Wednesday, August 14, 2013

CCDD 081413—Souldregger

Cool Card Design of the Day
8/14/2013 - A decent method to make one-drops relevant in the late game is to give them an ability that scales, but you have to be careful with abilities that scale with the the number of turns, like Stromkirk Noble (who works because his ability is conditional on a successful attack). For triggered abilities, you can make it an ETB trigger like Goblin Bushwhacker, a dying trigger like Doomed Traveler, or an attack trigger like Legion Loyalist.

Souldregger's ability could have been an ETB trigger, but why not give its caster a bonus goal of finding a way to swing with it more than once, and a way for the opponent to answer it before it triggers at all?

I'm not sure the life gain is necessary, and I'm also wondering if uncommon is too common for Limited.


  1. this card is pretty crazy if you build around it or if it's in a graveyard based set. I think you'd be better off making it a combat damage to player card. this hits like a truck before it even hits them. if you try you can easily get 9-10 creatures in your graveyard. and that's a huge chunk of their life, that they can't respond to in a similar way to the eldrazi.

  2. Why not make it a combat damage trigger? That way crazy dredge decks don't just win by sending one or two creatures in.
    Alternatively, it could key off creatures in their graveyard like Dimir's small theme in Gatecrash.

  3. Yeah, this card would have been busted good in Innistrad. The ability would also be interesting as a sacrifice trigger, since that would let subsequent copies even more potent. The cost would have to be fairly steep, though, something around 4 or 5 CMC.

  4. A lot more powerful than Pulse Tracker, I'm not sure if that got any play in tournaments, but I think that's a good place to start gauging the power level of this card.

  5. I'd take the counterpoint and say that this card is not nearly that strong. There's a high potential for upside, but that makes it a reason *to* try and draft a graveyard deck, at best, which is not a problem! It's not *that* easy to fill the graveyard with creatures; if you have a mass of creatures with dredge that obviously raises its power; but dredge is unique and there's unlikely to ever be anything like it even in a graveyard set.

    If you're mulching or even Buried Alive-ing, you're spending resources to fill your graveyard to enable a 1/1 which gives you the chance to do this life drain once.

    How would we rate "Sorcery - Target player loses life equal to the number creature cards in your graveyard. You gain that much life."? It doesn't affect the board and will rarely be much more than a Soul Feast. As a creature, it adds to its own count (if you have multiples), but also dies to removal before it can trigger.

    This is a one-drop that won't usually be good until the fourth turn, and even then probably doesn't want to attack until near the end of the game. The situations where it wins you the game, whether by sapping your opponent for lethal or just twisting the race in your favor with the extra life gain, are few and far between enough to make it perfectly fine to print for Limited. Even if you're only spending B, you are spending a card on a 1/1.

    The place this could be dangerous is in something like Block, where a combo deck is more likely and more consistent. Even still, that's easy to develop around, and incredibly more likely to be niche-popular than tournament-winning or oppressive.

    tl;dr - I like one-drops significantly more than the next guy, but this one isn't too powerful.