Friday, September 13, 2013

Suvnica Week 13 Review, Part 2: Colorblind (Guild Artifact Cycles)

Here's a secret - Ravnica's cycle of guild artifacts is directly responsible for Suvnica even being a thing. Most of them were pretty bad, but I still think that they were some of the funner designs to come out of a set practically overflowing with fun designs. There were a few different things that inspired me to pitch this project, but a WAC around the time of Dragon's Maze got my hopes up that they would revisit the cycle in DGM (they didn't). I kept struggling to make a Simic artifact, and while I kept coming up with good designs (I thought) none of them felt like they made sense in Simic creatively. This in turn got me thinking about guilds with different philosophical focuses, and now here we are 750 card designs later. More rambling later. For now, here's the designs you guys came up with for the Suvnican analogue to that cycle:

lpaulsen's Designs

lpaulsen suggested a possible artifact cycle that takes the role that the guild champions did in Ravnica - to actively reward cards that are in each of the guild's colors, and compounding the reward for cards that are both colors. 

The Chimera artifact definitely needs it's numbers tweaked. 6/6 might be on the large side, even for a Jade Idol type temporary creature. Haste is a little strange for the green creature trigger - haste is tertiary in green. I'm not sure a non-red card should be granting it whenever a creature hits the battlefield.

Tezzi cloak is fun and a little strange (like the Tezzi). Hexproof + evasion has proven to be a notoriously unfun combination of abilities to play against. I wonder how much that's offset by the fact that, if the equipped creature has both abilities, it can by definition still be blocked by blue, red, and artifact creatures, which isn't nearly as evasive as some other offenders in this category.

TehWERR's Designs

TehWERR's artifacts are usable even in decks that don't have either of the guild's colors, but I feel like one half of a guild is going to get a much bigger benefit than the other in both of the cards. The growpot can allow some shenanigans with multiple cheap untap triggers, but multiple activations trample won't do a whole heckuva lot for you. As far as the dualblades go, Firebreathing > Armoring

Benjammn's Designs

Benjammn based his proposed cycle on (what at the time were the rumored, and later confirmed) cycle of gods in Theros. This challenge was really a box-checking exercise - let's design an artifact cycle for the guilds that's somehow different from the way they already did it. Box checking almost always leads to design traps and/or boring cards/sets. In this case, the trap was colorless enchantments.

Enchantments and artifacts play in incredibly similar design space, and R&D takes great pains to ensure that there are some lines between the two. Artifacts by default being colorless is one way to separate the two, and they only tend to give artifacts color when either artifacts or color are relevant to mechanical themes in the set. The only colorless enchantment to date is Eldrazi Conscription and that was in a set where colorless was a mechanical theme.

Maro explained during Theros previews that if they were going to do Enchantment Creatures, there had to be a component of the card that played into both types. He has frequently lamented Lucent Liminid as a design failure since nothing about the card made it feel like an enchantment.

I'm not going to argue that the Leylined cycle fell into the creature/enchantment trap, because I think that, similar to the Theran gods, this feels like both a creature and an enchantment. Rather, this cycle has to worry about whether it's falling into a colorless enchantment trap. Basically, if the above card can legitimately be printed as this:

(or at least legitimately printed to the same degree that the enchantment version could), then all we've done is some box checking.


All that said, I'm not really sure that the design fell into the trap. The combat restriction abilities would work on either an artifact or enchantment, and, at least in modern design trends, would probably lean more towards enchantment. I could see it working as an artifact, but it does feel legitimately enchantmenty.

This card would piss Maro off to no end, and Development too (but for entirely different reasons) but I doubt that this design would work as an artifact, so it can be a legitimate enchantment. The question is whether every color should have access to that last line. This tends to be a Blue-ish kind of rule, and I'm not sure we want every color to have access to it. That said casting from exile is fairly undeveloped design space, and maybe it could be something that any color could have access to.

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