Tuesday, September 10, 2013

CCDD 091013—Blink

Cool Card Design of the Day
9/10/2013 - Blink is another attempt at a new blue-centric keyword. It includes a mana cost parameter, which no evergreen keywords do, but that doesn't stop it from being used in an expert block every few years. It's a combat ability, but not in the traditional sense.

Blink clearly owes its heritage to Gustcloak Sentinel and friends. It's a bit broader (being able to work on defense), a bit more combo-able (triggering ETB watchers), but more manual (requiring mana to use). Blink is no more evasion than first strike is, and in fact it has a few parallels with the rattlesnake that is first strike, except that it pushes your opponent toward attacking and blocking, rather than away from it.

Instead of exiling the creature, it could just remove it from combat like the Gustcloak cycle, or it could just negate damage like Fog Bank, but I like the flicker effect best because it feels like either time stopping or teleportation, both of which are very blue concepts.

Flickering also lets us build in little synergies like Wallwalker's. On the other hand, it's terrible with auras and beneficial counters.

While it reads and feels very different from regeneration, blink plays very similarly and that could be a mark against it, though I'm not sure how big. While blink {U} won't protect a creature as much regenerate {G} (oh hey, there is an evergreen keyword with a mana parameter), it could prove more annoying simply because blue is more likely to build a controlling archetype, and so we'd want to be careful with cheap blink costs. Clockturner, for example, might well prove too efficient.


  1. I like this. Alternatively, you could do away with the mana cost and make it a return-to-hand trigger: Blink (when this blocks or becomes blocked, you may return it to your hand.). Despite the free-ness, you still have shields-down moments outside of combat where it can be easily killed.

    1. I think this would work with a mana cost as well.

      Blink Boy
      Creature - Human Wizard (C)
      Blink U (When this blocks or becomes blocked, you may pay U. If you do, return it to your hand.)

      Mr. Blink
      Creature - Human Wizard (U)
      Blink 1U (When this blocks or becomes blocked, you may pay 1U. If you do, return it to your hand.)
      When Mr. Blink enters the battlefield draw a card then discard a card.

      Blinking Clone
      Creature - Shapeshifter (R)
      You may have Blinking Clone enter the battlefield as a copy of any creature on the battlefield except it gains "Blink 1UU".

      Made You Look
      Sorcery (C)
      Target creature gains blink U until end of turn (When it blocks or becomes blocked, you may pay U. If you do, return it to your hand.)

      Jon Blinkel
      Legendary Creature - Human Wizard (M)
      Other creatures you control have blink 0.
      Whenever a creature you control blinks, draw a card.

    2. Ninja of the Shallow Hours 1U
      Creature - Human Ninja
      Blink 3U (When this engages a creature in combat, you may pay 3U. If you do, return it to your hand.)
      When CARDNAME blinks, you may put a creature card with CMC 4 or less from your hand onto the battlefield engaged with the opponent's creature.

      Clearly not blue, clearly ridiculous, but still.

    3. Blink to hand (with or without a cost) could definitely work. I like the idea without a cost because it cleans up the keyword and we can build that cost into the card's existing mana cost.

  2. I think as a blue keyword... why not keyword gustcloak and make it evergreen, then give it to blue? it encourages blue to do some attacking but also makes it easy to defend at the same time. it's NWO friendly, and makes interesting gameplay!

    1. I don't know how well the gustcloak ability would actually play in Blue. It seems like it's best when you can attack with a bunch of creatures without evasion. If the gustcloak creature gets blocked, that means one of your other creatures probably got through. Blue doesn't normally have that critical mass of evasion-less creatures to attack with though.

  3. I really like this as a potential blue evergreen keyword, but I think the best route would be to make it an action word like 'regenerate', and remove the 'blocks / becomes blocked' restriction. Then you can just write stuff like

    1U: Blink Clockturner. (Exile it, then return it to the battlefield under your control.)

    I suggest the immediate-return version because that makes it slightly less like regeneration (you can't use it to dodge Wraths). But the 'until end of turn' template is also very attractive because it's so concise and easy to understand.

  4. I think it should only work on the offense. Blue definitely doesn't need regeneration.

    1. That definitely makes it less versatile and exciting, and more reminiscent of Gustcloak, but I really can't disagree with you.

    2. The upside to having it work on defense is if your blue opponent has a Blink creature, you can attack before casting your spells to force them to decide between paying Blink mana or having counter-mana up. But that's not unlikely to be a real decision very often, especially with low blink costs (and these days, players often have the mana to cast a spell while keeping mana up for BOTH Ætherling and an additional counter, so, eh.)

  5. Standard nitpick: Equip is an evergreen keyword with a mana cost parameter.

    I was actually reminded not of Gustcloak but of Dream Fighter. Which suggests a potential more powerful version: not just the creature with blink but also the creatures blocking/blocked by it also flicker out UEOT.

    1. Whoa. Not sure I knew Dream Fighter existed. That version would deal answer trample, but isn't strictly better since it'll trigger the other creature's ETB effects. It completely screws auras, though, and that's a deal-breaker for me. (Well, phasing doesn't but flicker would.)

    2. You wouldn't want to put it in the same block as an Aura theme or subtheme, certainly.