Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekend Art Challenge Review 051013—Joshk92

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

I'm not sure how this would play out in real life, but it sounds fun to me and feels both black and city. What do you think?

Though—like Auction House—there's nothing mechanically "city" about Bazaar of Wonders, it sounds like it belongs on a city plane and those cards often do as much work in rounding out a set's theme.

Being able to wish for cards each turns is powerful and exciting. Making the swap a 1:1 exchange was smart. Otherwise, it would have been a free (in terms of cards), repeatable tutor. I do wonder if matching on type would be safer and/or more fun than matching on CMC.

Welcome Hevaen. I love the idea of a land that you can upgrade into an enchantment, effectively. I would definitely remove legendary so that your opponent can't destroy your maxed out Bazaar by playing his own copy. My main concern is that this looks like a Timmy card, but is secretly a Johnny card: Bustling Bazaar rewards you for playing mostly basic lands, but is muuuch harder to turn on when you're only playing basic lands. There are solutions, of course, but that's Johnny's shtick.

I'm a big fan of Bustling Promenade. It uses existing tech in a new way that makes sense and feels perfect for this city plane. I'm not sure this artifact needs to be white (but I have no big arguments against that either), but if it weren't white, I'd push for the Citizens to be colorless, as you'll see again.

You start reading Evan's Cathedral Square (which ended up inspiring a lot of subsequent submissions) thinking "holy cow, this is busted" and then you get to the last line. Oh. So... it's a creature, but it doesn't do anything creatures do, except be. The idea is to enable creature-counting effects like Crusader of Odric and Chorus of Might. I very much approve of creature-counting in a city-plane since large crowds and cramped populations are a big part of city life. I definitely want a few cards that can enable that, but I'm not completely sold on Community.

James is promoting diversity here and I think this would make a great cycle for our city set.

The Colonnades call back to the Magemark cycle (which would never have existed in this mental exercise [and this is why we don't travel through time, children]), but as land auras, feel like a building or location that has come together and can grow as more communities/landmarks are added. That's pretty cool. My only concern is the standard don't-do-nonland-things-in-the-land-area guide, but we just came off of 12 cards in RtR block that do exactly that.

Glimpse of the City seems dangerously close to Flash, but doesn't auto-win with Protean Hulk. Maybe it's fine? I'd put a * on this design to make sure Dev gives it an extra close eye.

Should this be red? (I think red and blue are both valid choices, but red might be slightly better)

A new card type? Bold. Boldness is one of my favorite of Wobbles' traits.

My primary concern with a new card type is that no existing cards interact with it (other than "target permanent"), leaving you dependent on new "target realm" effects. It took them a while to make enough cards that foil Planeswalkers, but at least you could attack them. As a result, we're forced to make Realms relatively weak.

Wobbles has recognized that and made the card draw global (assuming he means "each" in place of "both") on Hall of Negotiation, but I don't know that it's worth making a new card type if all the cards of that type have to be 'meh'. If instead realm were a subtype of enchantments (or artifacts or lands), then we wouldn't have to nerf them for that reason and could make them more compelling.

People everywhere!

If you think too hard about the flavor here, it might start to fall apart, but on the surface level this is awesome.

Switcheroo gets a cost upgrade and can target non-creatures, but with a new and unique limitation. The number of mana symbols have to match. We've not seen any cards printed that care about that yet, and I'm guessing it's not because Wizards never considered it. It's just a very abstract thing. Why can I swap my Goblin Piker for your Scaled Wurm but not my Primeval Titan for your Dread?

If the set had a threshold of these effects, that would make putting in here more reasonable, but I think we need more resonance to justify it.

Going with the creatures-matter theme a few cards have hinted at already, Populism is the creature version of Metalcraft. Seems decent. I wonder if testing would show 4 or 5 to be a better threshold considering how much more common creatures are than artifacts were even in Scars.

The only reason I gave Market Square itself convoke was to eliminate the potential question, does Market Square give itself convoke while it's in your hand.

I think convoke could work quite well in a city-set (yes, even without Selesnya existing). The idea of applying it to all your spells appealed to me as a build-around rare.

Fading explains that Community or not, he imagines the plane's citizenry being 0-power creatures. I'd hate to be the sacrificial offering at this forum, but look, it's for the good of the group. This card feels kind of black and kind of white. It could work in Orzhov or Vohzro, but making it colorless is another solution. Not my favorite, but defensible.

Lobster667 made a cycle of these. So you can play multiple colors and start to combine effects as you do. Which is awesome.

I'm thinking Dev would nerf this; if not for power-level reasons, then because it messes with combat math so much that it doesn't seem like a good fit for the New World Order.

Another auction card from me. This one lets you sell anyone's anything to the highest bidder. Maybe you buy your opponent's best creature by paying X life, where X is their current life total. Maybe you force them to pay life to keep their game-winning artifact. Sheriff's Sale (yeah, typo'd the card) takes on a whole new life in multiplayer where you can play your opponents against each other and profit in the process.

