Friday, September 28, 2012

Nich Grayson's Avacyn Restored Cards (Part 1 of 3)

A while ago, Nich Grayson posted some ideas in a facebook post called 10 Designs I Was Hoping to See in Avacyn Restored (with renders!) and I felt that many of the cards in the post contained good ideas. With his permission, I am reposting them here. I've chunked them up into 3 parts; this is the first one.

Post by Nich Grayson:

10 Designs I Was Hoping to See in Avacyn Restored

Maro’s recent State of Design article talked about the design of Ayacyn Restored, including what he thought worked and what lessons he learned. The article really got me thinking about the set. So, as I did post-New Phyrexia, I’d like to suggest ten things I was really hoping to see in Avacyn Restored. Some of them are derived from the themes of the set, and some come from the set’s identity as wrap up to the Innistrad block. Also, I didn’t mock up all the card designs because finding acceptable art was taking longer than I cared to take. Here we go!

1) Double-Faced Cards (DFC’s)

Maro said that Double-Faced Cards were used in Innistrad and Dark Ascension to illustrate “dark transformation.” Their absence in Avacyn Restored was meant to express that darkness losing its hold on the Plane. But DFC’s were a huge part of the block’s identity, and I see their absence as a real loss. I wanted to see some in Avacyn Restored. The ways they were used could have shown the darkness losing its grip on Innistrad. Here are a couple suggestions:

Humans Ascending: DFC’s could have been used to show Humans granted heavenly incarnations by their belief in Avacyn.

[day side]
Faithful Inquisitor 3W (Common)
Creature – Human Soldier 2/3
Soulbond (You may pair this creature with another unpaired creature when either enters the battlefield. They remain paired for as long as you control both of them.)
As long as THIS is paired with another creature, both creatures get +1/+2.
Whenever an Angel enters the battlefield, you may transform THIS.
[night side]
Flight Alabaster Archmage (White)
Creature – Human Soldier 3/4
As long as Flight Alabaster Archmage is paired with another creature, both creatures get +1/+2 and have flying.
Monsters Subjugated: I would have created some top-down designs in similar fashion to Loyal Cathar and Chosen of Markov (from Dark Ascension,) this time showing that the angel, Avacyn, has begun reversing the effects of the monster onslaught.

The Cursemute: In the set’s storyline, Avacyn casts a world spell that cures werewolves of their lycanthropy. These DFC start as werewolves, transform one way into Humans, and have no trigger to change back. I had to figure out why anyone would play them, so I came up with the human side as a drawback for really cheap large and mid-size werewolves.

Unused Top-Down Designs: There are still some horror transformation tropes that were never used in the Block. The horror themes were really downplayed to give Avacyn Restored a distinct flavor, but the set is part of the Horror Block, so there should be some continuation of the theme. Additionally, there are some top down Angel tropes that could be explored.

[day side]
Eerie Night Stalker 3B (Uncommon)
Creature – Vampire 4/2
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may pay 1B. If you do, transform Eerie Night Stalker.
[night side]
Malicious Mist (Black)
Creature – Vampire Elemental 2/1
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may pay 1B. If you do, transform Malicious Mist.
Malicious Mist can’t block or be blocked.

2) Werewolf Legend

Still in the realm of DFC’s, there really should have been a legendary werewolf in the Block. It doesn’t go with the Cursemute narrative, but WotC pointed out that not every werewolf was affected by it. So the legendary werewolf could be an anomaly who wasn’t affected and in fact learned to control his transformation. Rolf’s activated effect is strong for the tribe, but dis-incentivizes having two copies in play at once. WotC couldn’t find a good way to overcome the Legend issue, but I think this is a good direction to take it.


  1. A card that starts out as a Werewolf and permanently turns into Human (or a Wolfir) is a great way to use DFCs to show what happened in Avacyn Restored.

    I don't think the flipside should be a drawback, though. I agree it should have a smaller size to reflect that it isn't so wild, but it could have an ability that makes it more powerful.

    1. The problem with most of Nich's propositions is that, while each is extremely flavorful (which is awesome), they all use drawbacks to achieve that.

      It's like if Treacherous Pit-Dweller were the defacto template for cards of all rarities and colors in AVR, instead of just a small cluster of black cards.

    2. I thought about this a lot. There is an inherent unlikable drawback to Werewolves that only flip one way. And Chah is right that the Human side helping your opponent may be simply too much. But, I think that Timmy-Johnny players who love werewolves don't mind variance and accept drawbacks for raw power. That's what (the set) Innistrad's werewolves were abll about. The flip triggers of DA widened the audience for them, but they weren't originally a spike tribe. Treacherous Pit-Dweller appeals to those same players, and really should have been red or green so they could use it.

  2. I like how Thraben Heretic at first glance looks really busy, but on second glance looks exactly like something R&D would print.

    1. I questioned it to. Modern Magic design really seems to be about throwing away the rules about what constitutes an overly powerful/complicated rare. At any rate, it's just a sketch.

  3. Legendary werewolf should have just been
    RG3:5/6 Haste, Hexproof [non-human werewolves you control cannot transform] [T: Transform all creatures]

    The werewolves that only change into humans are terrible to play with because your opponent will easily transform them by playing two spells before you can even do anything. Better to just make under costed werewolves that don't transform that have minor drawbacks like can't block or must attack.

    I don't think they needed to to keep DFCs to get werewolves into the third set, like you said, that was a self imposed flavor limitation. It truly is a shame that an entire tribe got cut out of the third set. With the above card, werewolves could have really been a great midrange aggro deck, it only they could have gotten over the horrible drawback that is the werewolf mechanic.

    1. That's a good point. Werewolves with one face are a simple solution for Avacyn Restored. I don't know why Wolfir got the pass instead of actual werewolves.

      Nice Legend too, but I bet it's undercosted with everything going on there.