Monday, June 17, 2013

Suvnica Week 7 Review: This Land is My Land, This Land is Your Land

This week's challenge involved providing some ideas for mana fixer cycles, something that Ravnica knocked out of the park the first time around. Everyone put out some pretty solid efforts. I'm grouping the submissions into common lands, rare lands, and artifacts. I also renamed most of the submissions so a) they weren't all WU fixers, and B) to show off the new names we'll be using to refer to each of the guilds (more on that in an upcoming article). So without further ado, let's check out this week's submissions.

Common Lands

lpaulsen offered a few different designs for the common land cycle. This was the first. It's probably my least favorite of the bunch, since you need to tap three to get two mana. If the initial input was {1} (like the Ravncian Signets) I think I would like it more. The biggest test for Ravnica duals is whether you would want to draft and/or run them in straight 2-color decks, and I don't think this one would fit the bill.

The second idea has less inherent land disadvantage, but has a built-in casting cost, like Rupture Spire. This one I like a lot more. It still requires filtering, but that's not a huge deal. It may be a little unintuitive though, which makes me wonder if there's a real benefit to keeping the filter as opposed to just having it straight-up tap for C or D without having any mana in the activation.

lpaulsen's third idea seemed like a more intense karoo. It set you back a land, but instead of bouncing it, it kills it entirely. But then it ETB ready to use and taps for CD, no questions asked. I would rank this one between the previous 2 - many players will be more hesitant about sacrificing a land than paying {1} for it. I'm also not sure how common this feels - I could see this being a rare cycle just as easily, especially since you can hit 3 mana on turn 2 with this by floating from the land you sacrifice to it.

Aura offered a cycle of Districts, which I really like. It really helps you hit the right colors in the early game without ever feeling too overpowered.

Lobster667 provided this cylce, a more limited version of Graven Cairns and co. I like it, but I do wonder if it's too strong for common. MaRo had an article a few weeks ago about common dual land design, in which he said that one of the guiding principles for common dual cycles is that they can't do things defined at other rarities. I really think that this may toe too close to the Graven Cairns line for comfort without some additional drawback (ETB tapped).

Hevaen offered a different "plaza" cycle - this one sitting somewhere between the panoramas and terramorphic expanse. I changed the wording from Hevaen's to match how I think R&D would ultimately template it. I could definitely see this cycle seeing print some day, although I feel like you do lose a little something on Suvnica when you don't see those mana symbols on the face of the card.

Rare Lands

lpaulsen called back to the Lorwyn tribal duals for this cycle, requiring a reveal (or two) for maximum functionality. I like it, although I find it very difficult to weigh the costs of revealing cards from your hand. I'm a primarily casual player, so the disclosure of information rarely feels like a significant cost to me, but I'm sure that in more competitive games, that can be a tremendous disadvantage. Of course, you can weigh that cost in this instance by simply choosing to not reveal the card and losing a little tempo.

Lobster667 and Hevaen each thought that one of the futureshifted land ideas from Future Sight would make a worthy preprint cycle in Suvnica, and I'm inclined to agree. They offered colorshifted visions, but let's call a preprint a preprint.


lpaulsen offered an entire cycle of mana rocks with an ETB rider. I really like the cycle, although I wonder whether we'll be able to properly balance a whole 10-card cycle so that one doesn't end up being a standout pick, which may lead to some guild unbalancing. Here are the other nine.

It's a great set of design, but it can lead to some bad play decisions, particularly for the Sorba and Grohm, where you may want to hold onto the combat bonus and not drop the emblem as quickly as you would with other emblems.

Aura offered a cycle that nets you a cantrip, but only if you don't already need the color fixing. Again, this can lead to just sitting on a 3-mana artifact so you can net a card down the line, which is not the ideal kind of tension for a common utility card. He offered this alternative idea for crests:

Similar to one of the common land cycles, this has information revealing as a minor cost. Thinking back on it, I wonder if the information reveal may also be unbalanced as between the guilds, as some may be more inclined to keep secrets than others from a mechanic and strategic perspective. Of course, there's no real way to ensure that any proposed tight cycle is 100% balanced, since some guilds are by nature going to care more about their 2 or 3 drop than others.

This is a nice idea for a cycle (and I'll avoid rehashing my balancing concerns). Early game filers that can be sacced later for a beneficial effect. I like the examples Lobster came up with, and I would definitely be interested in seeing the other seven. I do think that they would need to be uncommon, but otherwise I like them.

This idea I really like. It's definitely not a common, but I like that it provides a once-per-turn boost without tapping, which is some nice out-of-the-box thinking.

I had the idea of making Suvnica's version of mana-myr. I wonder whether I was too conservative on the stats, but TDP.

1 comment:

  1. I really like the panorama-like lands at common. I also like the district cycle quite a lot because it gives the planeswalker the option to filter a land for the guild colors. Its basically ETB tapped but with a slight twist.