Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Suvnica Week 1 Review, Part 1: Rage and Grace (Gruul)

(6/10: As originally published, the design review for Gruul was incorporated into the Week 2 Design Challenge. I've moved them out of that article and into their own pages for easier navigation and uniformity in the reviews. Some comments on the content of this section are still contained in the original article)

Zefferal's Gruul

"[A] guild whose primary purpose is to tear down any restrictions on freedom, accomplished by being bigger, stronger, and more stubborn than anyone else. Instead of the underdog, we now have the bully."
Nobody wanted to play in my Gruul playground (probably worried about tetanus). A lot of people rightly pointed out that Black is the color of bullying. I probably could have expressed this better, stressing that it wasn't bullying as much as it was unrestrained aggression towards weaker things, while still having sense enough to respect (and steer clear of) larger things, which was the mechanical identity I was trying to convey. Bullying is more of a means to gain or maintain power, which is definitely Black.

lpaulsen's Gruul

"[A] loose association of adventurers, wanderers, travelling merchants, and the like, who love to ignore restrictions and believe above all else in doing what feels natural to them. The only things tying them together are a fierce love of nature and a cheerful willingness to help other Gruul in need. Many Gruul tame wild animals for transportation, entertainment, protection, and sustenance."
Lots of love for this version. I think it really captures both Red and Green, and still feels more than the sum of its parts.

lpaulsen submitted the following designs:

As an aside, a lot of submissions (like this) didn't include rarity, so I took an educated guess.

I like Resourceful Salvage a lot. For starters, resisting the urge to make this card a creature. The majority of submissions are creatures, which makes sense since they are easier to use as vehicles to demonstrate creative identity than are other types of spells. This one manages to tell a story on a sorcery. There are a couple things that I might change. I would have the card exile itself on resolution because shenanigans. I would also make either the discard or the returned cards random (one or the other, not both) to make it feel a little more red.

H&R Bandit is nice and clean, and probably more powerful than he looks.

I changed the wording on the Indrik slightly to read a little better. I'm pretty sure it has the same effect. Originally "~ can't be blocked by any combination of creatures with less than 4 total power."

Devin E. Green submitted these for lpaulsen's Gruul:

Love Haarg Hill Caravan. The token probably ought to be defined as green or red/green, and I think creature types can change to elf or something else based on how we ultimately flavor the vision. This would be especially awesome if there were other means to produce Llanowar Elf tokens in the guild.

I like Wildeye Shield, but it has a few problems. First, I'm not 100% sure it has the highest ratio of "target" per word, but it probably comes close. I can't think of a less confusing way to parse it out. Also, I'm not sure how green that card is, which means it should be printed as a proper gold card are more likely just mono-R. Finally, I'm not sure what the spell gives us from a creative perspective that puts it in lpaulsen's Gruul as opposed to any other Gruul.

Chah's Gruul

"A race of volcano-worshiping Cyclopes or Titans that rely on the power of fire to clear out room to grow. (Mechanically, plays board-wiping burn spells and mana rituals to cast fatties, rather than attacks quickly like Gruul.)"
 I don't really see the Green in this vision, except slightly in the mechanical-preference to fatties.

That said, Chah had some very fun designs:

First of all, Wurm Druid? What's not to love? I put this at common despite the wordiness, as it didn't quite feel uncommon.

This is playing in some dangerous territory (see virtually any Blue spell in Urza's Saga Block), but that's development's problem. This definitely captures the feel of the guild that Chah proposed, but I don't really see the Red element in this spell.

Solid. I would put it at 5/5, since it's already very pricey and you're probably going to want to wipe for 4 pretty frequently and you don't want to always lose the wurm druid (!).

Lobster667's Gruul

"The "Red goals with Green Means" doesn't have to be all violent (but I like where you're going with bullies). Green might be ruthless but is not always about fighting. I feel like Gruul didn't tap enough into the "meditative" and "tranquil" sides of Green. Perhaps we are looking at some sort of loosely defined, monastic creed?"
Not a lot of red in the description. Let's look at the cards:

Very green philosophy and red means.

No P/T given, so I left them blank. The charm on a body is a fun idea, possibly one to include as a cycle down the line. Historically, getting rid of defender on other cards is pretty white, but there are very few things that do it and it's completely in flavor here, so we'll let it go.

Mythics! What do you think this is, Return to Suvnica? This one is also tough to parse, but I definitely like it for what it is. The flavor text also raises some interesting questions. If we're looking at alt-universe Ravnica, what does that do to associated PWs like Jace and Ral?

Jay Treat's Gruul

"Red wants to be wild and free, and green wants to grow wild and free. The end is to grow unbounded and the means is chaos. The Luurg believe in no limits and flourish anywhere and everywhere, but there is no rhyme or reason to any of it. They value life and growth and exploration for their own sake."

This guy and Chah's Wurm Druid should get together. They would make a cute couple.

I feel like this is very undercosted, but captures the vision well.

I love this, but it would more likely be GU or mono-G. I would give this card the new playtest name of "Love letter to Maro," but then my flavor text contribution would make less sense.

This one's a little hard to read, so I blew it up for you. It's also very hard to understand, but there's not much I can do about that. I tried to template it as best I could while keeping the intent, but it may not work the way it wants to. That said, I still like the the variable-size Mitotic Slime.

A nice take on the Llanowar Sentinel/Squadron Hawk that feels red.

This is kind of an odd man out. It's a nice design, but doesn't really say anything about the vision of Gruul Jay described.

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