Friday, August 30, 2013

Weekend Art Challenge 083013—Theros Speculation

Weekend Art Challenge
Click through to see this weekend's art and the design requirements for your card submission, due Monday morning. Every submission warrants feedback, which I will try to provide, and which everyone is welcome to provide as well.

If you choose, you may use that feedback to revise your submission any number of times. I will post and review the most recent submission from each designer some time on Monday, life permitting. To help ensure I recreate your design accurately, please use CARDNAME instead of ~ and don't use the {} symbol images in your submissions.


This weekend, choose any one piece of art from the Planeswalker's Guide to Theros, Part 2 and design a card that could reasonably be printed in Theros based on what we know so far. Identify your choice by the artist's name and bold subject heading above it. Bonus points for making a common that's clearly common and really pushes one of Theros' themes, either mechanically or flavorful. Different bonus points for making an uncommon or rare that looks crazy fun.


85 comments:

  1. Hypatia of the Winged Horse
    2WW
    Legendary Creature - Human Soldier (R)
    Flying
    Heroic--Whenever you cast a spell that targets Hypatia of the Winged Horse, you may put a legendary 3/3 white Pegasus creature token with flying named Kamanet onto the battlefield.
    3/3

    Using the art right under Hypatia of the Winged Horse by Cynthia Sheppard.

    Feedback appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really don't think you want to make a Heroic trigger that doesn't benefit from being able to repeatedly target the same hero.

      Delete
    2. That is a limitation, but the effect is still good and the story here is perfect.

      Delete
    3. It is weird that Hypatia has flying (and is horse-sized) by herself.

      Delete
    4. I love that if Kamanet gets killed you can just whistle for it again later. This design reminds me of all the really old White enchantments what would give you one and only one Reflection token.

      Delete
    5. I like it as a "You always have the token when you need it" kind of thing. Yes it's odd that she can fly by herself, but there's no way I can justify her not flying with that art.

      Delete
    6. Maybe "Hypatia has flying as long as you control a Pegasus"?

      Delete
    7. I like that a lot actually. Update:

      Hypatia of the Winged Horse
      2WW
      Legendary Creature - Human Soldier (R)
      Hypatia of the Winged Horse has flying as long as you control a Pegasus.
      Heroic--Whenever you cast a spell that targets Hypatia, you may put a legendary 3/3 white Pegasus creature token with flying named Kamanet onto the battlefield.
      3/3

      If anyone can think of flavor text that helps the card, feel free.

      Delete
    8. And my art is actually a common Heroic flyer. Ah well. (Also, Hypatia should be a knight)

      Delete
  2. (art by James Ryman, two women in stoles talking in a public square)

    Flawless Rhetoric (rare)
    U
    Enchantment
    Flash
    CARDNAME can't be countered.
    1U: Counter target spell that targets a spell you control.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I appreciate the flavor, but even if this is just a lesser-Asceticism, I don't think a repeatable-counterspell enchantment is happening any time soon.

      Delete
    2. Curiously, the activated ability doesn't feel blue to me at all.
      I could see this being repeatable if it only made your countermagic safe, but making all your stuff safe is probably too good for something that never goes away, regardless of color.

      Delete
    3. I do like the flavor though.

      Delete
    4. This only counters spells that target your *spells*, not your permanents. It's effectively anti-countermagic as long as you leave {1}{U} open.

      This is definitely meant to be a niche Spike sideboard card.

      Delete
    5. Yeah, I had a brain failure. It worked enough to see the countermagic connection, but not enough to remember what that connection was.

      What's more fun? Two control decks facing off and carefully gauging when they think they can win a countermagic fight to resolve a critical spell; or Two control decks facing off until one of them draws their Flawless Rhetoric first?

      Delete
    6. If you're playing control, how many copies of Flawless Rhetoric do you run in your sideboard? How much countermagic do you sideboard out if you know your opponent is running Flawless Rhetoric?

      I don't think that having a cheap reliable answer to a niche strategy is necessarily format-warping (see Rest in Peace.)

