Friday, February 1, 2013

Gatecrash Art Challenge 13 — Ryan Barger

Today we're covering Ryan Barger's art.

B. I totally get why this knight captain of Orzhov teaches all his subordinates to extort the local populace. I'm not sure where he's finding new knights.

A. Better. You could argue this should be smaller and cheaper, but it's entirely printable as-is.

B. I like the duality of doubling the life exchanges, but I feel like Bane of Debtors would be more fun if it didn't have Extort and you had to play at least one other card to combo with it. There's also the concern that players won't realize that "damage causes loss of life."

B. Predictable, but satisfying. Arguably redundant with Stillmoon Cavalier.

A. Extort makes more sense for this art than first strike. This guy's more scary and controlling than fast and fighty.

B. This bit of cleverness doesn't really improve the card. It's a bit awkward that casting it with just black mana gives you a pro-black knight and vice-versa.

A. Even better, do away with all the overly powerful protection nonsense and focus on the other two abilities. This could even be common if Development wanted a strong card to push the mechanic.

B. There's a lot going on here, but it is mythic rare. Lifelink and deathtouch are a fun duality for black-white cards. The final ability does bother me as it's not terribly black and completely not white.

B. Knight of the Treasury is a touch parasitic, but since it combos with itself that shouldn't be a problem. I like the references here and would enjoy playing this, but caring-about-which-color-you-spent isn't a theme anywhere else in the new Ravnica (it was in the original). I'd rather an ability that parallels extort without being as complex:
Whenever you cast a spell, you may pay B or W. If you pay B, +2/+1. If you pay W, +1/+2.

B. Turning extort on the enemy is a neat spin. I'd put it on a rare, though, because this will be confusing to players still learning Extort; likely overwriting their understanding of one of these two effects.

It's pretty interesting that three designers messed with the nature of Extort. I wonder if that was just because Extort is new and they wanted to explore or if it had something to do with this art in particular.

Knight of Obligation is both perfect and boring. It makes perfect sense that this dude is here to harass peons and prevent measures from being taken against its master and 2/4 vigilance represents that to a tee.


  1. I don't see what's wrong with Gilded Captain recruiting other Knights. Orzhov seems good at securing people's loyalties through either religion or coercion. Precinct Captain doesn't explain where exactly the Soldier tokens are coming from or why it triggers upon damage to the opponent either.

    I intended Gilded Captain to be a combo with Knights cards and Knight tokens in Return to Ravnica once Dragon's Maze comes out. I like the idea of a sleeper combo like that, but I guess an argument could be made that it feels too Selesnya so it should be in Dragon's Maze where there are probably going to be more cards that converge themes from different guilds.

    I also intended Gilded Captain to inspire Knight decks in casual constructed. However, RtR block so far seems to avoid tribal effects for some reason, and doesn't even have a stray Elf lord that many non-tribal sets have had. So if there's some kind of policy about that, a Knight lord could be out of place in this block.

    However, I hated how Centaur tokens are just better than Knight tokens in RtR, and I felt that it would be nice to have an effect that makes you care about a particular type of token in the block rather than just want the bigger one.

    By the way, one of the original forms I worked through was:
    Shadow Knight 1BB
    Creature - Human Knight
    When ~ enters the battlefield, put a white 2/2 Knight creature token with extort onto the battlefield.

    I thought it was cool for a single card to give you access to multiple instances of extort, without saying "First strike, extort, extort"

    Then I thought that a growing cabal of extorters would have even greater emotional impact. In order to give the other player a chance to come back, I worded it so that if you kill the Captain, you can get rid of the extort ability on the Knight tokens.

    1. All solid points. I think I just felt like extort and token making were disparate things.