Tuesday, December 17, 2013

CCDD 121713—Escorted

Cool Card Design of the Day
12/17/2013 - Last week I looked at TehWERR's Escort mechanic. This week, I want to look at Bass's.

This version is much simpler; it's just an evasion mechanic. An escorted creature can't be blocked unless all your creatures are blocked. Note that as worded, if all your creatures are escorted, that means none of them can be blocked unless they all are. I think I'm okay with that, but if testing shows that's poor, you could make it "as long as another unescorted creature is attacking and unblocked."

Escorted by X also allows us to limit the power of this evasion considerably. For example, unlike Ministry Caravan, Lupine Companion isn't completely unblockable while its next to an Invisible Stalker.

"Escorted by Anything" is quite good. Notice how this incarnation of Merchant Caravan is merely 1/1 and still very relevant.

In a similar vein, this Wild Walker gives you more creatures to help keep it unblocked to give you more creatures… etc.

And this one is just a wacky beast lord.


  1. I hope no one is jealous of how incredibly brilliant I am and much you love me.

  2. The wording is a bit awkward, don't you think? "Can't be blocked as long as another creature is attacking and unblocked." By the time a creature is "attacking and unblocked," blockers have already been declared (and "can't be blocked" is irrelevant.

    Escorted (After any opponent declares blockers, if you control another unblocked attacking creature, this creature becomes unblocked if it's attacking.)

    Or, iterating on it
    Escorted (Whenever this creature attacks, you may choose another attacking creature to escort it. This creature can't be blocked unless the escorting creature is also blocked.)

    1. Technically, you only need "another creature is unblocked" but I remember how ambiguous the ninjitsu template was back in Kamigawa and like how explicit this one is.

      We might be able to get closer to "Can't block alone" / "Can only block alone…"

      Escorted (This creature can't be blocked unless all other attackers are blocked.)
      Escorted by [Type](This creature can't be blocked unless all other [type]s are blocked.)

    2. The wording is awkward from a comprehensive rules standpoint, but reminder text is just to make it clear what it does. I would garner that the vast majority get how it is supposed to work, even though, technically, it's not accurate templating.

    3. Jay's wording is much, much nicer. Also more concise, which is a good thing.

    4. I was thinking something like the second wording, like soulbond. "This creature may attack escorted by another attacking creature. It can't be blocked unless that creature is blocked first."

      The potential advantages are:

      - We know soulbond working in pairs was easiest to grok, you can look at each pair individually.
      - Having one escort per escorted seems intuitive
      - It allows "if this creature escorts/is escorted" riders
      - It requires interesting choices, _which_ creature is escorted
      - It makes it obvious when you attack what needs special attention.

    5. I would want to test both versions, but jack makes a strong argument here.

  3. if you change the flavor, this could be the evasion ability that blue needs:

    if you flavor it similar to the way ninjutsu is flavored / similar to how the assassins in assassins creed is flavored (you are blending in with the crowd) then this could be a blue primary (black?) secondary keyword for use on rogues and assassins.

    Sneeky Guy 1U
    Creature - Rogue
    Blend/Crowdblend/Stealth? (This creature can not be blocked unless all other attacking creatures are blocked)

    Not to mention that this ability plays sooo well with the evasion blue has already (unblockable and flying.) as well as blacks flying and intimidate.

    food for thought...

    1. maybe it could be called sneeky or smokescreen or something like that. the flavor is that as long as other things are getting through, the opponent is distracted and cannot find your stealthy guy that is attacking. but if all other attackers are blocked, then it would be easier to see the stealthy guy coming for you.

    2. Excellent. I was wondering if someone was going to bring up the question of what colors this belongs in. I went with Bant above because with the name 'escort' it feels a bit like teamwork and/or a bit like wealthy/royal people and their entourage.

      But yeah, if it's crowd blending, that could easily be blue/black. Probably wouldn't use "blends with [type]" then, but if we did, it would likely match the creature's own types.

      If we go bottom-up (knowing we can theme it several ways), it makes sense to ask who needs it most. Blue needs more creature keywords, but not as much evasion. Green and red have the least evasion, but that's not really an accident. Hmm.

    3. As far as the fine print goes, I'd vote for "CARDNAME can't be blocked unless each other attacking creature is also blocked."

      Now, what colors to give it too...we know Izzet and Dimir don't have true evergreen keywords. Does escorted seem simple enough, cheap enough, and versatile enough to be considered for evergreen status? I think its worth a shot. The trick is finding an appropriate concept that either color combination can use distinctively.

      Black and Blue's use of "escorted" could be conveyed as a form of sneakiness, hitching a ride, smuggling, or a form of limited invisibility. In this case, pairing it with the other forms of evasion those two colors already have access to gives "escorted" a combo-like feel if a bit redundant. This would be the easiest place it, I think.

      Red's use of it would be more along the lines of a battle sense. These guys are experienced veterans wading through battle like its in their nature, or guerilla fighters using other forces as a diversion. In game, Red's lack of evasion suggests attacking in numbers is your route to victory.

      Do any of these colors need another form of evasion? Possibly not. But if you had to, where would you put it? And what would you call it?

    4. I think the idea of making it so that the creature is escorted by creatures of another type really helps avoid the bizarre "all my creatures escort each other so none of them can be blocked" in an intuitive way without any additional complexity added to the keyword.

      As for what colours; I think white/green is where it fits. White and Green make sense as the 'bodyguard' team, banding type of mechanics make sense there, though you could certainly have fun with a black necromancer escorted by zombies or a merfolk escorted by fish or a red wizard escorted by elementals.

      The truth is, Magic doesn't need another evasion keyword, but, something like this could be fun for a core set or a tribal set, but mainly, it's just a design attempt to fix the complexity problem of the 'escort' flavoured keyword.

  4. Scarred Veteran 1R (Common)
    Creature - Orc Barbarian

    Demolitions Expert 2R (Uncommon)
    Creature - Dwarf Soldier
    When ~ deals combat damage to a player, destroy target artifact that player controls.

    Idzaark, Glorious End RR (Rare)
    Legendary Creature - Goblin Soldier
    Haste, escorted
    When ~ deals combat damage to player, take an extra turn after this one. At the beginning of that turns end step, you lose the game.

  5. I'm still not 100% sold on the fact that this really shows a creature being escorted.