Monday, January 28, 2013

Gatecrash Art Challenge 9 — Zoltan Boros (A)

Today we're covering the other of Zoltan Boros' two pieces of art.

In arbitrary order:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ekkremes: The Factory Plane

HV: This pitch is by George Gone.  Here are the pitches from rounds onetwo, and three.

The more I thought about Ekkremes, the more I liked the idea of it being a factory plane.

Originally, the machines were entirely dependent on pure mana. Over time, to increase production, the machines were modified to accept mana of other colors, diluting the potency of the products created.

However, one side effect - creatures built this way were galvanized and made twice as strong as before, and with a sentience previously unseen.

White's Union vs Black's management with Blue Scholars, Red Artificers and Green Beasts caught in the middle.

A vote will be taking place to establish a plane-binding collective bargaining agreement which will determine the fate of Ekkremes, the Factory Plane.

The primary mechanics are Operate and twobrid artifact creatures. Nearly all the artifacts in the set will be colored, save for the machina being operated. Secondary mechanics include Tokens, Purity and Multikicker.

Gatecrash Art Challenge 5 — Christine Chou

Today we're covering Christine Chou's art work.

In completely arbitrary order:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gatecrash Art Challenge 4 — Scott Chou

Today we're covering Scott Chou's art work.

In completely arbitrary order:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Gatecrash Art Challenge 3 — Chase Stone

Today we're covering Chase Stone's art work.

In completely arbitrary order:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Gatecrash Art Challenge 2 — Zoltan Boros (B)

Today we're covering one of Zoltan Boros' two pieces of art work.

In completely arbitrary order:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gatecrash Art Challenge 1 — Igor Kieryluk

Thanks so much for your contributions. I'm really excited this went well and look forward to doing more of these in the future. I got enough interesting submissions for the Gatecrash Art Challenge that I'm going to cover every submission for one piece of art per day. First, Igor Kieryluk.

I'd never planned to grade these, but as I started writing this article, that's what happened and it just makes sense. Feel free to disagree and explain what I mis-evaluated.

In completely arbitrary order:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Frontier: Some find gold here, but most find hungry wurms.

HV: This pitch is by James Bartolotti. Here are the pitches from rounds onetwo, and three.

The Frontier settlers have travelled too far and dug too deep. Giant buried sandwurms sense the disturbances, and emerge to find a world of tasty morsels. Knowing that the wurms could strike at any time, the settlers hope to strike it rich and leave as quickly as they came. Mechanics include Wurmfood: the high-end monster mechanic, Gold and Dig: to build up your mana for Wurmfood, and Bounty: to highlight those who work outside the law in a dangerous world.

CCDD 011613—Gamble

Cool Card Design of the Day
1/16/2013 - Gamble was inspired by ANTHroplasm's comment on yesterday's post. What if you could take a chance at getting a huge discount on a free spell? You have to pay for the chance and you may get nothing, but you may just hit the jackpot too.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

CCDD 011513—Pistolera Vs The Locals

Cool Card Design of the Day
1/15/2013 - The myriad of attack mechanics we came up with discussing Bloodcall inspired me that we must surely be able to find a combat mechanic for Frontier. Whether it's called Desperado or not, there must be something fun, new and Western. I still haven't nailed it, but today I share two executions of Cover, a mechanic meant to simulate the necessity to take cover when in a shootout.

Monday, January 14, 2013

CCDD 011413—Coordinate

Cool Card Design of the Day
1/14/2013 - I spent about half an hour searching this site for this post before realizing I'd never actually written it. I 'templated' the coordinate mechanic maybe a year or more ago after taking a look at a friend's custom cube. I say 'templated' because I didn't invent the mechanic, and because it's not a valid template under the current rules. Imagine that it is.

This custom cube is hilarious, by the way. Every card is designed by one of the store owners/employees at Redcap's Corner with the intention to be in the same league as the Power 9, or better. They're also designed with a sense of humor. I hate to tease cards like these without examples; I'll ask for some to share with you all.