      Delete
    7. In a control mirror, this is basically 'your spells can't be countered' in the late game once you get a bunch of lands out. But maybe that's a good thing, since it gives you an opening to cast your finishers and end the game? I don't see this as prolonging control mirrors, if anything it should speed them up.

      Delete
    8. This card looks like it's for aggro decks to side in vs. control decks, so I don't see the problem. I agree with James that in a control vs. control matchup, it just helps games end faster rather than dragging things out.

      Delete
  3. Art: Raymond Swanland under "Leina Tower"

    Setessan Phalanx 3G
    Creature- Human Warrior (Common)
    3/3
    CARDNAME has indestructible as long as your devotion to white is 3 or greater.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is solid. I hesitate slightly at indestructible at common, but with the off-color condition (which I find a little unlikely) it's hard enough to achieve that I think it works.

      Delete
    2. What an interesting direction. If it was a real card, maybe it should wait for the second or third set, although that shouldn't matter for the sake of this exercise.

      Delete
  4. Heroic Vigor 1W
    Sorcery (C)
    Target creature gains indestructible until end of turn.
    You may search your library for up to three cards named CARDNAME, reveal them, put them into your hand, then shuffle your library.
    Art: The Reverent Army (Willan Murai)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This reminds me of Shawn Main's attempt to develop a spell sub-type called Tactics during the initial stages of GDS2.

      Making this a sorcery is definitely a counter-intuitive decision considering the effect, but also one that makes sense considering the self-replacement clause and ensures that the proper flavor is best represented.

      Thumbs up.

      Delete
    2. How much should this card cost?

      Get Cardboard ??
      Sorcery cmn
      Target opponent searches your library for three cards. Put those cards into your hand and shuffle your library.

      My point is, I think Squadron Hawk was busted and I'm not sure this is much less, even if the effect is largely worse.

      If we assume getting a 4:1 is okay if the card is terrible enough, then I agree with metaghost, and my only concern is how many players will misplay this at the prerelease because "How could it not be an instant?"

      Delete
    3. Mostly irrelevant, but I love details:
      Despite the precedence of Squadron Hawks template, I'd rather this got "any number" of cards or just one. The former removes an unnecessary upper bound for Limited, and the latter will still get you all the Heroic Vigor's in your deck, except that you actually have to cast them. That mostly negates the discard-fodder upside that makes me hesitate about this ability.

      Delete
    4. Clearly Get Cardboard should cost 1W.

      Jokes aside, my assessment is based on the general idea that this effect is awful, so tutoring up a whole lot of awful isn't a big deal and just comical.

      But maybe things should be reined in a bit, or at least focused better. Why does the design have the Squadron Hawk effect anyway? Maybe the card tells a better story if recurring the spell is a condition of how heroic the target is?

      Like:

      Heroic Vigor
      1W
      Sorcery (C)
      Target creature gains indestructible until end turn. If that creature is legendary, return CARDNAME to your hand.

      Delete
    5. I originally had this search out only a single copy, and only brought it in line with Squadron Hawk in an attempt to reduce shuffling. It's certainly not meant to provide extra discard fodder and an inflated hand size, so switching to search out a single copy is probably for the best.

      I'd rather the card be a proactive sorcery than an instant speed 'counter four doom blades.' Maybe a different effect would work better in that spot? I think I still prefer the indestructible version though.

      Heroic Vigor 1W
      Sorcery (C)
      Target creature gets +1/+1 and gains vigilance until end of turn.
      You may search your library for a card named CARDNAME, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.

      Delete
    6. Metaghost, I like your version a lot, and it's got good crossover support for Commander. Everyone can be heroic once in their lives, but true legends are heroic over and over again.

      Delete
    7. I like what Heroic Vigor is doing once you know it's a sorcery, but granting indestructible outside of an enchantment is usually a trick, so a lot of people won't even read the type line. Now, if you add vigilance or something else that screams "do this before combat" then that quibble melts away.

      Good point about multiple shuffles. I wasn't thinking about that aspect.

      Delete
    8. uh... I think what everyone here is missing is that even though the effect is "terrible" it has obvious synergy with heroic... it says so on the card!

