Monday, July 8, 2013

Weekend [Art] Challenge Review 070512

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

Wyluli Wolf {G} Wyluli Wolf
Creature Wolf Identical to the original (which I loved) down to the flavor text, the only difference is the mana cost, which dropped 1. I could support that if it were an improvement in modern Magic, but this card isn't NWO because it adds considerable on-board complexity.
Arguably white now.
T: Target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn
"When one wolf calls, others follow. Who wants to fight creatures that eat scorpions?"
—Maimun al-Wyluli, diary
fading shadows of a memory beloved

Bloody Channeller {B} Blood Funnel
Creature Human Shaman rare Bloody Channeller gives you a creature with which to fuel your next spell, making it Dark Ritual on a stick (that can't cast Hypnotic Specter). While I don't expect that's much less broken, I do find it much more color-pie friendly.
Noncreature spells you cast cost 2 less to cast.
Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, counter that spell unless you sacrifice a creature.
Aura 1/1

Demonic Zoea {B} Necropotence
Creature Thrull rare What if you could only cast Necropotence after having played a Glorious Anthem effect? It's an interesting question for a Melvin-Johnny, but the lack of resonance between the two effects leave this combination wanting for me.
Skip your draw step.
Whenever you discard a card, exile that card from your graveyard.
Pay 1 life: Exile the top card of your library face down. Put that card into your hand at the beginning of your next end step.
Devin E Green 0/0

Sanctum Elf {G} Serra's Sanctum
Creature Elf Cleric rare Turning a land into a mana-elf is a nice start. Like Bloom Tender, Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary and Elvish Archdruid, this rewards you for going deep in one strategy. Producing white is a bit odd, but works; Partly because we want a slight hoop to use all this mana, and partly because this enchantment deck was likely playing white anyhow.
{T}: Add {W} to your mana pool for each enchantment you control.
Though all previous loyalties must be renounced upon taking the vow, most custodians put their old talents to work for the glory of Serra.
R Stech 1/1

Magus of the Mine {U} Howling Mine
Creature Wizard rare Like Kami of the Crescent Moon but cheaper, Magus notably allows you to attack to prevent your opponent from getting to draw. It's just a 1/1 so you've got to work to keep that option. I love it. Possibly too good, but I think they could print it if they felt like it.
At the beginning of each player's draw step, if Magus of the Mine is untapped, that player draws an additional card.
Lobster667 1/1

Resurgence Elf {G} Archaeological Dig
Creature Elf Another land->mana-elf conversion. Chah didn't specify rarity, but I could see this at common, easily. Green doesn't usually do sacrifice, but a set theme could easily justify the minor bleed.
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool.
{T}, Sacrifice Resurgence Elf: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
Chah 1/1

Furnace Dweller {R} Furnace of Rath
Creature Elemental rare I'm thinking this is too good to print, since it won't be entering combat and only creature removal can kill it. Aggro players would love to make this their first drop or, even better, play it on turn 3 with a second two-drop.
If a source would deal damage to a creature or player, it deals double that damage to that creature or player instead.
Ipaulsen 0/2

Patient Aerialist {U} Tresserhorn Skyknight
Creature Bird Soldier common Assuming this is 1/1, it's strictly better than Flying Men which blue has only done in Jace's Phantasm. I'd prefer this was white and/or uncommon. Anti-first-strike is clearly a very marginal ability though, and it's only going in a set with a one-toughness creature sporting both first strike and flying.
Prevent all damage that would be dealt to CARDNAME by creatures with first strike.

Bog Zombie {B} Bog Gnarr
Creature Zombie common Moving this ability from a green card to a black card shifts it from (anemic) color hate to a mono-color incentive. We've been seeing a lot of 2/2s for one with restrictions lately, and this fits snugly among them. Given the name, I'd prefer it triggering off of Swamps, but a lot of players will love playing attack-storm with a deck full of one- and two-drop zombies.
Whenever a player casts a black spell, Bog Zombie gets +2/+2 until end of turn
James Bartolotti 0/1

Ravenous Honey Badger {G} Drop of Honey
Creature Badger rare This is one of the more different-as-a-creature submissions because the Honey Badger may just eat itself. It's quite powerful as a 3/3 for one that can kill a creature every round, but you'll rarely cast it on turn one since that will just get it killed.
The last ability makes no sense, but also doesn't break anything.
At the beginning of your upkeep, destroy the creature with the least power. It can't be regenerated. If two or more creatures are tied for least power, you choose one of them.
When there are no creatures on the battlefield, sacrifice Ravenous Honey Badger.
Jenesis 3/3

Null Chamberlain {W} Null Chamber
Creature Human Advisor rare Meddling Mage costs two with good reason, but the genuine symmetry of this makes this price fine. White is perfect here too. Solid.
As Null Chamberlain enters the battlefield, you and an opponent each name a card other than a basic land card.
The named cards can’t be played.
The queen requires unanimous assent before making a law. She doesn’t make many.
Jules 1/1

Ulgrothan Survivor {B} Apocalypse Chime
Creature Human Cleric rare Heh.
{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Ulgrothan Survivor: Destroy all nontoken permanents from the Homelands expansion. They can't be regenerated.
No, we're not going back there.
Not ever. Stop asking.
HavelockV 1/1

