Monday, May 6, 2013

Weekend Art Challenge Review 050313—Chibionpu

Weekend Art Challenge Review
Here's the challenge we're reviewing today.

Nich explains that this isn't a creature card for flavor reasons. It's not that your summoning this little spirit that protects you, but that you're astrally projecting yourself and your physical form can't be harmed while you're doing it. The instant speed was so to help differentiate this from Platinum Angel by making it feel like "an ejector seat."

The idea definitely qualifies as wondrous, but I would make it a creature so you don't have all that crazy text on a token card. I'd remove flash because astral projection is never an sudden thing in the fiction—it usually starts with a meditative trance. I'd also add a downside because usually being ripped from your alternate reality is pretty jarring and the card just needs something unique.

One question I always ask before moving forward with a design is, do any important decks auto-lose to this card? By "important" I don't mean Tier I, I mean the decks that new/old/casual/tournament players should be able to bring to the table. While it's fine for certain cards to be particularly problematic for a given deck, it's entirely against the game's own interests to make a single card that automatically wins the game against such a deck.

Aurora Lua turns off red and green decks entirely because they have no way to win, and no way to destroy Aurora.

If enchantment lands are ever a thing, zefferal's is a fair pass at one. It's debatable whether the game wants another dual-type land, but that's not what I want to talk about. The last ability definitely feels very enchantment-y and is probably about fair in terms of power level considering that your ETB-tapped land can be Naturalized. I do imagine that giving this a basic land type is one step too far. If enchantment lands never happen, this could just be an untapped land that has "{T}: Add {U}" and "{T}: Look at the top card of target player's library."

Simple and effective. The mechanic isn't terribly wondrous, but the flavor clearly is.

Not sure Dreamscape Musings is particularly white, other than the name, but the card is definitely exciting and wondrous. Jules listed some good reasons this should only care about the card that triggered it, rather than every card you've cast this turn.

The blue in Fevered Dreams' cost is likely vestigial from earlier iterations that added a Howling Mine. Ben wisely excised that when he realized he had a unique effect without that. This way, you leave it to the players to play Howling Mine with this and feel clever about it.

There's a missing connection between these two abilities. If the first said something like, "you can't cast spells when you could cast a sorcery", then it would be clear how the second ability is related: That card is telling you to play instants. But as-is, the first part also prevents other players from casting on your turn, which doesn't really jive with the rest. Jenesis added a neat little interaction for no extra words, but there was a cost: focus.

Blue is the king of Magical Hack effects, but it's always replacing one color word with another. I think this effect would fit better as an artifact. Ineffable Harmony is plenty wondrous and should appeal very strongly to many Johnnies.

I could see Niv-Mizzet, the Enchantment being printed one day, though I'd expect it to be a direct call-back.

Mystical Island would be an interesting way to support a gold set. It fixes your mana, provided you commit to mono-blue and multicolor-blue spells. Obviously part of a cycle. Neat.

Tigt offers another design that will make most players scratch their heads in wonder while Johnnies cackle with delight. Seems legit.

Kudos to Jules for offering the exact text I settled on here. I love that everyone has an incentive to participate in the free spell lottery. It's worth noting that there are ways to bend this to your favor, like by casting global spells the benefit you regardless of who cast them.

I'm not sure a lot of players want to see Stasis come back (for the same reason Stone Rain isn't a thing anymore), and I'm not sure the ones who do will be satisfied with this doubly-nerfed version, but I do imagine it's about balanced enough.

It's unclear if "can't fight" works; it might, but even if it does, it seems cleaner to wrap that into the first ability by removing the "combat" qualifier. That, combined with "can't activate abilities" is very close to simply "tap all creatures" though Wizards has shown they're willing to do similar but different abilities in the same block with detain and Hands of Binding.

We got designs of every color (even colorless) except black. Almost enough to make me want to design a wondrous black card... but I got nothing.


  1. A wondrous black card...a Miracle, perhaps?

    As a black card, the art suggests to me some kind of mass Beckon Apparition effect or a Will o' the Wisp upgrade.

    1. Hmm…

      Wake the Ancestors {2}{B}{B}
      Sorcery (rare)
      Each player exiles all creature cards from his or her graveyard and puts that many 1/1 colorless Spirit creature tokens with flying OTB.

      Feels kinda white as-is. Perhaps {W}{B} or {WB}{WB}. Maybe add something dark: "…and loses that much life."

    2. If you get all the tokens instead of each player getting their own cards' tokens, it might feel more black.

    3. I agree, but how do you cost that? At least 6cc right?

  2. "Almost enough to make me want to design a wondrous black card... but I got nothing."

    Hm. It must be possible, think of someone like Lord Byron, where wikipedia says:

    "Lord Byron, was an Anglo-Scottish poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement ... regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read and influential.

    He travelled to fight against the Ottoman Empire in the Greek War of Independence, for which Greeks revere him as a national hero. He died at age 36 from a fever contracted while in Missolonghi in Greece.

    Byron was celebrated in life for aristocratic excesses, including huge debts, numerous love affairs, rumours of a scandalous incestuous liaison with his half-sister, and self-imposed exile. It has been speculated that he suffered from bipolar I disorder."

    That sounds like someone who could be black but wonderous.

    But I can't think of a card yet :)

    1. Lord Byron's awesome, but I'd argue he's at least as red as he is black.