      Delete
    9. I'm quite sure no one missed that, especially not the designer of the card.

      Delete
  5. I don't normally put up the first thing I think of, but...

    ART: Under "Philosophers and the Twelve" section by James Ryman

    Perisophia, the Great Philosopher(Rare)
    1UU
    Creature - Human Advisor
    2/3
    Hexproof
    Heroic — Whenever you cast a spell that targets Perisophia, scry 2, then draw a card. (To scry 2, look at the top two cards of your library, then put any number of them on the bottom of your library and the rest on top in any order.)

    Preordain on a stick, anyone?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Legendary?
      FYI, that name is squished.
      I like Preordain on a Stick. Not sure why it's so very hardy.

      Delete
    2. Yes she should be Legendary Legendary.

      Matt Tabak said in the M14 rules change that Legendary permanents can use the condensed version of their name immediately in rules text:

      "201.4c This rule allowed us to truncate the name of a legendary card on second reference or later. For example, Axelrod Gunnarson (my favorite!) is referred to as just "Axelrod" in its rules text. We're changing this rule to remove the second reference or later reference. Now, we can just use the shortened form of the name, and it's just as if it were the full name. We don't plan on doing this a lot, but you never know."

      Delete
    3. Yeah, no problem there. I'm just saying the name is so long that the typeface is literally squished when fitting it on the top of the card.

      Delete
    4. Not a dealbreaker. Just a little ugly.

      Delete
    5. Is 2/3 really so very hardy? Would 2/2 make you feel better, Jay? I made it a 2/3 because that felt small but still constructed viable at three mana. Preordain is really cool, but secretly I think this is the sort of rare that wouldn't play as well as people think because it asks a Blue deck to do something it's not too good at for the effect. I thought lousy p/t stats along with a fair ability would bum people out.

      Delete
    6. Oh, at the top! I'll tweak it this weekend when I'm home so we can have something pleasing to the eye. Thanks.

      Delete
    7. 2/3 is fine. Hexproof could be fine. The combination for 1UU is Constructed playable without the heroic ability (though just barely). Why does Perisophia need to be immune to Pyroclasm and Lightning Bolt? Or for Vorthos, why is this philosopher so damn tough?

      Delete
    8. I see your point.

      Perisophia of the Twelve (Rare)
      1UU
      Legendary Creature - Human Advisor
      2/3
      Heroic — Whenever you cast a spell that targets Perisophia, scry 2, then draw a card.
      “It’s in our mortal nature to look to Nyx for Knowledge. We must learn to also look within ourselves.”

      Delete
  6. Because I'm all about the rare green enchantments with this set...

    Art: Adam Paquette
    Heading: Kelema Veil and the Nexuses

    Bounty of the Nexus 3GG
    Enchantment (Rare)
    At the beginning of your precombat main phase, add G to your mana pool equal to your devotion to green. (Each G in the mana costs of permanents you control counts toward your devotion to green.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Holy crap, that's strong. I don't know if it's too strong, but it's certainly exciting.

      Magical Christmas Land:
      t1 Mystic Elf
      t2 Elvish Archdruid
      t3 Bount of the Nexus (+ a free G)
      t4 twelve mana!

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I don't see why this card can't be perfectly awesome with a 4G cost. It should probably trigger during your upkeep rather than turn into a free spell. (It would need a clause that keeps the mana from emptying until end of turn.)

      Delete
    3. the sad thing is that this card got spoiled as a land yesterday at pax. bah-rhoken.

      Delete
  7. Jay I'll let you pick: Cool Uncommon of Fun Rare:

    Philosophical Lecture 3UU
    Art by James Ryman
    Sorcery
    Draw 2 cards, then discard 2 cards, then draw 2 cards

    Philosophical Debate XRR
    Art by James Ryman
    Sorcery Rare
    Starting with you, each player choses a nonland card type, then reveals the top card of their library. If the revealed card's type is the same as the type named, that player may play that card without paying its casting cost. Otherwise, exile the revealed card. Repeat this until each player has revealed X cards from their library.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lecture looks silly. The difference between that and "Draw 4, discard 2" isn't worth the weirdness. That said, I could totally see a blue-red effect with "Draw a card, then discard a card, then draw a card" since it melds the two flavors of looting together.

