Monday, May 27, 2013

Suvnica Week 4 Review, Part 1: Mother Nature's Son (Selesnya)

Alright. The Week 4 submissions are locked in. Let's check out some of the possible directions we could take the Suvnican GW guild.

Zefferal's Vision

This is a guild that, similar to my reimagining of Azorius, is fundamentally an Academy. Instead of seeking knowledge, this school/temple/monastery seeks to help its students and adherents ultimately understand their own destinies and assist them in realizing it. Mechanically, this is going to take the opposite approach from Ravnican Selesnya. Instead of amassing an army of anonymous creatures, this guild wants a few champions (selected by destiny) who receive support from the other creatures.

Lobster667 came up with a few cards for this vision, although one was a preprint and the others were contributions to the cycle challenge, which will be covered in another post.

Definitely captures the feel of the group supporting one champion. Good choice.

Nice, simple design. It might have to get pushed to Uncommon, depending on the complexity of the other commons in the set, since cards that have you constantly checking board state tend to be discouraged under NWO, but still a lot of fun.

Ben added a few more designs. His twist on my vision was to envision a religious aspect to the group, worshiping spirits of the wild. Here's his cards:

My kind of card, although almost certainly not at common (Beast of Burden type effects tend to show up at rare, and occasionally at uncommon). I kind of like the reverse-tribal thing, and I could see it being a mechanical theme in a set, although I'm not sure that Suvnica is the place to develop it. The guilds like their mechanical themes to be narrow and synergistic, and that mechanic is begging for further exploration.

Right on target. Not a lot in the way of bookkeeping, green-feeling mechanic, and fits perfectly into the vision.

That is super wonky and I love it. I'm not nearly enough of a rules guru to know if it actually works, but I'm relatively confident this needs to be rare at the very least, and possibly even mythic for playing around in such weird design space. Also, I suspect he'd need to have a cmc of seven or eight to be remotely not broken. But still. Awesome.

Nice and on theme, but I don't think the effect being unilateral (each creature you control with the greatest power or tied for among creatures you control) would be unfair in any way or make it cost any more. You just don't want this one sitting dead in your hand because your opponent out-fattied you.

I like this guy in theory, but that middle line is never going to see print. If you limited it to activated abilities it would be one thing, because those are the only type of ability that ever get called out on cards. Even at mythic, saying this has all static abilities is going to raise a lot of eyebrows and have a lot of people calling "judge" at FNMs.

Also, (and I'm not saying it doesn't work) the third line calls back the nightmare mechanic from Odyssey block,where it only appeared in {U}{B}{R}. Very interesting to see it show up on a {G}{W} card.

Why not?

Jay Treat offered a mechanical variant on my vision, looking to the enchantment-liking overlap of {G}{W} instead of focusing on creatures.

We'll knock the reprints out first, since they generally speak for themselves.

In many ways, this mechanical focus is already starting to look similar to Ravnica 1.0's Simic, which liked attaching things to things.

Rabid Wombat is one of my all time favorite cards. That's all.

I'm not sure if Jay envisioned this as a horizontal cycle, or maybe even a pair of horizontal cycles, that could be spread across all guilds, or just a couple of nice mirrors Incarnations. Setting aside the cycle idea for a minute, they're perfectly serviceable on their own, although I feel they would be muscling into design territory that this guild seems to want to reserve for legit enchants. If the guild cares about enchants, and these two cards are functioning as emblems instead, we might be doing something wrong. Aside from memory issues (and I think those would be de minimus if it's just a small handful of cards), is there any reason not to have the death trigger from the Warrior create an enchantment token with the same text? Or have the Healer create a lifelink (or indestructable!) aura token?

Anyways, to me, this looks like an incredible mine of untapped cycle potential. Either of these cards could exist as a verticle cycle in-guild, or be part of a horizontal cycle across all the guilds (or all the guilds that share a set with Selesyna - it doesn't have to be a block-wide cycle) where each component color of a guild gets two cards that reflect each other and play up one of the guild strategies. I'm putting this in my Suvnica notebook, and there's a good chance we'll be developing this in later weeks.

lpaulsen's Selesnya

The new Selesnya are a religious order devoted to achieving peace, order, and unity among all. However, they believe that the self-- personal consciousness, memory, and desire-- stands in the way of this goal and must be eliminated. Therefore, they cultivate harmony with nature above all else, trying to eliminate conscious thought in favor of instinct and innate knowledge. Few people of Suvnica have the dedication to follow this path for long, but those who do become powerful sages, healers, monks, and beast-tamers. Mechanically, this means that the new Selesnya are more about big or otherwise powerful creatures than about lots of creatures.
lpaulsen and I were more or less in the same camp here. Similar philosophy, similar mechanical ramifications. Here's his cards:

A nice lenticular design here. I can either make an uber-blocker, ensuring you have to swing in with at least two of your guys if you want it to matter, or I can make your biggest threat a little bit less of a threat.

OK, I guess. It might be pushing the boundaries of what's ok for a 1 mana vanilla, but that's development's issue.

I'm on the fence with this mechanic. It's definitely flavorful, and probably pretty good power-wise for people who have more patience than me, but I think the tension between building your fatty and sidelining him routinely may be a problem.

That's more like it. "Sorry I caved your skull in. Here's some gym passes." I think I might bump the counters given to two, since anything that survives him should be rewarded (and he should be threatened by at least something soon after he's dropped).

Jules' Vision

The Aynseles each know the role they are destined to fulfill, and no matter how menial, they don't begrudge it. After all, would not the wolf die of cold were its hairs to abandon it? Each member serves to empower those who outrank them so that the guild as a whole is able to carve out more room for growth.

A much more militaristic/hierarchical vision of the motif we've pretty much all been working in.

Very nice. Generally cards like this are green and red, and tribal in nature, but they don't show up with much frequency to really say they're not part of the {G}{W} pie. It definitely captures the community feel that {G}{W} is always looking for.

Similar to Jay's cycle, I could see this being a kind of thing that works both vertically within a guild and horizontally throughout the guilds. This is definitely space that we're going to have to explore as we develop Suvnica a little further (and if anyone wants to take up the reins in this week's challenge, more power to them).

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