Wednesday, September 11, 2013

CCDD 091113—Akroan Horse

Cool Card Design of the Day
9/11/2013 - Here's a bit of a departure from CCDD's tried-and-true formula. Today, the Cool Card Design is an actual card, Theros' Akroan Horse. Yesterday, it was revealed and I was impressed.

Today, I'll explain why I like it so much and compare with my attempts to design to this trope.


While giving permanents to your opponents is rare in Magic, it's not unheard of, and it is quite straightforward. All three abilities are normal abilities we've seen before; There are no new concepts to parse. And yet, the end result is dripping with flavor. It tells the story of the Trojan Horse perfectly: You give your opponent a big wooden horse, they don't refuse, and then a bunch of your guys spill out of it. That's simple, elegant and resonant. A+

Here's my crap:

Your opponent can choose to either let you get in for 2 damage, or block your horse and see what the best creature card in your hand is. There's some decent gameplay there, and the story is kinda there, but it's been skewed a bit. While ninjitsu played in the same mindspace, it did so from the opposite angle, and so this ability is technically new. That's not a bad thing, but there are certainly no bonus points like Akroan Horse won.

This implementation is truer to the original story (because not blocking the horse feels more like letting it through your gate) and much simpler rules-wise. On other hand, why is this wooden horse statue a 5/5 beater? (I made a 3/3 uncommon version for {4} but it just wasn't as exciting.)

The last take is the simplest; just letting you cast a free creature via a saboteur trigger. Of my designs, I think this is also truest to the Trojan Horse and I guess I have to give myself some bonus points for doing so with simple and standard Magic abilities. Even so, 0/4 defender makes so much more sense for an inanimate statue, and just giving it away rather than attacking with it is far more perfect.

I wonder how many designs Wizards iterated through before finding Akroan Horse.


  1. I did a similar exercise. Here's what I came up with:

    Trojan Horse- 3
    Artifact Creature- Horse Construct (Uncommon)
    Whenever ~ attacks, other attacking creatures you control can't be blocked this combat unless ~ is also blocked.

    I'm not at all sure of the templating on this, and it might want to have a point of power, but I like the general mechanical concept. See for the image (near the bottom of the page).

  2. Trojan Horse - 4
    Creatures you control with power 1 or less can't be blocked.