Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Suvnica, Week 2 Review, Part 2: Looking Out for the Little Guys (Boros)

While the Dimir creative visions all played into a similar theme — knowledge at any cost — with some variation, the Boros designs had a little more range. Let's see what we came up with.

Zefferal's Boros

"In my mind, this is the Vigilante guild. These are the people who reject society's and legal systems methods of dealing with injustice. They see how justice systems are perverted by corruption, and instead they choose to live by a simple philosophy: Do the right thing. Everyone's "right thing" may vary a little, but ultimately most members of Suvnica's Boros agree that innocent people should be protected, especially from people in authority. Some seek to punish those that harmed innocents, while others are more focused on preventing the harm in the first place."
My design received quite a bit of critique for being too close to Ravnican Boros. That's probably fair, although I maintain that Boros is really a monowhite guild that they shoehorned some red cards into. I see Suvnican Boros as being more the Brotherhood Without Banners instead of Robb Stark's Army.

Lobster667's Boros

"I think "Sorob" has to be focused on Red goals by White means. This means a peaceful (or, at least, somewhat caring) way of achieving individual freedom. We need to stay true to our emotions and instincts - the ones that are unselfish, at least. This doesn't lend itself to an "army" as much as, perhaps, a community somewhat akin to the Selesnyan Conclave of traditional Ravnica (with a rather different agenda, of course)."
Peaceful is very hard to pull off in a game centered around creature-based combat. This is especially the case in RW since those are the weenie colors. That said, it would be really cool to make a mechanically control-based guild around this.

Lobster667's Cards:

There's a lot of disconnect between this guy's name and his mechanics, so I'm not sure what aspect of the flavor you're aiming to capture. Caretaker seems like he would be more interested in protecting something, but haste is all about the attack, be an aggressor. Flash would be more appropriate. Otherwise a nice common design.

I modified the wording a little bit. This guy is fantastic as a monowhite card meant to represent the RW guild. I think, for the sake of elegance, he might be better off as a weenie himself, maybe a 1/1 or a 1/2. 

There's the control element I was looking for. This could absolutely be a guild champion. She's a little overpowered, I think, since she just shuts down your opponent, but let's let development worry about that. A quick aside on creature types: Angels and similar iconic creature types tend not to specialize into classes, especially at larger sizes. Cleric would probably be dropped by creative. 

Jules' Boros:

"The Sorob are devoted to the causes of freedom and self determination, but that doesn't come about naturally. Left to their own devices, the strong will naturally edge out the weak and impinge on their freedoms. The Sorob exist to keep people from trampling each other, but don't make any laws to inhibit what you do without prescribing action for another."
Libertarian Boros feels right. This is definitely the home of prominent musicians and entertainers, as well as assorted activists.

Jules' Cards:

Great. Also works as a hybrid RW card.

Jules is rocking the commons. Straightforward designs, no color pie issues, and doesn't stretch to meet the flavor he's pushing.

This one feels slightly off-flavor to me. I get an activist would be pro-creatures, but I don't really get why he would be compelled to attack every turn. It feels too aggressive for the whole "no laws that inhibit what you do without prescribing action for another" thing.

lpaulsen's Boros:

"The Boros believe that freedom is an absolute and sacred value, and they are willing to stand up for this belief in any circumstance, by force if necessary. Their extreme position has made them many enemies, however, and they are constantly in danger. To survive, they form small, tight-knight communities that are held together by their shared beliefs. Mechanically, the Boros work mostly with small creatures, but they are as likely to block and use abilities as they are to attack."
Suvnica's version of the disenfranchised Gruul. I like the flavor.

lpaulsen's Cards:

I like the design. It probably ought to be rare, and I think adding a mana cost to the activation would help balance it a little better, but definitely explores some cool design space.

I'm not 100% certain this guy is going to work the way players will expect him to. Maybe someone with better knowledge of the comp rules can tell me if creatures are still considered attacking or blocking at the point that creatures start dying at the end of combat? If not, it's an easy fix ("... to target creature that attacked or blocked this turn") and if so it's a nice design.

This card sparked a lot of discussion in the comments. As Jay Treat points out, Flash doesn't go in red unless you're in Time Spiral block. While definitely in flavor with the description offered, this card feels way more UB than R (although not especially at home in any of the Dimir visions discussed earlier today).

As a replacement, lpaulsen offered this, which feels a lot more home in red than the flashy goblin and still hits the flavor lpaulsen was aiming for. Comment feedback FTW!

Jay Treat's Boros

Jay didn't offer a full vision of the Boros, but did offer some insight into visions that never fit quite at home in a game primarily about combat.

"If we wanted to explore red ends with white means, we could have a passionately peaceful guild. That would certainly be new and interesting, but likely hard to put on Magic cards. Here's a shot:
  • Whenever ~ blocks a creature, REWARD
  • If ~ would deal combat damage to a player, you may instead have that player skip his or her next combat phase.
  • ~ can't attack or block unless the other player has a bigger creature."
I'm including it because I really want to see someone develop this. RW are undoubtedly the combat-happy weenie colors. Can we make make a guild that rewards avoiding combat while keeping the game fun for everyone and making them still feel as much a part of the sets identity and mechanics as two or three or four other guilds that will be showing up alongside them in packs? Someone needs to pick up this torch and run with it.


  1. An entire guild full of Norin the Wary 's? Passion (other than anger) is a fairly difficult to express aspect of red's pie. It's hard to find an alternate strategy for red that shows passion: red's end, more so than any other color, is to deal 20 to the face as quickly as possible. That doesn't mesh very well with peace. Maybe a bunch of mutual damage effects + lifegain?

  2. The mechanical hook for the passionately-peaceful guild could be something like Metalsmithing. Both Red and White have good relationships with equipment.

    Creature - Dwarf Artificer
    Metalsmith - 3,T: Put a colorless equipment artifact token onto the battlefield with "Equip: 3" and "Equipped creature gets +1/+1."

  3. Hmm, both red and white like artifacts and have Dwarves...

  4. I'm not convinced that equipment tokens are a good route because the simple ones are so close to +1/+1 counters, but it certainly makes it easier to affiliate equipment with a guild, which seems like a good fit for Sorob.