Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I am Iron Man

Last night while tinkering with EDH decks, Iron Man popped up on shuffle at the same time the movie came on TV (yes, I live in a world of constant overstimulation). Surely it was a sign! The cosmos were demanding to know, "What would Iron Man the Magic card look like?"
Right off the bat, I knew I wanted to try an uncommon golem. I've been on a kick lately trying to make smoother, more elegant commons and uncommons. I'm finding that it is especially difficult to design cards in isolation, since without the other cards around it, it is hard to figure out what you need a card to actually do. With uncommons, it might just be impossible; uncommons have to carry so many different roles with so few slots that trying to get a lone card right might be a waste of time.

That aside, most recent blocks and core sets have at least one mid-range, colorless beater, like Juggernaut, Stone Golem, or Galvanic Juggernaut. These cards are important for limited, since they are efficient and threatening clocks that can be played by any color combination. Galvanic Juggernaut is especially vicious; his stats are very good, and it's difficult to play around its untap. Trying to make a beat stick more efficient than Galvanic Juggernaut seems like a bad plan, since it will probably produce a broken card.

A better direction would be to give it a handy ability, and since I always like the lines, "Heavy boots of lead / Fills his victims full of dread" from the song, I decided to go with intimidate:

Iron Man (uncommon)
Creature - Golem
Intimidate (This creature can't be blocked except by artifact creatures and/or creatures that share a color with it.)

The stats are identical to Gluttonous Zombie's, and yet they aren't strictly better than Stone Golem's. Unsurprisingly, no one has stuck intimidate on an artifact creature before, probably because they're worried about the apparent weirdness of sharing a color with a colorless creature.

My only worry : is this card cute for the sake of being cute? Why not just give it a different evasion ability? There's no particular reason it couldn't just say "CARDNAME can only be blocked by artifact creatures." But sometime, somewhere, someone will run out Quickchange targeting Iron Man, and it will be great.

Also, if you haven't left a response to my survey, please take a minute to check it out.


  1. The Melvin in me appreciates it, but I suspect that such a thing is unlikely to see cardboard any time soon. It's one of those cases where combining two mechanics results in something unexpected or counterintuitive, and while it's neat when it happens it's probably not worth explicitly combining them on the same card. Trample + Deathtouch and -X/-0 + P/T switching are other examples of "combos" in the same boat. This is less objectionable than those, though, so I'd say it's marginally more likely to be worth the inevitable confusion that will result in some section of the audience.

  2. I like it! It's intimidate at it's best.

  3. I like it but don't forget about Arcbound Fiend!

  4. Arcbound Fiend has fear though, which is a cleaner read.

    With Iron Man, there's kind of a "Whaa?" moment when you read, "can't be blocked except by creatures that share a color with it," since logically it shouldn't be possible for a colorless thing to share a color.

    Like Alex said, it's a little counterintuitive, and will confuse some groups of players. I'm still undecided if it's worth it or not, but I like the positive feedback!

  5. I don't think it's too confusing, even for beginners. People might wonder if "shares a colour" would include other colourless things, but I think they'd correctly work out that this could only be blocked by artifact creatures, and if they've seen intimidate before, not be surprised to see it reused.

    And I think the flavour (of the ability and the name of the ability) are very good.

    But I don't think it's one that should be printed for the sake of being printed, only if a "only blocked by artifact creatures" is a card the set needs.