Monday, November 18, 2013

Weekend Art Challenge Review 111513—leventep

Weekend Art Challenge Review
Here's the challenge we're reviewing today.

It's pure coincidence that the first two cards we're reviewing are colorless. It is perhaps not coincidence that there exist two colorless cards for this challenge.

Encroaching Nothingness is a zany design that takes a card from you each turn, and gives you one chance to cast it before it becomes available to the next guy. The only reason I can imagine that wouldn't be red is because of the very last line that fixes mana. Or, I suppose, if you were trying to make a set that featured colorless cards… in which case fixing your mana would be redundant.

I have no idea why Ghostwish is colorless. I think the misty art compelled Devin and Pasteur to make colorless cards, but neither needs to be colorless at face value.

The effect itself is neat and very red. It would likely be very awkward in casual games since many players will bring a particular box of cards with them just for it, or their whole damn collection if you're not so lucky.

Elvish Visionary gets ripple. Sounds like a blast. Just hope you don't draw the next Hinterland Ranger via the ETB effect for maximum feel-bad.

Illusionary Mists is like a Raging River of super-Fog. As an old player, I love it.

I think the "but-only-once-per-Island" limiter that Ipaulsen really wants is Chah's "permanently reveal" or "Choose an unrevealed card in your hand at random. Reveal until EOT." Apart from the templating awkwardness, this design has nice flavor and randomness. I do imagine a Johnny building a hand of 6 or 7 Islands so he can lock everything down, but Dev can test against that.

I like Memory Cascade a lot. My only interesting observation is that this milling actually affects players in the way that casual player feel like all milling does, which is maybe a good thing?

I'm not at all sure what color or cost Misty Adversary should be. The intention is to create a little mind game, but I can imagine that being mitigated a bit in certain game states and a lot in Constructed, if it were Constructed-playable.

Mystic Oasis has a lot of potential. It's symmetrically versatile enough that I think mostly only Johnny will enjoy figuring out how to really come out ahead with it, which is fine. You definitely don't want to play it without figuring that out first, though, because it'll help your opponent more than you if you're already losing.

Reflector Mimic mimics Unstable Shapeshifter, but can only reflect opponent's creatures. That's a card I'd enjoy playing, but I'm pretty sure it's still mono-blue.

There aren't a lot of green Telepathy effects. Ignoring that, Reclaimer of the Wilds does random in a very green way: The input is land and the output is a bigger creature. Actually, the input is how many spells haven't your opponents cast yet—so you're 'punishing' them for running expensive spells (or getting land-screwed). There's something here, but I don't think it's crystallized yet.

I like Nightveil Specter ability, and I'm not opposed to an enemy-landfall trigger, but I would expect the land to factor into how the card gets cast. I don't see any reason for Seeker of Secrets to associate the exiled card to a specific land. It's face-down, so she won't be Stone Rain'ing herself to prevent you from getting a random card. This could be a lot simpler and lose nothing.

I like the story Training Session is telling and I like the balance of it when played fairly. Might be too easy in an otherwise all-creature deck.

A few cards have used 'random card from hand' and that's a decent alternative to other randomizers. To an extent, it's neat that you can "stack the cards," though it's also dangerous. Logistically, it's pretty straightforward to do, but is annoying for players who insist on keeping their hand sorted.

Treacherous Path has a big problem. It should be uncommon, but its effect requires you to get enough of it to be relevant and so it needs to be common. Not sure there's a decent fix.

Most of the time, it will be correct for your opponent to choose -X/+X so Unsure Footing won't kill the creature, but sometimes it'll be right for them to take the gamble. Sometimes, it'll be right for you to take the gamble.

Waterfall Guardian makes no sense to me. As a land, it's a Simic Guildgate …with downside. As a creature, it's a Memnite …with downside. And eventually (if not immediately), it's neither. Can you even have a permanent in play with no card types?

A 1/7 wall with deathtouch is surely too good for {1}{U}{B} but when it's conditional, and not just conditional, but intermittent, it might be just right (though 1/5 is probably plenty good). The flavor's sweet and it's neat that you can re-arm your Guardian by waiting a few turns and purging your old hand. Not sure Hellbent should make it stronger, though.

Waterfall of Weenies explores the mantle of white's color pie, but I still think it's more white than anything else. Green comes close. I suppose it could be red if you drew enough Goblins on it. Regardless, I imagine this being cute in Limited and a real card in Constructed.

As usual, I'm impressed with the ingenuity with which you all tackled this challenge. By and large you made it look easy, which it wasn't. There was also a lot of neat flavor, which is of course a big benefit of designing to particular art. May your week be unpredictable, interesting, and—with a little luck—fun as hell.


  1. I read the UG Waterfall Guardian the same way you did at first, but then I realized that it said "not" revealed. So it can be a creature when you want it to be, it can be a land when you want it to be, it can sometimes be both, and it can never be neither.

    1. But the effect only triggers as long as the card is both a land and a creature.

    2. Right you are. In that case, the only problem is that it's nearly unparseable.

  2. Vorthos regards to U/B Waterfall Guardian:

    The flavor is that you have to answer its riddle or it kills you, right? Well, when you're Hellbent that just means the riddle is a trick question!

  3. Late to the party:

    Glacial Thaw
    Land (R)
    Glacial Thaw enters the battlefield tapped.
    t: Add 1 mana to your mana pool. Reveal cards from the top of your deck until you reveal a land. Put that card onto the battlefield. Put Glacial Thaw and the rest of the revealed cards on the bottom of your library in a random order.

    1. Whoa, this is really cool. And fits the art well.

    2. Neat.
      Dev might move the ETBT from Thaw itself to the land it fetches so it can't produce two mana in a turn, but I suppose that's the primary benefit of playing this over the lands you're hoping to thaw into anyhow.

    3. the land should enter tapped... also goes infinite with one of these in deck, no other lands (selective memory) and an amulet of vigor.

    4. Right now this land doesn't add much new gameplay, just boosts the odds of getting specific lands out of your deck. I'd prefer an implementation like this (though execution time is an issue):

      Eroding Terrain
      Land (R)
      T: Add 1 to your mana pool.
      Whenever CARDNAME becomes tapped, reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a land card. CARDNAME becomes a copy of that card and gains this ability. Then put all cards revealed this way on the bottom of your library in a random order.

    5. If we do go with the boosted mana version, it should be more conditional (so that it's not always +1 mana if you're only running basic lands). Something like:

      Glacial Thaw
      Land (rare)
      Glacial Thaw enters the battlefield tapped.
      {T}: Add {1} to your mana pool. Reveal the top card of your library. If it's a land card, put it onto the battlefield and put Glacial Thaw on the bottom of your library.