      Usually, X determines how strong a spell is, but more importantly, it's integral to the identity of the card. The X in Philosophical Debate is vestigial to the card. The debate is about guessing and gambling and getting a spell for free. Choosing 3 instead of 4 for X or saving up until you've got enough doesn't enhance the play at all. I'm not even sure we want to look at more than just the top card anyhow.

      Delete
    2. haha yea the second one literally just came off the top of my head.

      OK how about this:

      Philosophical Lecture 3UU

      Draw three cards, then you may discard up to three cards, then draw cards equal to the number of cards discarded in this way.

      Delete
    3. Why not just Scry 3, then draw 3? (Apart from the existence of Foresee)

      Delete
    4. Ok new card:

      Squish 1B
      Chase Stone (Cyclops foot)
      Instant
      Destroy target creature with toughness 1 or less.
      If a creature you control is monstrous, destroy target creature instead.

      Delete
  8. Art: Ophis Tower, by Steve Prescott

    Sisters Eisoptropoli 2G
    Legendary Creature - Human Warrior (u)
    If there are exactly two permanents named Sisters Eisoptropoli under your control on the battlefield, the “legend rule” doesn’t apply to them.
    Each other creature you control named Sisters Eisoptropoli gets +2/+2 and hexproof.
    3/3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Imperfect renders, but I don't know how to get MSE to export anything higher quality:
      http://tinyurl.com/eisop01
      http://tinyurl.com/eisop02

      Delete
  9. I got carried away and made an entire booster pack from the art we've seen so far! Do enjoy!

    http://imgur.com/a/HFPAU

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually though. Nice job! To be fair, I doubt the as-fan will be that high for every mechanic, but damn, I wouldn't be surprised to open any of those cards. Great work!

      Delete
    2. Thank you all for the kind words!

      Delete
    3. You came so close with your Lampad!

      (Turns out it has Intimidate, not Swampwalk.)

      Delete
    4. Yeah, I saw! I was originally going to do +1/+1 and intimidate, but I figured it was more flavorful for the nymphs to give landwalk. I guess I was wrong! :P

      Delete
    5. These cards are amazing. It reminds me of how exciting Ethan Fleischer's submissions in the GDS2 were because of how much they looked like real packs.

      Lynx Aspect feels so likely to be a real card, cost and all.
      Shrine to the Gods and Akroan Flamespeaker are simple but non-obvious ways to use Devotion awesomely.

      Some minor points:
      Meletian Battlewise might feel bad when you target it with pump to make another creature unblockable, because you want to make the creature you pumped to be unblockable. You could make the Battlewise iteself unblockable, but with its small size it might feel like the effect was wasted. One way it might feel better is if it started out with unblockability, and granted unblockability to another creature when it's targeted.

      R&D tries to distinguish each color's removal, but Trample Underfoot plays almost like a red burn spell. It could care about Power rather than Toughness to avoid that.

      Delete
    6. Chah: Thank you for the wonderful and honest critique.
      I didn't notice the feel-bad in Meletian Battlewise, but I certainly notice it now. I think as an uncommon that kind of strategic decision is more acceptable than common, but you're right in that I could try to make it more of an all-around feel-good.

      Trample Underfoot was almost entirely flavor inspired, with a bit of mechanical reinforcement (not being able to kill enchanted dudes) thrown in when I realized how well they went together. R&D already have enough problems differentiating black and red, so you're right that this probably wouldn't normally see print. But I think it serves a very important purpose in (my imagining) of Theros limited.

      Thanks again for the compliments and constructive criticism! Really means a lot coming from you!

      Delete
  10. Art: Chase Stone, under One-Eyed Pass.

    Afflicted Cyclops (2B)
    Creature - Cyclops (C)
    When Afflicted Cyclops dies, if it was enchanted, you may have target creature get -4/-4 until end of turn.
    2/2

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a nice conciliation if this guy dies after it's enchanted, although it's going to suck even more when he's Shock'd in response to the aura.