In the meantime, here's coordinate on a card that might be reasonable in Standard.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

CCDD 011213—Thabe Ruins

Cool Card Design of the Day
1/12/2013 - The great thing about ruins is that they hint not only at ancient civilization with lost power or wisdom, but an unknown catastrophe that could wipe them out. You want to learn what secrets the civilization took with them to the grave, but you also need to learn what could have destroyed them so you can avoid it yourself.

This design is interesting enough, but also dangerous enough that it's chances of surviving Development are slim. I'd be curious to see what other top-down designs you all might have made from the same art. Bonus points if the end result feels Egyptian... No reason.

Friday, January 11, 2013

CCDD 011113—Desu Coast and Arra Field

Cool Card Design of the Day
1/11/2013 - Counting sucks. It's not hard to make it worthwhile, as with Tarmogoyf and Wayfaring Temple or trivial, as with Kindle, but generally you want to avoid "count all the things" effects. Metalcraft works because you only have to count to three, or if there are enough artifacts visible, not at all.

There are, fortunately more ways to reward "having a lot" of something than counting. Here's an example using ETB-triggers.

Gatecrash Art Challenge

The mothership teased 15 pieces of unpecified art for Gatecrash cards today. I personally love the challenge of trying to design cards that fit both the art and what we already know about the set and I'm guessing a few of you might as well. So I'm proposing an informal art challenge in which you can submit up to one card design for any number of the pieces of art here. I will do likewise and then post a follow-up with my favorites. I will likely prioritize designs by likelihood they really could be in Gatecrash and by general awesomeness.

The actual cards will be spoiled fairly soon, so let's set a deadline of midnight PST Wednesday. Post your submissions in the comment section below, but only once. Avoid looking at other people's submissions before finalizing your own for maximum righteousness.


1 Igor Kieryluk

2 Zoltan Boros

3 Chase Stone

4 Scott Chou

5 Christine Chou

6 David Palumbo

7 Matthias Kollros

8 Slavomir Maniak

9 Zoltan Boros

10 Mark Winters

11 Mike Bierek

12 Richard Wright

13 Ryan Barger

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ankh-Theb: The Fertile Land

HV: This pitch is by Nich Grayson.  Here are the pitches from rounds onetwo, and three.

Which set are you pitching?


What is the name of your pitch?

The Fertile Land

What are the major mechanical themes in the set according to your vision?

1.) Ankh is a supertype that is referenced in the set by spells and effects. Each color uses it differently.  It’s most unique feature in this set is that effects count even in the graveyard. That should give it a sufficient afterlife feel.
2.) Eternal Servitude’s flavor is lesser souls of the Plane returning after death to serve the more powerful. It uses the rules created by Morph (minus the ability to flip face up).
3.) Retrace is the returning mechanic. It’ll have a fortune-telling hieroglyph flavor this go around. The twist is that it’ll also be on permanents.
4.) Enemy color theme. Dictated by the flavor of the setting, I see strong reasons to include multicolor enemy colors.

CCDD 010913—Mogg Rally Chief

Cool Card Design of the Day
1/9/2013 - Relentless Assault is a rare but classic effect. Red loves attacking so why not let it do more every once in a while.

Aurelia is the latest Assault on a stick (which is a very small list) and got me thinking about other possibilities for creatures that give you extra combat steps. The biggest concern is the potential power any repeatable effect can grant, so I wanted to make a creature that grants you just one extra attack. Then I thought about that literally:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Frontier: Disquiet on the Western Front

HV: This pitch is by Pasteur.  Here are the pitches from rounds one, two, and three.

Which set are you pitching?

