Friday, September 13, 2013

Suvnica Week 13 Review, Part 1: Thug Story (Radkar Keyword)

Terrorists, grifters, and thugs, the Radkar thrive at the intersection of Power and Chaos. Let's see what kind of keywords everyone came up with for them.

Zefferal's Opportunistic

My own submission was pretty poor in hindsight. I kept trying to not do frenzy when the keyword I was trying to make was just frenzy. Sometimes it doesn't pay to fight against what a mechanic wants to be.

lpaulsen suggested this as a cleaner and more grokkable variation on what I was aiming for:

Relentless is a variation on Frenzy that actually makes sense to print, so it has that going for it over my idea. Development would have to determine if this did too many weird things to combat math or not. I suspect it might cause too much trouble, particularly for newer players.

hubatish's Power Hungry

Power hungry gives creatures with the ability a boost if they're the alpha of your pack. It was pointed out in the comments both that this could easily work as a keyword in other guilds (Sahleen, and possibly Gilrog), and that it could also work with the guild's flavor if the ability was granted only if you controlled another creature with lower power. The mechanic definitely rewards curving out. It can also create some good tension - you will probably have to frequently choose between keeping your bonus or going for a bigger army, coming down to tempo math. 

Maro has talked about how game designers can steer players to perform certain actions in a game, and even if that activity is not fun, they will still do it, but they will leave the table with a sour feeling about the game they just played. I do worry that newer players, who tend to like playing creatures as soon as they can, regardless of whether its the right move, will find this mechanic unfun, even if they make the objectively correct plays.

Circeus suggested this tweak to the mechanic. It definitely plays differently - no more constant checking (although, with Power Hungry the chances of having to track more than one or two creatures at a time with the ability was relatively low) which makes for less confusing board states. It's definitely wordier this way, which makes it more narrow as far as what we can do with it at common. I do think that the two could be playtested independently, and either could be a good contender.

lpaulsen's Punisher

It's hard to argue against Red's punisher mechanic from way back in Odyssey block as being a good fit for Radkar. The only complaint I have is that Radkar players are going to want new toys to play with, not just polished hand-me-downs.

Benjammn's Dominance

Dominance rewards for having more of something than someone else. That's a fun space to play with. I'm not 100% sure that red/black, the colors most likely to sacrifice their own things, is the best place for the mechanic, but it's worth testing all the same.

TehWERR's Opportunistic

TehWERR's take on the opportunistic tendencies of the Radkar takes on a "kick-him-while-he's-down" attitude, giving you or your creature a bonus when you interact with a creature that took damage before combat. This is a fun idea, and very flavorful, but it skews heavily towards red support, leaving black with little to do to take advantage of having the ability. Black does occasionally get some direct damage in the form of life draining, but not quite at the frequency that red does.

Jay Treat's Highway Robbery

Highway Robbery incentivizes engaging in combat and surviving to tell the tale. Landfall-style, this rewards players for doing what they naturally are going to want to do most of the time anyway. And, landfall-style, it pushes you to reconsider what would normally be an obvious play. This is a great mechanic. If I had to nitpick, it would be that it may be too broad for a guild mechanic (it would work in {R}{G} and {B}{G} just as well), but that's not something to lose much sleep over.

Lobster667's Glorious End

I modified the template on what Lobster proposed for Glorious End, and I'm still not sure I got it right (do continuous triggered abilities work? It might have to trigger at a specific part of combat - like after declare blockers step). Either way, giving attacking creatures built-in Fling sounds fun. I'd be willing to test that out, see if it plays well. I'm not sure that it ties in particularly well to Radkar (unlike the Rakdos, Radkar are much more eager to sacrifice other creatures than to sacrifice themselves).

1 comment:

  1. Power Hungry and Despotism remind me of a mechanic I created for the black-white aristocrats in a Victoriana steampunk set I created. That's an ability word called "Hierarchy" which looked like:

    Nouveau Riche, 1W, 2/2, common
    Hierarchy 2 – If you control two or more creatures with lower converted mana cost than Nouveau Riche, Nouveau Riche gets +1/+1.

    Mindpoison Marquise, 3BB, 3/3, uncommon
    Hierarchy 2 – Whenever Mindpoison Marquise deals combat damage to a player, if you control at least two creatures with lower converted mana cost than Mindpoison Marquise, that player discards a card and you draw a card.

    Lord of the Demesne, WW, 2/2, rare
    Hierarchy 2 – If you control at least two creatures with lower converted mana cost than Lord of the Demesne, creatures you control have +1/+1.

    I think the flavour of comparing power is better for thugs, while the flavour of comparing CMC works okay for aristocrats, so I guess the proposals here are better for Radkar.

    I think Glorious End would be templated as "{B}{R}, sacrifice ~: ~ deals damage equal to its power to target creature or player. Activate this ability only if ~ is attacking."