Akromite {W} Akroma, Angel of Wrath

I'm glad someone made this. Mine was 1/1 and that was clearly too good. At least this version requires a little help to turn into anything but an anti-Rakdos wall.
Hard to argue with TehWERR's art suggestion.
Legendary Creature Angel mythic
Flying, first strike, vigilance, trample, haste, protection from black and from red
No rest. No mercy. No matter what, desu!
TehWERR 0/1

Kiln Elemental {R} Xanthic Statue
Creature Elemental uncommon This is great. Talk about a late-game-relevant one-drop.
And the flavor's pretty sweet to boot (just ignore that it unfires itself).
{5}: Until end of turn, Kiln Elemental becomes an 8/8 Golem artifact creature with trample.
Its victims are left glazed and confused.
Nich Grayson 1/1

Dokusho, Who Flees Knowledge {B} Cowed by Wisdom
Legendary Creature Demon rare VanVelding replaced "enchanted creature" with "CARDNAME," bending the rules of the challenge, and totally justifying that action in the process. Not sure why it's 3/4, but making it legendary was smart because we don't want to make it trivial for the player to dump three copies of this in the first two turns.
Dokusho, Who Flees Knowledge cannot attack or block unless you pay {1} for each card in your hand.
With a glance into your eyes, he can see a whole life. The existence of a planeswalker is so much more than life.
VanVelding 3/4

Ant Colony {G} Groffskithur
Creature Insect common I love the flavor here.
So many ants!
Whenever Ant Colony becomes blocked, you may return target card named Ant Colony from your graveyard to your hand.
Ben Nassau 1/1

Shaman of Souls {G} No Rest for the Wicked
Creature Elf Shaman rare Evan color-shifted this to green because "dying for the greater good" felt more green than black. We could debate whether this is more white, green or black, but the larger problem is that this will return itself, which is clearly broken at one mana.
Still, tweak it to exile itself and it becomes only Really Really Good.
Sacrifice Shaman of Souls: Return to your hand all creature cards in your graveyard that were put there from the battlefield this turn.
Evan Jones 1/1

Demons Advocate {B} Rakdos the Defiler
Creature Human Cleric rare An evasive one-drop that keeps the opponent on one creature seems pretty brutal. Still, it's just a 1/1, so their one creature should outclass it sooner or later.
Is almost: "Players can't control more than one non-demon creature." It's terrifying, but may just be printable.
Antny removed Rakdos' trample.
When Demons Advocate attacks, sacrifice half the non-demon creatures you control, rounded up.
When Demons Advocate deals combat damage to an opponent, that player sacrifices half the non-demon creatures he or she controls, rounded down.
Antny223 1/1

Soulgorger {B} Soulgorger Orgg
Creature Spirit rare If your opponent can deal 1 damage to you without killing Soulgorger, they win.* Otherwise, you get a 4/1 for one with no other consequences. Definitely high-risk+high-reward.
*Unless you can sacrifice it in response.
When Soulgorger enters the battlefield, you lose all but 1 life.
When Soulgorger leaves the battlefield, you gain life equal to the life you lost when it entered the battlefield.
Chops 4/1

Panglacial Scout {G} Panglacial Wurm
Creature Elf Scout I would love to play this in Rampant Growth .dec.
The trample is strange, but this isn't the first one-mana elf with trample.
While you're searching your library, you may cast Panglacial Scout from your library.
jack 1/1

Elemental Wood {G} Wood Elemental
Creature Elemental mythic Strictly worse than Slime Molding. By a lot.
Poor, terrible Wood Elemental.
As Elemental Wood enters the battlefield, sacrifice any number of untapped Forests.
Elemental Wood's power and toughness are each equal to the number of Forests sacrificed as it entered the battlefield.
Edward Muir */*

Psychic Mindreader {U} Telepathy
A telepath seems quite reasonable. Not sure why it then gets the highest stats ever for a blue one-drop with no drawbacks.
All opponents play with their hands revealed.
Kevin Gao 1/2

Pakoi, Master of Obedience {W} Marble Titan
Legendary Creature Human Soldier rare Meekstone had already been creature-ized, but now it's been one-drop-ized.
Creatures with power 3 or greater don't untap during their opponent's untap steps.
Benjammn 1/1

Reaping Minion {1} Ulamog's Crusher
Creature Scarecrow Minion common In the worst case, you play this late, attack and lose it, causing your opponent to sacririce two permanents in the process. In the best case, you play this turn one and win when your opponent doesn't kill it before turn two. Way too strong.
Annihilator 2
Reaping Minion attacks each turn if able.
P for Pizza 0/1

Earthcracker {R} Crack the Earth
Creature Spirit mythic I'm fine with this in pretty much every situation except turn two or turn one on the draw, where it's a one-mana Stone Rain with a 1/1 attached. Also not sure it's still red.
When Earthcracker enters the battlefield, each player sacrifices a permanent.
zefferal 1/1

