Friday, May 18, 2012

A Cycle of Doubling Spells

Our virtual M13 set features the Kird Ape ability where you get a bonus if you control a particular land. One thing that would be nice to have is at least a few higher rarity cards that look splashy.

The following is an idea for a cycle of spells that give you double the effect if you control a land type.

If we were to do this, the reason for doing it would be twofold:

First of all, it is a more or less core-set-friendly way of doing Bond on spells. Spells that self-combo effects from two colors such as "3R Instant, deal 4 damage to target. If you control a Plains, gain that much life" don't feel very much like core set cards. Core sets are where players see the basic effects in their simplest forms, so that they can then enjoy the impact when they see effects layered on top of each other in a multicolor expansion set.

The double-up cards above focus on what both of two colors can do, and merely double the effect rather than create a combo between two different effects. For that reason, it could arguably be more acceptable in a core set. It shows what the two colors have in common.

Second of all, in Limited, these could lead you to draft enemy-color decks. The Bond creatures have shown themselves to be interesting to play in enemy color decks. For example, you might have a White Bond creature and a Black Bond creature out, and they both gain flying when you draw your splash Island and play it.

However, the double up spells still look quite complex for core set cards, even if they don't combine two effects and merely double the same effect. Nah, who am I kidding. It would be like putting Bloodthirst on a spell in a core set. It would be really pushing it.

Also, it is questionable if enemy-color cards should be allowed in core sets. I personally feel there is no problem with that part, though; Magic is best when all color pairs are played. Cards like Battlefield Forge have been included in core sets right up to Xth Edition, after which they were cut, presumably due to the cut in set sizes. I wonder what the importance of upholding the flavor of color enmity and friendship would be.

Finally, bond on creatures like Kird Ape have the advantage that even if you don't have the land to turn on the bonus right away, you can draw a land later and turn them on; in that sense they are not like kicker. There have been opinions that bond shouldn't be used on spells because this advantage can't be utilized on an instant or sorcery. I personally don't think we need to get strict on that as long as the spell can do something cool. It's very theoretical and abstract to say the card can turn on later. When you play a Kird Ape you really want it to turn on on turn 2; a few more turns without turning on and it might lose the ability to be relevant in that game.

Jay also brought up another way to encourage enemy-color decks that's been discussed in our group before: to have creatures with bond abilities in both allied colors. For example, a 3W 3/2 creature that has both Forest Bond (for example, +1/+2 if you control a Forest) and Island Bond (flying if you control an Island). In terms of flavor, these will look like they are emphasizing allied colors, but can fit into an enemy-colored deck. (For example, the White one above can fit into a Green-Blue deck that splashes White). One possible problem with this approach is that it will look as if the set is encouraging three-color decks in the style of Shards of Alara.

What do you think would be a good way to use Bond on a splashy high rarity card? Should it be put on an instant or sorcery?

1 comment:

  1. The "double effects" are a cool way of making a big spell cool but simple, I think it's a good idea. And if people are familiar with bond, I think it's ok to put it on a big instant/sorcery when they hopefully have the relevant lands already if they ever will, even though on a cheap instant/sorcery it may be too annoying. I don't know if it's ultimately a good idea or not, though.