Tuesday, October 15, 2013

CCDD 101513—Hired Thark

Cool Card Design of the Day
10/15/2013 - What the world needs now is mercenaries. Sweet mercenaries.

And Orcs. What I wanted to accomplish with this card (apart from the Vorthos agenda of reintroducing Orcs to Magic…as a black type) was a mercenary that required payment in order to be worthwhile.

While +0/+N is usually a very white ability (see Capashen Templar and friends), the life payment turns this from a story about a beneficent planeswalker protecting his hearty soldier by sharing his mana, to a tale of a loner mercenary demanding payment in blood if you expect him to stick around and deal with more self-righteous jerks brandishing their swords at you.

Granted, it could be regeneration instead, but then it feels like the creature is dying and coming back through necromantic magic. It could be damage prevention, but that feels even whiter. Redirecting the damage to you could work, but then we'd lose the benefit of choosing the number 2 here instead of 1. Specifically, that you'll often pay more than you would need to just barely save him. Again, part of the flavor of the card.


  1. You're right, regeneration would fit better colour-pie-wise, but I like the flavour of the current version and I like the black orc.

  2. With the modern push for black to be more defensively-minded, especially in limited, I'd be happy to see this as-is.

  3. You could also go wit:
    Hired Thark 1B
    Creature - Orc Mercenary
    When Hired Thark attacks or blocks, it gets -0/-2 unless you pay 2 life.

    This way it reads better, even if the card is almost identical. And the intended flavor is even (slightly) more evident IMHO.

    1. There's merit to your direction, though I feel like it leads inevitably toward:

      Hired Thark 1B
      Creature - Orc Mercenary
      Hired Thark can't attack or block unless you pay 2 life.

      Which... is probably just better than both designs.