Revealer of Secrets {B} Cerebral Vortex
Creature Human Cleric rare I like how this red-blue instant translated into a black creature.
Sign in Blood for a mana less, but you lose an extra life to cast it on yourself. I could about see that, though adding a 1/1 body is awfully good. I mean, it's none of it Snapcaster Mage but that can't be our bar.
When Revealer of Secrets enters the battlefield, target player draws two cards, then Revealer of Secrets deals damage to that player equal to the number of cards he or she has drawn this turn.
Adam Klesh 1/1

Llanowar Martyr {G} Llanowar Reborn
Creature Elf Druid common There's definitely irony in making the one land with this creature mechanic into a creature, but it certainly works, and makes for a really neat and fair-ish twist on Llanowar Elves.
{T}: Add {G} to your mana pool.
Graft 1 (This creature enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it. Whenever a creature enters the battlefield, you may move a +1/+1 counter from this creature onto it.)
George Gone 0/0

My ideas for one-mana-creature-ification included:
Carnifex Demon as a 3/3 Imp for {B} (which is too good),
Marrow Chomper as a 1/1 for {G},
Ghost Council of Orzhova as a 1/1 for {B},
Sludge Strider as a 1/1 for {1},
Selkie Hedge-Mage as a 1/1 for {GU} (which begs for feel-bad moments),
Kitchen Finks as a 1/1 for {GW},
Delusions of Mediocrity as a 1/1 for {B},
Nantuko Shade as a 0/1 for {B},
Spiritmonger as a 1/1 for {BG},
and my two favorites:

Plumed Spiraea {G} Paradise Plume
Creature Plant rare I think this is worse than Birds of Paradise in enough ways to justify the life gain.
As Plumed Spiraea enters the battlefield, choose a color.
Whenever a player casts a spell of the chosen color, you may gain 1 life.
{T}: Add one mana of the chosen color to your mana pool.
Jay Treat 0/1

Quoted Jeweler {W} Jeweled Torque
Creature Human Advisor rare Getting to choose a color here's a bit odd, but the jeweler will sell you whatever color of gems you like best.
As Quoted Jeweler enters the battlefield, choose a color.
Whenever a player casts a spell of the chosen color, you may pay {2}. If you do, you gain 2 life.
Jay Treat 1/1

So many awesome conversions. This was a lot of fun, and you can bet we'll be doing more artless art challenges in the future.

There were 4 white, 3 blue, 8 black, 3 red and 10 green cards mocked up here. I wonder if that speaks more to the color natures of one-drops, to the effects we wanted to convert, or merely to the predilections of this set of designers.


  1. rakdos the defiler is non-demon permanents. I'm not sure if he bent the rules or if you miss-typed.

    1. You're right. In that case, it costs you at least as much as them, but can just ruin games by eating everyone's land. Ugh.

  2. Oh, shoot. How did I miss that Shaman of Souls self-combo? : (

  3. It was fun to come up with cards for this challenge, but it was hard to give or get feedback, since the challenge rules were so constraining. Something to keep in mind for future artless challenges.

    1. I agree. One-drop creatures *are* the most fun thing about Magic, though, so I hope we do see more of that!

    2. Feedback suffered, and I blame myself primarily. But I'm not sure the rules being constraining was the source of the problem. If anything, I wonder if we didn't need more restriction since a number of us had two, a half-dozen, or more ideas. Any additional thoughts about the feedback or the challenge itself?

    3. Even without the art, I wish the submissions were rendered in MSE (and believe me, I know what a pain that can be). I just feel it's easier to get a grasp on the card in its entirety if we can look at it in a familiar layout.

      The challenge itself was fun and the constraints weren't too limiting. Feedback was probably impacted because for a lot of designers, myself included, creative is the primary springboard for an idea. Normal WECs, I look at the picture and figure out what kind of card it wants to be (within whatever other restrictions). More melvinny designers can do whatever they do regardless of the art, but if you're looking for a creative springboard, a couple of rules and some numbers is not enough restriction to breed creativity.

    4. Because of the nature of the constraint, there are really only 3 kinds of feedback that can be given about a submission to this challenge:

      - Good choice of card
      - Good choice, but certain details are wrong (P/T, color, creature types)
      - Not a good choice

      With other design challenges there's a lot more room for nuanced feedback, even with a lot of tough constraints.

    5. I think Evan hit the nail on the head. Yeah.

      @zefferal I love designing to art, but I think designing without art is something we all need to practice because the vast majority of Design happens long before art is even concepted.

    6. I did a mock up of my card on my blog here:

  4. Dokusho is 3/4 because I had a hard time finding a reference for this sort of effect. I looked at cards like Vexing Devil, Skyshroud Ridgeback, and Slumbering Dragon.I wanted something that could (in the right deck) make a scary attack on turn two, would force you to choose between an attack and playing a similarly-sized creature a bit later, and wouldn't be disappointing when you draw it into an empty hand late game. In retrospect, 2/3 or 2/2 might not have been as sexy, but probably would have been more even.

  5. Well, I learned that Marble Titan existed today. Thankfully my card is better than that, but there is a kind of flavor to the Titan. I'm also glad it is in the right color, although that was easy to guess.