Monday, April 1, 2013

Frontier: Fall of the Eldrazi

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

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

Large creatures (not just Eldrazi), supported by dig, gold counters and hideaways.
Bounty, wither, annihilator, protection from colorless/all colors.


Wildback gunslinger
T: ~ deals 1 damage to target creature an opponent controls, chosen at random.
“You can count on him to hit something.”

Lucky Shot
Destroy target attacking creature with power 4 or less.
“The Red kid couldn’t believe it, but he taken down the whole beast
with well-placed shot to the groin. Remarkable considering he was
aiming for the head.”

Carshuik Brave
Creature – Vampire Warrior
Wither -when ~ deals damage to a creature prevent that damage to a
creature and instead put that many -1/-1 counters on it.
Protection from colorless.

Sudden Growth
Search your library for a basic land card and put that card onto the
battlefield tapped. Then shuffle your library.
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.)

Glaymore Sheriff
Creature – Human Soldier
Bounty - When ~ enters the battlefield, place a bounty on target
Creature. When a creature with a bounty counter dies you may untap
target creature.

Renegade Tracker
Creature – Vampire Scout
When a creature with a bounty counter dies you may place a -1/-1
counter on target creature.

Bareback Rustler
Creature – Human Rogue
~ cannot be blocked by creatures with power 5 or greater.
“His mastery of the Hipparion is second to none. With such
horsemanship he can even outflank a Wumpus. ”

Sabrehorned Bronco
Creature - Horse
Wither - when ~ deals damage to a creature prevent that damage to a
creature and instead put that many -1/-1 counters on it.

Sandmount Gorger
Creature – Wurm
Dig 4 (4, 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.)
“Deep within the Earth, it was always going to take something big to
awaken it from its slumber. Kozilek’s arrival was certainly big

Hired Safecracker
Creature - Spirit Bandit
Unblockable, Hexproof
As an additional cost to cast ~ pay a gold counter.
“No dynamite, no safecracking, he just walks through the steel and
unlocks if from the inside. Worth every cent.”

Horde of Bandits
Creature – Human Bandit
~ power and toughness is equal to the number of bandit’s you control.
Pay a gold counter: Place a 1/1 Bandit token on the battlefield.

Blast Mining
Destroy target land, its controller gets a gold counter.

Circling Vultures
Creature – bird
Whenever a creature your opponent controls dies you may pay 1 life and
draw a card.
Whenever a creature you control dies, you gain life equal to its power.

Dustbowl Hideout
Hideaway - (This land enters the battlefield tapped. When it does,
look at the top four cards of your library, exile one face down, then
put the rest on the bottom of your library.)
t: Add B.
B t: You may play the exiled card without paying its mana cost as long
as 3 or more non-token creatures died this turn.

First, let's talk about individual designs. Some of these cards were very well received by the judges. Everyone liked Horde of Bandits, and Lucky Shot is a nice, flavorful design. Reviews were mixed on Wildback Gunslinger: some thought it just needed to be more expensive (since it's not very random if you drop it on turn 1), but I think that random selection is too time-consuming for a common effect. Sudden Growth has the problem that both of its two modes fetch land. I also think the dig cost on Sandmount Gorger is too high; there's no reason to punish mana-screwed players by not letting their landcyclers work. Blast Mining is an opportunity for a nice flavor text shout-out to Reparations: "Sorry we blasted your mine. Here's some gold." (On a more practical note, I think 3-mana land destruction is problematic, even with gold compensation.)

As for the choice of mechanics, most of them make sense individually, but it's not so obvious how they all fit together. 
Wither is fine as a way to shrink opposing fatties. However, -1/-1 counters and bounty counters can't coexist in the same set. Several cards require gold counters to work, but it's not clear how players get them, aside from having their mines blasted. Dustbowl Hideout and Circling Vultures care about creatures dying, for some reason. All in all, I think there may be a perfectly coherent set that these cards come from, but this particular selection of cards isn't yielding enough information for me to see that vision.


  1. I'm wondering if bounties should be kept seperate from individual creatures.
    Something along the lines of:

    Warrant of Vengeance 1R
    Enchantment - Warrant
    Whenever a creature you control dies, put a bounty counter on ~.
    Whenever a creature an opponent controls dies, you may pay R. If you do, Warrant of Vengeance deals 2 damage to that creature's controller.

    1. Pay R and remove a bounty counter from ~

    2. This certainly fixes the counter confusion problem, but it doesn't translate the flavor of putting a bounty on a particular creature's head.

    3. Agreed. Its far more abstract, and a lot more Johnny. I don't know if the flavor sacrifice is worth it. I think it depends on how badly the set needs a different counter on creatures.

  2. Thanks for the feedback. The main idea was a two sides booster, are you looking for size or are you looking to down the eldrazi, straight removal would be no fun at all. With hindsight a bounty mechanism should somehow incorporate different sized better. If I take down an eldrazi I should get a far better reward than if I take down your saproling token. Counters are possibly unnecessary and reference something no player remembers anyway. If Frontier is picked I feel a bounty mechanic could be included at some rarity.

    Sudden Growth was mainly looking to offer up a better mode for players with access to green mana but a playable substitute to non green decks, digging in itself is worthwhile effect since i envision most decks looking to ramp. I never really saw dig as a way of helping man screwed players, rather cards like Sandmount would for battelcruiser limited and a card which can fit on the curve with multiples rather than an odd one taken at the end of a pack.

    I think your right about gunslinger needing to be a higher cost. At 3 mana and a 2/2 body he should be fine. Pushing him to uncommon is also probably a good idea, based on what you said about random effects.

    At the time of making this I thought it was going to playtested alongside others and that gold counters would be readily available in some form, from other packs. Just finding enough slots in a single booster is quite tough.

  3. Thinking more about it, bounties might be better served as an aura.
    Wanted Dead {B}
    Enchantment - Aura Bounty
    When enchanted creature dies, draw 2 cards.

    Sheriff {2}{W}
    When ~ enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a bounty card and put it into your hand. Shuffle your library afterwards.

    1. This feels like a really good implementation. If curses were specific enough for a subtype, why not bounty. I think having enchant creature you don't control nails down the flavour (no point placing a bounty on your own) and I wonder about one more alteration:

      Wanted Dead
      Enchantment - Aura Bounty
      Enchant creature you don't control.
      When enchanted creature dies, each of its controllers opponents draw 2 cards.

      Despite taking the mechanic out of common it captures the feel of bounties for multiplayer games. Alternatively I do wonder if theres an simple way to word rewarding only the creatures killer (i.e. the player that dealt lethal damage to it) when it dies. I tried but came up against the dreaded wall of rules text. Thoughts?

    2. Took me a bit to figure out what Antny was going for here. He meant, "When enchanted creature dies, each opponent of that creature's controller draws 2 cards."

      That way, I can put a bounty on Bob's Dark Confidant, and Carol will have a motivation to kill it. But then Doug who did nothing benefits too and I end up being down a card in the deal.

      "You draw a card and target player draws a card" would let you reward another player at your discretion, without helping the whole table but that's going to confuse duel-only players.

      Regardless, making Bounties auras is such a clean, simple solution it's embarrassing we didn't find it sooner.