Monday, December 16, 2013

Weekend Art Challenge Review 121213—mariusbota

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

Autumn Council isn't obviously useful because it doesn't straight out tell you what it does. It's meant to keep your turn safe from shenanigans by turning off your opponent's ability to counter your spells or play (non-green) tricks in combat. That's actually pretty nice and I would totally play a sorcery-speed Silence that cantrips for 1 in most Limited decks or a Constructed deck with a crucial turn. I'm not sure I'd play Autumn Council though.

Here's how excited I am about Autumn Whispers: I re-rendered it to change 'want' to the slightly more sensical 'went' so you could see its unblemished glory. I'm not sure how much it needs to cost—It certainly would be nice if it were cheap enough to cast after an early Day of Judgment, but then again it's probably not hard to draw 3-4 cards from this while getting value from your creatures' noble deaths.

Autumn's Blessing is a nice way to reward you for having a big creature, something green wants to do anyhow. It's nice that it will default to your next biggest creature if the opponent Doom Blades one in response. Not sure why Autumn loves big things; maybe this should be Garruk's Blessing.

It turns out there's a two-card infinite life combo with Orochi Leafcaller and Autumn's Bounty, but apart from that, Autumn's Bounty is a fairly innocuous life gain spell that should appeal to Melvin, or at least Johnny-Melvin.

Breathe Into the Fall is a weird name for a nice little Forest-loving card. You can make a new creature every turn, or make a big one. Or start over when they kill your first. And it rewards you even more if you accelerate into more Forests. Fun.

Commune with Dryads is a nice modal spell because one mode is strong early and weak late, while the other is weak early and strong late, so while it does rather different things, it should always be relevant. Probably very good, maybe too good.

Echoes of Autumn is a double-faced card, not a split card. Embody is meant to give you the creature in addition to the base spell effect. The current template isn't clear, but that could be has been improved.

I do have to wonder if all embody creatures will have to have Promise of Spring's effect in order to justify making it a DFC instead of just making a token.

Harmonize? Yes, please.

The primary spell effect of Heralding of Hibernation is a wonky half-symmetrical Sleep (your creatures untap but your opponents' don't); not sure why it's green apart from the hibernation flavor. The suspend effect is neat and powerful and very green.

Leaf Born Awakening is a neat Fog variant that will occasionally help close out a game. Neat.

With just one Leafcrafting Lesson (as much as you can expect in Limited), you get a 2/2 Bear for two and you can make a 1/1 later after its dead (or you can have two 1/1s immediately). Basically a Safehold Elite. With several of these, the timing of when to flashback vs not is quite different. The front side of each card is like a Timberpack Wolf, until you flash one or more back, which shrinks them all but gives you another. Interesting.

Leafweaving is simple and should really get printed at some point, though likely for a bit more since it blows Fungal Sprouting out of the water (in a mono-green deck).

Loam Rebirth is a curious Raise Dead variant. You get exactly as many cards, but you can't cast the creature you recurred until your next turn. On the other hand, green doesn't usually get recursion this efficient.

Phylomancer's Revelation will let you search up any three creature cards at once, but you have to pay for all of them twice (once to tutor and once to cast). That's pretty impressive. I imagine it'll be getting three Elvish Mystics a lot more than anything else.

Rites of Yavimay really wants to be part of a combo, but I'm not sure how many red-green-saproling decks could give it a home. Would be better on its own if it made two Saprolings (or none and was cheaper).

Apparently 'skald' is an old word for 'poet,' but it sounds pretty goblinoid to me. Skald's Circle will turn a small army into a not-so-small army. It's a trap for new players, since it looks powerful, but it's a win-more card. Imagine drawing this card the turn after a Wrath of God.

Entwine's reminder text could change from "Choose both if you pay the entwine cost." to "Choose all if you pay the entwine cost." I'm not convinced these three effects are begging to be on the same card, but if you think of Song of Autumn's Rise a charm, there might be a cycle of entwine-charms.