What is the name of your pitch?
Disquiet on the Western Front

What are the major mechanical themes in the set according to your vision?
Top-down Western (Desperado), Land-matters (Dig and Hideaway), Battlecruiser Magic

Friday, January 4, 2013

CCDD 010413—Bloodcall

Cool Card Design of the Day
1/4/2013 - I recently wondered if unleash wouldn't have been a better keyword for Gruul and bloodrush for Rakdos. This morning, I thought a bit about other possibilities for the Gruul mechanic. I named them all bloodcall, but have five executions for you to consider. They all preserve the Gruul focus on attacking, but are more focused on getting your creatures onto the field rather than into your graveyard.

Ekkremes: The light will set us free

HV: This pitch is by James Bartolotti.  Here are the pitches from rounds one, two, and three.

Every thousand years, Ekkreme's elliptical orbit brings it within close range of its mana-rich sun. Those who take advantage of this influx of mana hope to use it to break free of their technocratic oppressors. The technocracy is represented with artifacts, operate, and colorless hybrid. The rising magic class embraces diversity of mana, with sunburst and cards that help other colors (e.g., Wing Granter and Surestrike Mentor).

Thursday, January 3, 2013

CCDD 010313—Jade Constrictor

Cool Card Design of the Day
1/3/2013 - There's nothing too crazy here. It occurred to me that all of the snakes in Magic, none really hit the constrictor concept. Krosan Constrictor kind of does, but the black-only targeting requirement is so lame. Boa Constrictor is… a stretch. You could argue that Kashi-Tribe Warriors and their clan have a constricting effect—and they could have—but it's clearly poison that's making their wrestling buddies so sluggish.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bloodrush vs Unleash

Bloodrush has been revealed as the new ability word for Gruul. For some cost less than the creature's mana cost, you can discard it to boost one of your attacking creatures. The boost matches the bloodrush card's power, toughness and additional abilities. As an ability that foregoes permanent board advantage (in the form of creatures played) in exchange for extra damage and/or combat superiority, it's a very aggressive and very red mechanic.

Since it takes the place of combat spells like Wildsize and using it will reduce the number of creatures you get to play—something most aggressive decks want to maximize—I'm hoping that there will be a lot more creatures in place of spells in the R/G portion of Gatecrash to compensate.

What I really want to talk about is whether the block as a whole might have been better served if the bloodrush mechanic were used for Rakdos (with a name like "flail" or "kamikaze") and unleash were used for Gruul. Before I continue, let me clarify that I'm not suggesting R&D made a poor choice—bloodrush was a late addition to Gatecrash design and Return to Ravnica was most likely already locked in by that time (or at least too far along for such a large overhaul).

The reason I would suggest this switch is that bloodrush feels very Rakdos to me: You're sacrificing a creature for added aggression. At the same time, unleash feels very Gruul to me: You're letting your primal instincts and rage loose to go all-out on offense.

Mechanically, unleash fits black-red a bit better since that color pair shares "can't block" and "must attack" in common where green has no such restriction (beyond the inherent "can't block… flying creatures.") Bloodrush also skews toward black-red mechanically because it's limited to offensive use, something Giant Growth has never had a problem.

Thematically though, making a creature bigger is very green and "can't block" actually makes perfect sense in the green philosophy. Of course there are beasts so vicious that they can't be trained to block when they could be charging ahead. I'd say green has never* used that ability because it needs creature enhancements more than drawbacks (and to help differentiate it from red's beasts).

Do these cards not feel right to you?

Set Design: What's Next?

Happy new year, Magic fans!  I wanted to update you on the status of our Set Design project.

The first thing that's going to happen is feedback from the Goblin Artisans authors on the final pitches.  We received a small enough number that we can actually discuss each one on the main blog, so that's exactly what we're going to do.

After that, there are still some unresolved questions that we'd like to discuss in greater depth before picking one of the three sets to fully design.  I'll be making a series of posts about these topics.  You, faithful readers, will comment and tell us how to solve these open problems.

Once we've addressed (or failed to address) enough of these issues, we'll select a set and start the full design process!