      Neat that you could put Dead Weight on him to kill a Craw Wurm.

      Delete
  11. Art is Johann Bodin under "Lukos (Wolves)"

    Dogged Pursuit - R
    Instant (uncommon)
    Target creature gets +2/+0 until end of turn.
    At the beginning of your upkeep, if CARDNAME is in your graveyard, you may flip a coin. If you win, return CARDNAME from your graveyard to your hand.

    Maybe this is weak enough that the recursion can be automatic, but guaranteed Heroic every turn might be too strong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You shouldn't have to track the graveyard. It should just flip a coin at the end of turn that you cast it.

      Delete
    2. I agree that the graveyard bit is awkward. However, I want it to continue trying to return to hand, even if you lose the flip.

      It could be templated as an activated ability as in Hammer of Bogardan I suppose: "0: Flip a coin. Win the flip, return ~ from graveyard to hand. Activate only during your upkeep."

      Any other options?

      Delete
    3. this card is pretty broke, especially at uncommon. there needs to be a way for your opponent to never have to see this again. like it exiling itself when you lose the flip. or the flip happening on cast. and the return at the end of turn.

      Delete
    4. Molten Birth does this pretty cleanly...

      Delete
  12. Lanathos, Champion of Iroas
    3RR
    Legendary Creature - Human Warrior (R)
    5/4
    CARDNAME can't be blocked except by two or more creatures.
    Heroic - Whenever you cast a spell that targets Lanathos, you may have it fight target creature. (Each deals damage equal to its power to the other.)

    For Jason Chan's "Lanathos" art.

    And a bonus:

    Rite of the Flamespeaker
    2RR
    Sorcery (U)
    Add R to your mana pool equal to your devotion to red. (Each R in the mana costs of permanents you control adds to your devotion to red.)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Johann Bodin
    To War! 1R
    instant [C]
    Target creature gets +3/+0 until end of turn. Each other creatures you control get +1/+0.

    “In times of strife, with enemies pushing from all sides. Now, more than ever, we must rally for a common cause.”
    —Anax, King of Akros

    uguu... my art got spoiled right before I submitted...
    anyways! an enabler for heroic on a common

    ReplyDelete
  14. (Art by David Palumbo, final image in the thread)

    Feat of Heroism 2W
    Instant (C)
    Until end of turn, target creature you control gets +2/+2, first strike, and "at the end of turn, draw a card".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. this is sort of a weird way of doing cantrips. the fact that the creature has to survive to get the card. sounds like just a frustrating way of complicating "draw a card"

      Delete
    2. More importantly, it's the opposite of heroism to only enter a battle you expect to survive.

      Delete
  15. Prowling Amazons 3G
    Human Warrior (Common)
    3/3
    Heroic — Whenever you cast a spell targeting Prowling Amazons, it must be blocked this turn if able.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still don't like these constrained heroic triggers, and this one is easy enough to open up, though not so much at common.

      Prowling Amazons
      2G
      Human Warrior (U)
      2/3
      Deathtouch
      Heroic — Whenever you cast a spell targeting CARDNAME, target creature an opponent controls much block it this turn if able.

      Delete
    2. What do you mean by "open up?"


      Delete
    3. I forgot to mention, the art is the one with two amazons in the forest.

      I wonder if I should give my card trample somehow, to feel better about forcing a block while it's pumped. I wonder if all of the Common Heroic creatures are going to be vanilla until pumped.

      Delete
    4. "Open up" is an idiom in contrast to the word "constrained" — your design only matters once per turn, mine allows players to dream big and go "all in" if they are inclined.

      Akroan Crusader will keep giving you 1/1 tokens the more times you target it in a turn, Anax and Cymede will keep making your army larger, and Anthousa is only bounded by the tension between casting spells and having untapped lands to make into warriors.

      Delete
    5. Ah, so that's what you meant. I had missed your first comment about triggers limited to once per turn.

