Wednesday, May 9, 2012

CCDD 050912—Skeleton Crew

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/9/2012 - I found this in the file from back when I was exploring a new version of regeneration and cleaned it up a bit. It's a neat example of two colors working together for a flavorful effect. In this case, Black has the ability to return creatures from the graveyard, but the nautical theme of the card requires a tide of Islands to maximize the ability.

This is particularly interesting as a possible path for M13. Right now, we're supporting the land-type-matters theme with a cycle of creatures that reward you for staying in color. We went that direction as a hedge against players running too many colors, but I'm now wondering if we shouldn't be doubling-down on rewarding two-color decks by replacing Sunblessed Tactician and Stone Thrower (as much as I love them) with an uncommon double cycle of cards like Skeleton Crew. That sounds like a lot (and it would require significant skeleton shuffling) but they play differently from the bond cards while reinforcing the same theme, so it may be worthwhile.


  1. Off-color landfall is definitely the way to go. I'll put up a post with my thoughts on it.

  2. I really like this idea. It would make more players invest in allied colors.

  3. I'm not gung ho about the switch, as I get the feeling that there might be just a little too much tension between "play this black card" and "play more islands", but I'd definitely get behind trying them out.

  4. My one qualm about this sort of design is that it rewards players for sandbagging their Islands, which feels wrong in a core set.

  5. I remember hearing that landfall for specific land subtypes was in the Worldwake design at one point. Do we know why they took it out?

    1. It was deemed harder to track and more fiddly, by their description. That definately seems more true of creature changes (+2/+2, flying) than a triggered ability like this guy. Still this card has its problems.

      Namely, in one of the original drafts of the set, we had a cycle of Corrupts that keyed off of an allied land type. Greg rightly pointed out that such cards create perverse incentives for mana bases, which is already a struggle for new players. I'm inclined to put this card into that camp as well.

      Finally, this ability just doesn't feel Blue to me. I mean, I get the nautical theme, but Island's bringing them back feels wrong. I'd much rather have:

      Grixian Crew 2U
      Creature- Pirate
      Whenever Grixis Crew deals damage to a player, draw a card.
      Unearth: 1B

  6. I don't like this particular design, but I think it's a great direction for the uncommon cycle.

    The best way to fix HV's concern is to make the cards do something to boost combat, so players have an extra reminder to play their lands each turn. Maybe islandfall - gain flying?