Another cool way to do buildings. Most times, they're just colorless lands, but the more you build, the more free things you get. Sweet.

I think Tourist Attraction is too good as it stands, since you have the choice of using it for mana the turn you play it or tapping it for a free 1/1. Makes Dryad Arbor look anemic.

For me, it's really awkward that you have to have {R} to cast Traveling Weaponsmith, but you have to pay !R!R (two mana of any color except red) to get maximum benefit from it. I prefer
{2R}, {T}: Attacking creatures get +1/+0 until end of turn for each mana spent activating this ability.
but Evan and James both had interesting suggestions too.

Ignoring our designerly butting-in, it seems Nich is trying to encourage players to play multiple colors without outright saying that. Sometimes subtlety is perfect, but for big set themes like that, you usually want to pretty blunt about it.

I love that we got a design of every color and every (non-PW) card-type, including a brand new one. How's that for diversity?!

I'm also really pleased that we were able to find a few mechanical themes for a city plane that weren't tainted by the uber-gold pre-existence of Ravnica. It's a very useful trait for a game designer to be able to pretend something that everyone knows exists doesn't, sometimes. Well done.


  1. Jay, I don't have Twitter, so congrats on getting the YMTC gig! I really like the designs that made it through.

  2. If new card types are nerfed because of balance concerns, why not make the first generation of them self-destructing? They could have vanishing or they could have short triggered abilities based on your opponents' actions. "At the beginning of each upkeep, if an opponent cast two or more spells last turn, sacrifice CARDNAME" or something. At least until a robust variety of applicable answers are printed.

  3. My favorite thing about Buildings is the double-meaning of the word "level." But it's also a really cool and flavorful idea, and less confusing than creatures with Level Up that have multiple P/T boxes on them. If the mechanic weren't already called "Level Up" I'd want to just use it directly on [artifacts/enchantments/new type?] with the option to use mana or non-mana activation costs.

  4. If it wasn't already clear, these submissions certainly show that population density is an easy thing to hit for cities. Despite my submission falling into that camp, I'm more interested in the development angle.

    Buildings seem cool, though for NWO reasons we probably don't want a bunch of them with instant speed activations floating around. Maybe they could all have abilities that trigger/can only be activated at the same time to simplify things.

    Realms fall into an awkward spot in my book: they're too new and different to cleanly fit into an existing card type, but don't change game play enough to really justify a new type. Part of the problem is that until you control multiple they're no different from enchantments with "may" triggers for attacking. Maybe they could function as "lanes" a la Solforge. A creature would attack through a realm, and other creatures would have to enter that realm to block it. Then we could have realms like:

    The Arena 1R
    Realm-Entertainment (C)
    (Creatures you control may enter and attack through a realm, if they do, they can only be blocked by creatures the defending player controls that enter that realm.)
    Whenever a creature enters CARDNAME it gets +1/+0 until end of turn.

  5. You mention that you thought convoke would work in a city set, even when we pretend that Selesnya doesn't exist. Funny, I had considered that populate could work in a city set, the other Selesnya mechanic, ...but I discarded the idea because I was pretending Ravnica doesn't exist.

    I want populate to be used with Citizen tokens, but other creature tokens are inevitable to also exist. Perhaps a modified populate (since the original never existed in this exercise) to compensate.

  6. I missed this weeks challenge but there are a few interesting ideas here. I thought I might give my two cents:

    Love Auction House's idea, it would get my vote in YMTC and on that less than subtle link I too thank Jay for all the hard work he did for YMTC. Cheers and congrats.

    Bazaar of wonders has one of the phrases that I hate to see on cards "A card you own from outside the game". I shudder every time I see it. That said I really feel Bazaar should be exiling a card rather than discarding to stop players truly abusing it.

    Bustling Promenade is awesome as a top down design. It really makes me want to play a new city set. :)

    Glimpse of a city is also neat but probably shouldn't be rare.

    I kind of agree with others on Realms, new card types are cool but what do they give us that enchantments don't. That said the card has some interesting playability. Maybe if the Realm wasn't controlled by any player and acted as neutral card that anyone can attack through it would be novel enough?

  7. I don't really see why realms can't be a subtype of enchantments. It can have special rules the same way auras and equipment do.

    Coward's Realm {2}{R}
    (Creatures may attack or block in any one realm. A creature attacking in a realm can't be blocked except by creatures blocking in that realm.)
    Creatures attacking or blocking in Coward's Realm can't attack or block alone.

    1. Can you attack through a realm you don't control?

    2. In the wording of Coward's Realm, yes. It's not hard to see how that may not be desirable. Obviously, any new card type like this would require quite a bit of both Design and Development.

  8. bazaar of wonders is already a card in magic, from mirage