Wednesday, February 6, 2013

CCDD 020613—Magma Pulse

Cool Card Design of the Day
2/6/2013 - Seething Song's recent banning got me thinking about rituals. The core premise is that you're trading card advantage for a one-shoot mana advantage. Despite that sounding like a bad deal at face value, Magic's mana system is so crucial to the flow of the game, that trading a card for two mana can be more than worthwhile, whether on turn 1 or 3.

Even so, one mana has never really been a problem (I'm thinking Elvish Spirit Guide as opposed to Sol Ring or Mox Ruby here), so can we find a mid-point?

So if you've got one Magma Pulse, it's a lowly one mana gain for your card, but if you've got two, you can net three mana for two cards. On the one hand, that's only 1.5 mana per card, but it's also more mana than a (single) Dark Ritual. It's going to be pretty hard to open (or mulligan into) a hand that has a Mountain, two Magma Pulses and a spell that's worth pitching two extra cards to cast on turn one.

The second version of the card has a higher entry requirement (you must pitch two cards to get any mana boost) but also a better minimum effect. It's just as hard to get the dream play, but much easier to get the expensive Dark Ritual.

I'm guessing the second version is still too abusable, but maybe the first isn't?


  1. Aren't each these basically an all upside Pyretic Ritual? I'm thinking limiting it to just giving the 2 mana would be good enough for constructed.

    1. Does Pyretic Ritual see much play? I'm of the impression it sees almost none.

  2. In the end, it's still just a fast mana card that's either busted or unplayable, with no middle ground.

    I much prefer cards like Seismic Spike or Coal Stoker that give you back mana when you cast them. Or if you still want to be able to accelerate, Cathodian-type cards could be fun in red:

    Mana Vessel 2R
    Creature - Elemental
    When ~ dies, add RR to your mana pool at the beginning of your next main phase.

  3. I like the idea of rituals costing more than one card for mana acceleration. I think you can streamline it and tie the discard to the flavor. The discard could be like throwing kindling into the fire.

    Stoke the Flames R (C)
    As an additional cost to cast Stoke the Flames, discard a red card.
    Add RRR to your mana pool.

    Where WotC (with Rite of Flame) and Magma Pulse get in trouble is that they are trying to make mana acceleration into an engine on its own. Just trading cards for acceleration should be enough. Besides, you never want too many interations of this sort of mechanic or you get Mono-Red Storm all over again.