some other effects.

  2. I like this quite a lot, actually; but then I like cards with corner uses (and helping out opponents!) and love A Midsummer Night's Dream, so that does make sense. The only issue I have with the templating is the way "When Midsummer Dream is attached to a creature, tap it" reads almost like you should be tapping the aura rather than the creature. The easiest way to resolve that is obviously mimicking the text straight from Claustrophobia, but I suppose you could still keep your extra functionality with "When Midsummer Dream is attached to a creature, tap enchanted creature" or "tap that creature." Then it starts reading like you really expect to be moving it around, so I'd probably expect to see an Aura Graft-faerie at uncommon.

  3. I'm not sure that this is really "It's usually worse than Unsummon."

    In fact, it's way closer to Path to Exile than most blue removal. Enchantment removal is uncommon enough that this is usually going to remove the creature permanently, and going to give the opponent a much less useful card. The only reason that claustrophobia doesn't see more play is that the colors commonly paired with blue have access to more efficient removal. This would put blue on par with White and black, which seems off kilter for the color pie and a bad idea.

    1. Compare with:

      Path to Knowledge W
      Exile target creature, its controller draws a card.

      That's a pretty good card! Vendillion Clique shows that one in the hand is worth way more than one from the deck.

    2. Path to Knowledge is very strong. Clearly stronger than Midsummer Dream, but still very comparable. Dream is answered by Naturalize, Solemn Offering, Unsummon and Second Wind where Path is not. It also leaves the creature around for Prey Upon, Fling or Bone Splinters. It also doesn't answer Gavony Ironwrights or Arc Sloggers as completely.

      We can then compare Path to Knowledge to Path to Exile. They both exile unconditionally, but Path to Exile gives your opponent a Rampant Growth where Path to Knowledge gives them a strictly-worse Ponder. Path to Exile is also an instant.

      Worse than a card that is worse than another card that was printed recently is a place I'm comfortable with.

    3. I don't know, Path was probably a mistake to begin with. Nearly unconditional 1-mana removal in the color that is supposed to be the third best at it? Midsummer's Dream is definitely worse than path, but I'm not convinced it's that much of a downgrade, and it still does some things better than path. It's definitely a better answer to 1-drops. It would almost surely see some constructed play, and I think it's probably best that blue just never gets good, constructed playable unconditional removal.

      That being said, I'm a fan of removal that in draft isn't just a windmill slam 1st pick all of the time. It helps provide good depth in limited play. I think at two mana this card could be interesting.