Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CCDD 121912—Gnarly Aurakin

Cool Card Design of the Day
12/19/2012 - Force of Savagery is a pretty awesome Johnny card. It comes with a great big hoop and an equally sized reward. I was curious to see if we couldn't make a version with broader appeal by making it significantly easier to use (at the cost of some raw power). One of the questions casual players ask is if they can enchant Force before it dies to keep it alive. They can't. But maybe they should be able to:

Gnarly Aurakin is a mini-Force of Savagery that lets you enchant it before it would die for having 0 base toughness. It remains rare because it's still quite hard to actually use, just not quite as hard as its father.

This design had me thinking about other alternative ways to cast auras and led to a card that either foreshadows Incarnate/Manifest or obviates them:

The big problem with this card is that unlike Incarnate or Manifest, it doesn't just sit on an aura card, ensuring that aura is always castable—you need to have Evoke Aura in your hand at the same time as an aura card… and not a creature in play that you'd rather enchant.


  1. The first questions that came to mind was "what, flavourfully, is an Elemental Spirit?".

  2. I like the built-in solution compared to Force of Savagery, I would find a way to play with Gnarly Aurakin.

    I don't like the second version as much, because as you say, I'd rather play the aura in my hand on a creature. Maybe instead, the second version could search your library for an aura with X or less to enchant the token with?

  3. I'm not sure I like the wording on the first one. I'm a little fuzzy with the rules but if it gave all auras flash when it comes into play can you cast the aura to keep it alive?

    1. Nope, it would die for having 0 toughness before you could even announce an aura.

    2. Another option might be to borrow Evershrike's wording:

      Gnarly Aurakin G
      Creature - Elemental
      XG: Put ~ from your hand onto the battlefield. You may put an Aura card with converted mana cost X or less from your hand onto the battlefield attached to ~.

      This wording brings with it its own issues, however, and I still prefer Jay's original wording to it.

  4. I prefer the second, having unequal p/t bonuses is just a recipe for confusion.

    Honestly, having the Aura in hand is a big enough drawback that:

    Gnarly Aurakin 1G
    As Gnarly Aurakin enters the battlefield, you may attach a green aura from your hand to it.

    Seems totally fair. Consider that blue gets a 2/2 academy researchers for just 1 mana more.

    Or you could do a token version:

    Auralistment XG
    Search your library for an Aura with converted mana cost X or less. Put a 0/0 green Saproling creature token onto the battlefield, then attach the aura you searched for to the token. Shuffle your library.

    1. Those are both solid, and at least arguably better.

  5. This feels less exciting to me than Force of Savagery, because it has 2 hoops: I have to have the aura *and* pay its mana cost.

    This would be cool if it let you tutor for the aura, or play it for free (though the latter would probably have to be costed so that you couldn't do an aggressive Eldrazi Conscription win.) Right now, it's basically Dryad Militant with +1/-1 and a really big restriction.

    1. It feels less exciting than Force of Savagery because it has fewer hoops? You can play Gnarly Aurakin every way you could play Force plus by autochanting it.

  6. Another interesting slice of design space - creatures with 0 toughness, and intersecting with "auras matter". I had a crazy idea for taking this a little further (I put it in White but it might fit Green too):

    Shimmerling 2W
    Creature - Elemental (R)
    Evoke W (you may cast this spell for its evoke cost. If you do, it's sacrificed when it enters the battlefield.)
    As ~ enters the battlefield, you may put an aura that could enchant it onto the battlefield from your hand attached to it.

    I don't know how good this is; it can be a turn one Knight Token (and a 2/2 vigilance) with Knightly Valor, a Turn one draw two with Flight of Fancy, or discard two with Strands of Undeath, but that is probably balanced because of its uselesness alone. Casting it for 3 with Eldrazi Conscription seems really sweet, but you still need to untap with it...

    I made another design because I liked the idea of tutoring up the Aura which makes the card a lot stronger:

    Ephemeral Auramancer XG
    Creature - Human Shaman (R)
    As ~ enters the battlefield, search your library for an aura with converted mana cost X or less that could enchant it, then shuffle your library. Put that aura onto the battlefield enchanting ~.

    ... And interesting thing about this is that you can actually use this as "GG: Tutor up Rancor" since it will immidiately die and Rancor will fall off and return to your hand.

    1. Shimmerling is… wierd. You can use it to get the ETB (and LTB) effects of auras in your hand for just W, put it also costs you two cards (the aura card and Shimmerling itself). I can't imagine a situation where I'd want to discard this and Knightly Valor to get a 2/2 for W when I could just use Elite Vanguard. And you wouldn't really be drawing two from Flight of Fancy so much as looting two.

      I really like Ephemeral Auramancer. The search means you can always use it, regardless of what else is in your hand (y'know, unless you've drawn all your auras). It also means this creature will be a different monster every time you cast it, depending on how much mana you had at the time. Neat.