Monday, July 9, 2012

CCDD 070912—Goblin Scholar and other One-Drops

Cool Card Design of the Day
7/9/2012 - Today I've got a handful of cards for you. I was thinking recently about how to make one-drop creatures more relevant. That's hard to do without making them good, which is a problem since every one-drop should be worse than every two-drop, at least within rarities.

If you've got to draw a one-drop in the late game, the last thing you want to do is draw a land the turn after. This is a very marginal effect, but less marginal as the game goes on than, say, Sanctuary Cat's +0/+1.

I like this card because it's justifiable even if you think Merfolk Looter shouldn't be common (though it's looking like that M11 sentiment was short-lived). A single loot action is fairly marginal, but still helpful when you're looking for action in the late game (or mana in the early game).

The tiniest of Briarpack Alphas. Seems fair.

This—oddly enough—was top-down designed from the art, which I stumbled upon while looking for art for some other card. Obviously not great after the first few turns of the game, but a 2/1 for one is at least worth considering, particularly outside of white.

Where Shroom Wanderer is better in the late game, Llanowar Seeker is better in the early game (and both are conditionally good in the mid-game). First seen on Ridgeview Copse and used to great effect on Voyage Chart, I've become quite fond of this ability's capacity to alleviate mana screw without granting too much of an advantage nor coming at too much of a cost.

Who doesn't love Serra Avenger? When I saw it reprinted, I had to explore what other cards could use the same clause. Not a lot, it turns out. Even this one is a bit of a stretch.

Don't think that I'm saying that all one drops need to be better, or better for the late game. The primary purpose of the one-drop is to be good early and outclassed quickly. It's just that since the other mana costs have so much more breadth, it's easy to grow bored or dismissive of one-drops, so a little variety can help shake things up.

Before I leave you today, I'm compelled to applaud Wizards for their recent entries in this category: Bond Beetle, Chronomaton, Jace's Phantasm, Slumbering Dragon and War Falcon. Good stuff!

1 comment:

  1. I'm a big fan of the other four, but Jace's Phantasm is strictly better than Flying Men, so...

    Shroom Wanderer especially seems like it could have some interesting interactions in a set. Then again, even in a set with positive graveyard interactions and sacrifice themes, it's hard to tell (without testing) when a card is going to be useful or not. I think this is better than Merrow Witsniper (a good benchmark for this category), but I'm not sure by how much.