Tuesday, September 18, 2012

CCDD 091812—Challenge the Mighty

Cool Card Design of the Day
9/18/2012 - Here are three iterations of a design based on a piece of art and a name. I wanted to share the thought process that some cards go through. The first two versions have serious problems but the last one is pretty decent.

Mostly better than Irresistible Prey is something I'm okay with given the amount of play the original had back in Zendikar, but adding a mana to the cost wouldn't ruin it. What I was going for here is a little dude bravely challenging a big dude. In this case, you could use your Elvish Visionary to profitably distract your opponent's Fire Elemental while your Ohran Viper gets in there. The trouble is that it's just a clunky Prey Upon with a cantrip thrown in. It also works just as well to cast on a big creature that you want to eat one of your opponent's little trouble makers, defeating the theme.

White doesn't get to Lure (though it did get Provoke interestingly enough), but it is known for heroic stands. This version is like Righteousness, except it's for offense and with a variable number instead of a large static number. Here the idea was that you'd attack with a bunch of weenies and whichever one gets blocked by the big bad is rewarded for his bravery by being boosted enough to defeat it. The X is clunky, and this probably just wants to be "Target blocked creature gets +7/+7" at which point we've just made a rarely-conditional Vanquish. Meh.

The gold version is a mix of both earlier failed executions. I use this to inspire my Glory Seeker who challenges your Zombie Goliath to battle while my pair of Ajani's Sunstrikers do some good work unharried. The power/toughness boost feels more natural than the green version's cantrip and +3/+3 is just infinitely cleaner than white's +X/+X. Ultimately, this does play very similarly to Feral Contest, but I'm hoping the arguably improved flavor and the clearly improved efficiency would get Challenge the Mighty into a few more maindecks.

This effect could be mono-green, but white-green is mechanically justifiable and ultimately more resonant. Like the green version, you can still cast this on a big creature to eat one of your opponent's smaller (untapped) utility creatures, but doing so will "waste" the P/T bonus which should tap into player psychology to keep it played thematically. Of course, that goes out the window if your creature has trample, but I'm not about to add a ridiculous loses-trample clause just to prevent the card from having multiple uses.

Where would you go with this art and name?


  1. Challenge the Mighty 2W
    Instant C
    Destroy all creatures blocked or blocking target creature.

    Seems core set-able

    1. I'm not sure it fits this particular art/name, but this card is printable (and cool) though probably not at common just because it's so unconditionally useful and will be 2:1 removal fairly often.

    2. Necrobite?


  2. Challenge the Mighty 2W
    Target creature gets +X/+X, where X is the highest power among creatures your opponents control.

    This is much bolder, piewise, because there's no blocked or blocking restriction. But I feel that it's right philosophically.

    1. Should I be able to deal +X damage to my opponent by casting this on my unblocked attacker? (Not sure the answer is 'no.')

    2. Neither am I. I think that it's right offensively as a Sorcery, but then it can't be used defensively, which doesn't seem right at all; specifying that it's to be used at the beginning of the declare blockers step I think has the right functionality but is inelegant.

      My intuition is that if White can send in a flyer to your face with a ton of Exalted, it can also throw a bunch of power at you for the crime of having a big creature.

      A more conservative design would be:

      To the Barricades! 3W
      Put X 1/1 white Soldier tokens into play, where X is the largest power among creatures your opponents control.

      which is more in line with White's traditional way of generating power.

    3. (Also, realized just now that you posted almost exactly this in a recent CCCD, so oops on the redundancy, sorta.)

  3. Heroic Bravery 3GW
    Whenever a creature you control becomes blocked, you may have it get +5/+5 until the end of turn. If you do, sacrifice that creature at the end of turn.

  4. I was going for a creature who is inspired to risk his life and take down a bad guy. The flash is there because te first time one of your guys does this, it comes out f nowhere and takes the ba guys by surprise. Then, it remains on the battlefield, symbolizing how the action of the first guy has "inspired" all of your other creatures to do the same. But your opponent is now more aware of te ability and less likely to get in the way of the newly inspired guys.

  5. The original version is a lot cleaner if you just drop the "you don't control" clause. It doesn't change the practical effect of the card, and does make it easier to read.