Wednesday, October 23, 2013

CCDD 102313—Unwanted

Cool Card Design of the Day
10/23/2013 - These cards are silver-bordered not because they're silly, but because they're not printable for tournament Magic. They utilize your opponent's sideboard, which is not public information in a tournament, and isn't even a defined game term outside of tournament rules and Jester's Sombrero. Take a look.

The idea is that Unwanted cards aren't good enough to play on their own, and so players who open them in Limited will leave them in their sideboard. If you're willing to take the chance that your opponent opened some of these, you can run it and have it powered up to the point of being decent or even good as a result.

The trick with these cards is finding an effect that's distinctly unappealing on its own, but somewhere between playable and decent when your opponent has a copy festering in her sideboard, and good to impressive when they've got several, depending on how the effect lines up with your deck's strategy.

It probably isn't impossible to make 'sideboard' a term black-bordered cards could reference, but regardless, we don't want players searching each other's sideboards (that defeats a fair portion of the point of a sideboard) and you can't expect all players to be honest about what is or isn't in their sideboard when asked. We certainly don't want to have to call a judge every time you cast an Unwanted card at a Sealed event.

And since these aren't particularly funny, they don't belong in an Un-set either. So why share them?

It's the weird, crazy ideas that leads to the surprising, genius ideas. Sometimes directly, more often through a long chain of complicated and/or subconscious connections. Point is, don't hide your crazy. It may be trash to most, but if it's treasure to one person, it was worthwhile.


  1. I like how you end it with some wise words.
    I see what you are getting at but I'm not sure if I like how these effects run from unplayable always to sometimes ok.

  2. Unwanted is unprintable and you did a good job of explaining why, so let's riff on it. The ultimate goal here is to make the sideboard a more interesting element of limited play. So what if there were cards you wouldn't be excited to maindeck, but would be happy if they wound up in your sideboard?

    Sideboard Bear (common)
    Creature - Bear
    Conjure 6 (You may cast this card from outside the game for 6.)

    1. Conjure is fascinating and deserves more exploration. My first instinct is that it's broken in this current form, but I'm not sure that's true outside of the infinite sideboards of casual play, and even if it is, it could still lead to something awesome.

      The fundamental questions seems to be: How good is a free card of your choosing when it costs three times as much usual? The reason I think the answer might be 'very' is that you rarely conjure a card instead of playing something on-curve from your hand, but you almost almost always conjure a card on a turn when you've got no relevant spells to cast; in that case, it doesn't matter whether it leaves you with four mana up or none—you weren't using that mana anyhow.

      While a 2/2 isn't worth as much of a card on turn 6 or turn 10 as it was on turn 2, it's entirely equivalent to drawing a Grizzly Bear from your deck at that stage of the game. If we remove the inherent card advantage of the mechanic, maybe that helps:

      Sideboard Bear {1}{G}
      Creature - Bear (common)
      Conjure {2}{G}{G} (You may discard a card to cast this spell from your sideboard for {2}{G}{G}.)

      Of course, that implementation begs the question, how often will you conjure something by discarding anything other than an extra land card? You could run some narrow cards, planning to conjure them away if they turn out irrelevant. I think that's about it. Is that a bad thing? This version of conjure is a form of smoothing, like cycling.

      It's funny. When I saw your originally cost of 2G, I was like "but it doesn't need to cost extra if you put it in your deck since the ability only work from outside your deck" and as soon as I changed it to be on-curve I immediatly saw why it has to be inefficient. If the card is good enough to be in your main-deck, it'll never in your sideboard to matter there. Which makes me wonder if we should consider

      Clever Conjuration (null)
      Sorcery (uncommon)
      (Nonexistent mana costs can't be paid.)
      Conjure {2}{U}{U}
      Draw two cards.

  3. Unwanted Wish GB
    Sorcery (R)
    You may choose an card an opponent owns from outside the game and any decks they own and exile it. You may cast it until end of turn. Exile Unwanted Wish.