Wednesday, December 5, 2012

CCDD 120512—Starry Landscape

Cool Card Design of the Day
12/5/2012 - This card is probably busted. Ultimately, any land that either generates mana of any color or draws you cards, regardless of the conditions and drawbacks ends up being busted in some deck. Given that this draws a card and gives you mana of any color, the question is, how busted is it, as measured by how many decks it goes into across Standard, Modern and Legacy?

Crucible of Worlds is the accompaniment that pops immediately to my mind. That combo is surely way too good, even for Legacy (I mean, provided your deck is getting some other value out of Crucible or has an inexpensive way to assemble the combo). Anything beyond that? Life from the Loam? You guys are smart, tell me how this card is busted.

What if enters the battlefield tapped?


  1. The Modern "Eggs" combo deck is what immediately leaps to mind for me. This single card probably makes that deck a firm tier 1?

  2. In legacy Dredge, without question. I don't know exactly what the mana base would be, but Starry Landscape goes in before the first Tarnished Citadel, and probably in the place of some number of Gemstone Mines. A free dredge, whenever you want it is definitely powerful. Would Landscape make the deck faster or more consistent? I'm not sure which!

    This is an exciting card, though, and no mistake. What if it entered the battlefield tapped? What if it made both players draw? More drawbacks may not actually make an individual format more balanced, however, as it can make the card more likely to appear exclusively in unfairish decks.

  3. I could very easily be missing something, but I think this card is printable.

    Most busted cards fall into one of three categories:
    1) Does something too powerful for its cost
    2) Allows costs of other powerful cards to be subverted
    3) Acts as part of a repeatable of infinite combo

    It is not apparent that Starry Landscape does any of these busted things.

    1) Comparing this card to Chromatic Sphere leads me to believe that it's not too powerful on its own. A previous article (which I can't find) concisely explained how lands should be roughly as powerful as 2-mana artifacts, and this is a perfect fit.

    2) This card enables in two way: It fixes for any mana on T1, and it allows decks that run few or no other lands to get a cantripping Lotus Petal. Fixing like this already exists in City of Brass, Gemstone Mine and Lotus Bloom. While the effect might be good, it doesn't allow for any new plays. Starry Landscape's beneficial effect in 4-8 land decks seems narrow enough and weak enough (at most +1 mana, and dead in multiples) to be acceptable in Belcher or Storm-type decks.

    3) The biggest reason that I think Starry Landscape is a fair card is that outside of Second Sunrise effects, land drops are a finite resource (even moreso than mana). Almost every degenerate combo this could be involved in would be choked on that resource. This is where I'm most likely to be wrong, but I can't see any potential for same-turn infinite combos with this card. Starry Landscape could be combined with Loam or Crucible to grind out card advantage, but at the cost of a reverse-Explore every turn. Any combo that acts as a discounted Divination every turn is incredibly fair.

    With all this said, these are the decks I think would want this card. It would be an upgrade for all of them, but not a game-breaking one.

    Eggs (Modern): ~2 copies (Ghost Quarters 5 and 6)
    Dredge (Legacy): 4 copies (replacing Gemstone Mine)
    Lands (Legacy): 4 copies (single best deck for Starry Landscape)
    Maverick (Legacy): 1 copy (replacing Horizon Canopy)
    Doomsday w/Lab Maniac (Legacy): 1 copy
    U/R Storm (Modern): 1 copy
    Other Legacy: 0-1 copies (Good tech against Wasteland/Stifle)
    Aggro Loam (Modern): 1 copy (protects Loam from Extripate)

  4. Crucible of Worlds + Exploration is definitely strong enough as turn 2 onwards your getting an extra card draw, without missing your card drops, and you can still choose to play 2 lands turns you can. Playtesting will show whether it's busted, but since this is legacy format my gut says strong but fair.

    If Fastbond was unbanned then we would have some crazy ass antics with turn 2 game overs, not an infinite combo on it's own as far as I can tell, but comboed with a few Sphinx revelations can get most of the library into your hand - not quite sure if I can spot an infinite combo yet with this pairing, any ideas?

    Since I can't think of any similar cards which are legal and open to the same abuse. If there is, then there is going to be trouble.