Thursday, July 19, 2012

CCDD 071912—Non-Red Dragons

Cool Card Design of the Day
- I was hoping HavelockV would talk more about some of the Dragon submissions for his last Design Challenge, but I believe he's swamped with real life. So instead, I'd like to share with some of the dragon designs I chose Isochron Familiar over, and why.

First up, is the obligatory Cold Dragon. I'm glad I didn't submit this one, because Chris' Dragon of Winter's Breath is better. His isn't as splashy, but it's simpler and still gets across the freezing breath concept.

I decided to model my breath attack after Frozen Solid rather than Frost Breath, to help differentiate it from Frost Titan. While I went with a combat trigger, Chris went with an activated ability, which also helps keep this dragon distinct from the titan. I do wonder if limiting the activated ability to once per turn is neccessary, though removing that limitation would definitely require a cost increase on one end or the other.

Black is the next easiest color after blue to find a non-red dragon. Draconic Overlord is inspired by the mythic dragon discussion we had a few months ago, specifically the various designs that felt danegrously demon-like.

Even though there's clear mechanical and thematic overlap, it was important to me that the black Dragon not just by a mistyped Demon. While R&D has been making more all-upside Demons lately, they are historically about power at personal cost/risk for their owner. This Dragon, in contrast, is about demanding sacrifices from every player and punishing anyone who refuses. It's not a stone-solid delineation, which is why I didn't go with Draconic Overlord. Though I do like the card.

While I didn't expect much from a white or green dragon, you never know what can happen when you explore (relatively) virgin territory, so I made one of each:

There are green flyers like Bounteous Kirin in Modern, they're definitely odd ducks. Here, I keyed off the art—this Dragon is clearly allied with the ranger. What if the Dragon just needed a little help to reach its full potential? I like this card (despite it being similar to the conceptually very different Cairn Wanderer—I guess Concerted Effort is the better comparison) but even if you can argue that it's dragon-y enough to print (and that wouldn't be a trivial argument to win), it's certainly not dragon-y enough to win a dragon contest.

A Sun Dragon is, if not a trope you're already familiar with, at least pretty easy to accept. It also seems reasonable that a Sun Dragon could be white. What does that look like? Plains != Sun, but it's as close as we come in this game so I went with Armored Ascension as the primary reference. Toss in some vigilance and super-Samite Healer action to make sure he feels extra white. The end result is very playable in Limited, questionable for Constructed but generally lacks a cohesive story, making it a fairly weak design. Almost certainly better without Healing Salve on a stick.

So those were lackluster. Not unexpected, but now we know (I'd love to see your white and green dragons if you find a better angle). Let's go back to blue. There's a non-elemental trope I still want to explore.

What about the wise/educated dragon? The one well-versed in arcane arts? While I liked the reference to Mystical Tutor, I didn't just want it to hand you a spell for you to cast, I wanted it to be the one casting the spell. This was the original inspiration that led to Isochron Familiar.

One more:
This is less of a spell-casting dragon and more of a teacher, passing on ancient secrets. The longer you study under him, the more you learn. I suppose it could just be "draw a card each turn," but isn't this risky Memory Jar just more interesting? Whether it is or not, the card is pretty wordy and not all that proto-dragon-y.

What else did you all submit? Or have you thought up new ideas since then? It's not a contest, but I'd still love to see your dragons.


  1. Mystical Dragon is a nice counterpart to Hoarding Dragon. A green version for creatures would be a nice counterpart and fits the princess kidnapping trope we've discussed.

    Here's my submission for posterity:
    Endemic Deathkite - 3BBB
    Creature - Dragon Skeleton
    When ~ ETB, choose a creature type.
    When ~ dies, destroy all creatures of the chosen type. If three or more creatures are destroyed this way, return ~ to the battlefield.

  2. Frost dragon is a very strange. Not sure I like it being able to target creatures it's already frozen to destroy them.

    Draconic Overlord is interesting. I like the concept but I assume it just needs some production in order to make it not too punishing against creature-light decks. I do like it's a symmetric effect.

    I find myself wishing the Mystical Dragon somehow casted the spell before death.


    This was my submission. I was trying to come up with a dragon that is more of a guardian of his lair than anything else. I hope it'd excite a certain type of multiplayer Timmy.

    Retaliation Dragon (Rare)
    Creature - Dragon
    W: Deal 1 damage to target creature that has dealt damage to you this turn.

  3. I missed the deadline for that contest, so I didn't enter. It seems like everyone else is posting their submissions, so I guess I'll post mine.

    Diesel Dragon 5
    Artifact Creature - Dragon (R)
    XR: Diesel Dragon gets +X/+0 and gains trample and haste until end of turn. Sacrifice it at the beginning of the next end step.

    1. So kind of like a Lightning Serpent in an artifact shell? I'm not sure how often the haste will matter, but it's good it's added since most players expect haste with the sac at end of turn clause.

  4. I wanted to have the flavor of a dragon hiding in the forest waiting for just the right moment to make his presence known.

    Stalking Dragon
    Creature - Dragon (R)
    When Stalking Dragon enters the battlefield, it fights target creature.
    They have been known to wait for months for the right morsel to walk by.

  5. I went for the dragons loving treasure meme which I just can't get enough of. Flash because it can come out of nowhere when it smells good enough treasure.

    Tezzeret’s Treasure Keeper 4UU
    Legendary Creature - Dragon
    Mythic Rare
    Flying, flash
    3: Tezzeret’s Treasure Keeper gets +1/+0 for each artifact you control
    T: Gain control of target artifact for as long as you control Tezzeret’s Treasure Keeper