Thursday, September 5, 2013

CCDD 090513—Attuned

Cool Card Design of the Day
9/05/2013 - Attuned is another keyword I'm exploring for blue. Because blue understands magic better than the other colors, it makes sense that some of its creatures would too.

Attuned is an all-upside version of Spellwild Ouphe's ability. Or, if you're familiar with Planechase, it's exactly Elderwood Scion's ability. If attuned were to be keyworded, it could definitely appear in green, but there's an argument that it should be primary in blue. I don't think it's appropriate for white or red at all.

Despite feeling thematically like one cohesive ability, mechanically Attuned is doing two things: First, it's a soft version of shroud/hexproof like Frost Titan has, making it more expensive for your opponent to handle it with spells, but not impossible. 

Secondly, it allows you to enchant it or play combat tricks on it not just more cheaply, but often when your opponent has forgotten you can. By itself, that's not nothing but combined with its added protection against being two-for-one'd and attuned will promote some build-your-own-monster fun. (Which definitely shows we want to continue to use it in green, if not make it primary there and secondary in blue.)

Attuned 2 seems more than twice as good as attuned 1, but attuned 4 is only marginally better than attuned 3, suggesting a curve of value across N. That's not perhaps ideal, but it's also fairly standard among keywords with numbers, like bushido or cumulative upkeep.

Because it plays in the same mindspace as hexproof, you may not want to use both in the same set. It would probably also work to only use attuned in blue and hexproof in green (vice-versa might actually make more sense). I've not playtested attuned and might be over- or under-estimating it, but at face-value, it seems a lot safer and arguably even more fun than hexproof; I wouldn't be upset if attuned replaced it entirely.


  1. I like attuned a lot. Cost reduction may prove too dangerous to let this replace hexproof, but barring power concerns I think it's a more fun (if more complex) mechanic for that role.

  2. Very interesting idea! After I read it, I've thought a lot about it. Probably the cost reduction for you and increase for opponent is powerful, but one could argue that hexproof is more powerful, and above all leaning to more degenerate uses.
    There's the problem that the mechanic feels too much similar to hexproof, so I'd suggest to truly use the Ouphe's ability and cut the pseudo protective part, leaving only the positive effect for your spells.
    Something like:

    Attuned N (Spell you control that target this card cost {N} less to cast)

    This has some pros:
    - it plays in a mind-space different from hexproof, so it is not mutually exclusive;
    - I like the flavor and feeling, that I'd argue feels more blue;
    - it is also possible to concept it as an inclination to trickery, so it could be shared with Red;
    - it is less powerful than the precedent version, so it will read better.

    What do you think?

  3. I very much like this mechanic. However I don't think it works well as a blue evergreen mechanic. It is not combat orianted so it doesn't really fill the hole that blue has. this could however be a neet mechanic for theros. Where it can play into the enchantment and combat trick theme. Elsewhere... it'll be an ok hexproof clone.
    I find it interesting that when a new set comes out designer tend to design into thaT set even more deeply than mechanically. For instance, during rtr I saw a lot more multicolor. And durring inastrad I saw a lot more 2/1.