      I'm not sure if it's that important that you can trigger it multiple times in one turn. It could feel epic when you trigger Anax and Cymede multiple times in one turn, and epicness is something they would aim for. However, as a player I also feel it would feel perfectly fine to get one token per turn and there's not much special about getting multiples in the same turn. I would be happy with an ability like "this gets flying and lifelink until end of turn." That would feel heroic when it turns the race around. I'll be watching the spoilers to see if R&D thought it was important to only have triggers.

      I thought about both a targeted block-forcing and one that doesn't force a particular creature to block. This set want to create epic clashes between heroes and/or monsters, and block-forcing does that. At the same time, looking at the mechanics (especially the Ordeal enchantments) I feel that the set wants to give players time to grow their creatures in cool ways over time and targeted block-forcing may be too harsh on that. Thus, I chose the untargeted block-forcing.

      Interestingly, 2/3 for 2G was the first size I came up with, but I tried to think about what art directions the art conceptor gave to the artist. I felt that if this art represented a creature card, there might be a reason why it has multiple Humans on it. So I made it a 3/3.

      The purpose of this card for me is to make a contest between a hero and a monster. There could be a mini-game where you struggle to make your card bigger than your opponent's monster and when it happens it feels like you really accomplished a quest to hunt down a monster. I'm trying to create a particular type of gameplay and Deathtouch would detract from that. On the other hand, deathtouch + lure on a card would be appealing to players when they look at it as a single card, since it has an in-build combo in it.

      It's possible that the game play I'm trying to create won't work out so well, but it's important to know they are aiming for different purposes. There are so many different axis to designing a card, and in most discussions (like ours) the participants are each only looking at one of the axis.

      Delete
    6. The primary reason that Heroic triggers shouldn't be effects that provide no benefit for repeated activation is that those effects (the ones that can't be repeated, like granting keywords) tend to be already included in the spell or aura that you've used to activate the Heroic trigger.

      There are one-off effects like Ben's at the top that are unlikely to be an effect of an aura or creature-enhancing spell, but that's the sort of esoteric effect that you aren't going to be using at lower rarities.

      Delete
    7. I don't see a problem with heroic effects that you only want to trigger once per turn, particularly at common. It's pretty rare that any creature gets targeted more than once per turn in any set.

      I like the targeted block better because it allows you to call out the opponent's monster, whereas must-block lets them chump-block.

      Delete
    8. Jay, it has nothing to with the likelihood of multiple activations in a single turn, or even whether you really want to activate a particular ability.

      My assertion is probably best perceived as an extension of Havelock's description of Heroic as an incidental reward system: the ideal form for a Heroic effect is one that doesn't care what kind of effect is targeting the Heroic creature and is one that feels rewarding even when you are forced to target a given Heroic creature for reasons that have nothing to do with that trigger.

      Now, it's not like it's really possible or even desirable to design in such a way that accommodates absolutist ideals: +1/+1 counter-given triggers don't play well with bounce spells, and neither Chah's nor my design would particularly appreciate being targeted with Distortion Strike.

      Furthermore, adherence to this ideal that I'm describing has a negative ramification of increasing board complexity and muddying decision-trees. Regardless, all of the revealed cards do align with what I'm saying, for whatever that's worth.

      Delete
  16. [Raoul Vitale - The Dakra, isles of enchantment]
    Dakra Archipelego
    Land (Common)
    CARDNAME enters the battlefield tapped.
    T: Add U to your mana pool.
    Your devotion to U is increased by 1.

    --

    This is definitely pushing common, so I might be failing on that front. It may make more sense as a common in Born of Gods, after devotion as a mechanic is more established and referencing it isn't as strange.

    ReplyDelete
  17. For the art by John Severin Brassell under the "Alamon (wanderers)" heading:

    Joint Glory 2W
    Sorcery (C)
    Up to two target creatures you control gain first strike and lifelink until end of turn.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Art under Leina Tower by Raymond Swanland

    Phalanx Formation 1W
    Instant (C)
    Choose any number of target creatures. Each of those creatures gets +0/+2 until end of turn.

    (I am not expert of Greek military tactics, so the name may be off, feel free to provide one better)

    ReplyDelete