Summoning Rites is a less volatile but more time-sensitive Crusader of Odric. Now that white is the army color and green is the fatty color, even this version would probably go to white, leaving green to Miming Slime. Count your Forests instead and I'm in.

Sylvan Consultation is rooting for mono-mreen control. Actually, at {2}{G} and caring only for basic Forests, it would be purely mono-green; as is, you could totally play this in Gx Control. Probably the more focused version is best?

Sylvan Offering should be a card already. It's not, but it should be.

"I've restored life to you, harpy, and so though you remain just as evil as ever, you work for me now." I'm not convinced Turn Over a New Leaf should be green—or anything but black—but the card name here is great for this color combination.

Three Recollects for one more {G} seems like a pretty good deal. You just have to be patient. Too good? (Probably)

There were a ton of entries here and many very good ideas. I very much appreciate how everyone helps give feedback, because I can't get to all of them quickly, and you all always see something I don't. Case in point, I made two bad submissions before I found something not obviously wanting. Teamwork!


  1. My original design for Autumn Whispers counted creatures put into all graveyards that turn, but just that tiny change in wording made the card feel utterly black.

  2. Sylvan Offering could definitely see print in the right setting, but there's a good reason that it doesn't already exist: in most environments Naturalize is a pretty hit or miss card, and it feels terrible to have the main effect you're after (the creature) stuck in your hand because you have no target. Of course, they did print Sundering Growth and this has a little bit less feel bad because you don't see exactly what you're missing out on.

    As for embody, I certainly don't think they all need to regrow themselves, but the environment would probably need higher levels of bounce to make the distinction relevant. That said, I think this is the way to do it even if nothing cared about them being on the same physical card for the same reason we use DFCs rather than flip cards: it chunks the information into more digestible bits.

    1. you could maybe get around that by doing the following:

      Sylvan Offering 2GG
      Put a 1/1 green elemental creature token onto the battlefield, then you may destroy target artifact or enchantment. If you do put X +1/+1 counters on target elemental, where X is the CMC of the destroyed artifact or enchantment.

      however this is really clunky and just wants to be a creature with an ETB effect like an acidic slime.

    2. I'm really fine with making a card that's just as conditional as Naturalize (a little moreso, since it cares about CMC too) with upside. Yes, sometimes a player will wish it was just a creature, but they'd feel the same way about Naturalize.

      If all the embodied creatures have unique rules text, that also definitely helps justify the DFC. Obv the commons can be french/vanilla, but the other cards have to justify the giant logistical pain that is a DFC (mainly in Limited, but also in Constructed).

  3. Only one person submitted a common and no one submitted a mythic. Does this art really scream "uncommon or rare"?

    1. I noticed there was only one common (which I was surprised by), but I missed that there were no mythics. I do think this art screams "not mythic," actually.

    2. Perhaps there are no new common non-creatures left to design.

  4. it definitely doesn't say mythic

  5. Autumn Whispers is reminiscent of Caller of the Claw, and could probably be comparably costed.
    Breath into the Fall is delightful and would make me want to build a mono-green deck.

    Leafcrafting Lesson is Sound the Call from Coldsnap. But I'll admit the addition of flashback does make it really interesting.

    I think it's fine for green to get recursion as good as Loam Rebirth. There was Wildwood Rebirth as a 2-mana instant Raise Dead, so I don't see why green shouldn't get it as a 1-mana sorcery.

    I'd say Rites of Yavimaya ought to be able to sacrifice any creature to get R or G. Let it be the new Thermopod or Phyrexian Altar.

    Turn Over a New Leaf is Debt of Loyalty meets Miraculous Recovery (or Vigor Mortis). So if it's any single colour I'd guess it's mono-white. The name is fantastic, though I'm not sure it completely fits the art.

    Winter Storage may be okay at its cost. The fact that you don't get even one of the Recollects until next turn probably does allow it to be a lot cheaper than it'd need to be otherwise.

  6. About Heralding of Hibernation: my reasoning was that it is another way to do fog.

  7. Not to stripe my own tiger, but Harmonize is super cool because there are three elves potentially communing with this nature spirit.