Monday, December 3, 2012

Frontier: "This town ain't big enough."

HV: This pitch is by Pasteur.  My comments are in blue.  Here are the pitches from rounds one and two.

What set are you pitching?

What is the name of your pitch?
"This town ain't big enough."

What are the major mechanical themes in the set according to your vision?
Madness, Duel, and powering out huge fatties.

Please present six common cards of a color different from the color in the second round pitch.  These cards should clearly demonstrate at least one major mechanical theme of the set.

Skeletal Sandwurm 5B
Creature - Skeleton Wurm
B: Regenerate ~.
Dig 2 (2, Discard this card: Reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a land card. Put that card into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.)

Dig is a neat and flavorful smoothing mechanic.  Like landcycling, it reduces mana screw, but Dig doesn't require shuffling one's entire deck.  Of course, it doesn't fix mana the way landcycling did, but lacking a multicolor theme, that seems okay to me.

Thirsty Dryblood 2B
Creature - Vampire
As long as you control more lands than an opponent, Thirsty Dryblood gets +2/+0.

Between this card and the previous one, it's apparent that we're taking a new look at Battlecruiser Magic.  I think that "grab as much land as possible" feels reasonably Old West, so this also gets a thumbs up.

Mineshaft Shade 4B
Creature - Shade
1B: ~ gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
Madness 1B (If you discard this card, you may cast it for its madness cost instead of putting it into your graveyard.)

I'm not convinced that Madness is a wise mechanic to bring back, even with Duel as an enabler.  It's weird and unintuitive.  Also, Duel will also act as a discard outlet for your opponent and turn on his Madness cards!  That seems awkward.

Tibalt's Brigand B
Creature - Human Rogue
~ can't block.
When ~ attacks, any player may discard a land card. If a player does, prevent all damage ~ would deal this turn.

Another factor in the "race to a bunch of lands" competition?  I'm not sure I like the incentives in this direction, since blocking this guy with your one-drop and mana screwing yourself would be rather tempting.

Drought of Tears 2BB
Destroy target land.
Dig 2 (2, Discard this card: Reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a land card. Put that card into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.)

And another "land racer," though it can go in either direction.  Cute.

Death Wind XB
Target creature gets -X/-X until end of turn.

A perfect fit for a game with tons of lands and fatties.

In 50 words or less, explain how this theme fits into the set, either mechanically and/or in terms of flavor.
Dig, Duel, and Madness synergize with each other and provide opportunities to play Big Spells and Sandwurms, which reward hitting your lands as well as representing the bigger-fish of the Frontier power-politics. Black is home to conservative, arrogant land-owning vampires, and the more ruthless members of Tibalt's bandits.


I love Battlecruiser Magic 2.0, and the fit to Western flavor is close enough.  But I just don't buy Madness, unless the version of Duel you're using is quite different from what we've seen before.  I really want Frontier to ride on to victory, whooping and waving its ten-gallon hat from the back of a giant sandwurm, but it's still in need of at least one more mechanic that helps everything fit together.


  1. It's pretty counter-intuitive, but you could put Dig on a land as a form of fixing. The idea being that if you wanted G, keep and play the G land and if not, dig it away for another land. No guarantee you get the R you were looking for, but it's a significant chance rather than 0. Not sure that chance at fixing is worth the conceptual cost of putting Dig on a land card though.

    1. Dig on a Land was one of the first things I was really content with! There are a lot of things you can fiddle with with it, and I'd definitely need to test it to figure out where the decision point should be, but I don't have any problem with the flavor of Digging on a land.

      I've been mulling over some ideas around the fact that Magic already has "Desert" and "Mine" as land subtypes - it's not necessary, but you could easily have a cycle of common lands a la Barren Moor.

      The OTHER thing to do (with Mines, maybe?) would be lands with "If you dug to this, you can keep digging"?

    2. I should clarify that Dig is open-ended enough at this stage that it could go on anything and be justified. There are some more flavorful expressions we could choose where putting it on a land would be weird, but we are in no way limited to those.

    3. I really like Dig. On lands, it has the odd quirk that it's better at fixing your mana if you're missing your main color and throwing away your splash color land, since you're more likely to hit your main color. Of course, if you have a lot of Dig lands in your deck and you 'miss' by getting the same color you threw away, chances are you can still Dig again, hopefully finding the color you need.

  2. Gamble [Quality] - [Effect] (Draw a card, then discard a card. If you discard an [quality] card this way, [effect].)

    1. If it weren't for the *very* large amount of work put in to ensuring Magic is not associated with gambling (in the US, at least), I would like this a lot more. :(

      Really, though, I think that could be a great template for a number of Western-themed cards - we'll see if it wants a keyword or not.