Monday, December 30, 2013

Weekend Art Challenge Review 122713—Sandara

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

Abreotan, Lord of Wastes is meant to be a curious outlier. His breath weapon is a corruption of the land, something he himself is part of, like a cancerous tumor. How well that actually comes across on the card is another matter. This effect is historically white or red.

What would an Angelic Dragon look like? I'm really not sure, though it would need to include a characteristic angels have that dragons don't as well one that dragons have that angels don't.

Blinding Dragon uses devotion to protect you from attacks, or at least to slow down your opponent while she attacks you. Given that it adds three by itself, it actually wouldn't take much more to shut down her attacks entirely, at least until she kills Blinding Dragon or wipes your board. This is definitely white (though it could be an Angel instead).

Draconic Sovereign is very white in that it sports white's four main keywords. If you can produce all four other colors of mana, then you can also trade those abilities in for four of the least white keywords. And because he's bossy, Sovereign doesn't just make that swap for himself, but for all your creatures. Good luck figuring out when one state is better for your board than the other.

A Dragon that casts Second Sunrise for free when it dies is an impressive thing, and very white. The flash won't always be relevant, but helps justify what I suspect is a correctly high casting cost.

Dragon of the Wastes is a Desolation Giant that kicks every time it attacks. Or, if you prefer, a mono-white Novablast Wurm with flying. Which seems petty good.

Most cards should not combo with themselves, but sometimes that's just what you want to make a rare special. This art looked white-blue to me, so I tried to make Galeforce Dragon the white-blue-iest dragon I could.

Guardian can kill creatures after they attack and damage you, or after they block one of your attackers but before damage is dealt. Apart from that timing difference, I quite like this vengeance dragon.

Heir Snatcher proposes that Colossal Whale should probably have been a dragon all along. I don't disagree. Does Journey to Nowhere make that dragon white?

Immaculate Hellkite will usually win the game for you if your opponent doesn't have the Doom Blade in hand. A {3}{R}{R}{W}{W} mythic should be quite good, but I think this is a bit too good given how hard it is to play around, especially for red and/or green decks.

Mapbleacher Dragon has a huge effect, wrathing the board except for itself and nuking every source of mana except basic lands—which could be an Armageddon in Modern and Legacy. At 8 mana, that might be fine except for reanimation decks; I think this card really wants an "if you cast it from your hand" clause.

Palladia, Awoken is an exciting three-color Commander that hearkens back to the original inspiration for the format—the elder dragons. I like that her ability only matters once you've actually cast her, though I have to wonder if it's worth casting her a second time or just using her ability every turn once she's 'on.'

Platinum Dragon is a straight-forward, super-awesome dragon made of metal. Happy birthday, Timmy.

Restrained Hellkite reminds me of an old-school technique where creatures can trade combat damage for effects, like Ophidian. In this case, you can double each point you prevent this way in the form of life. You could gain 10 life per turn with this, though most of the time, it'll be a fiddly version of lifelink: Great against 1/1s and 2/2s, but poor against 4/4s and larger. The flavor is neat, though, so maybe this ability should exist on one rare.

Sandstorm Hellkite kicks up some Desert sands into your opponent's face. Neat.

Silver Dragon is a Phantom Wurm that can't be Doom Blade'd (and can fly, etc). Only 80% convinced the upgrade is worth tweaking the phantom mechanic, but this is definitely an exciting beastie. At the very least, I wish that wasted Doom Blade would remove one of the dragon's counters.

Sunbleached Hellkite gets three positive blocking abilities and a negative one and it all adds up to both an evocative flavor and some interesting gameplay. I love this; perfect for a core set (where it would likely become an Angel).

Tamashii, the Radiant Moon sports a unique ability. Everytime you damage something outside of combat, Tamashii steps in and says, 'allow me' and turns that Shock or Prodigal Pyromancer's ping into a Warleader's Helix. Awesome.

Temporal Dragon is an updated Tangle Wire on a stick. That's a pretty boss way to do reprints.

Is the only difference between fading and vanishing the name of the counters it uses? Fading specifies artifact, but that could just be a whatever-this-is variable like other keywords have.

Dragon's are fun.


  1. Jay, Fading was on all kinds of permanents. The primary reasoning they created Vanishing during TSP was that Fading cards didn't disappear until you couldn't remove a counter, rather when you removed the last counter. This was generally counter-intuitive, as most Fading cards were useless without any counters on them.

  2. Fading also let you do tricks like tap one soon-to-expire Tangle Wire to a different Tangle Wire, which was nifty, but like damage on the stack, probably judged to be too LSP-unfriendly.

    also re: my card, since I didn't get to respond to the old thread in time: Retributive damage is white's thing and generally not red's. The difference can be argued as flavor.

    1. White has gotten more vengeance than red for sure, but it's such a thematically red concept (as well) that I really think red should get more.

  3. How the card text is laid out is not correct for mine, Dragon of the Second Sun. But it's not important at all to the design, except for whether a design has too much text to fit within the text box, which isn't the case for my design. Anyway, it's something I only discovered when designing my card: Flash and flying are never on the same line together.

  4. "I like that her ability only matters once you've actually cast her, though I have to wonder if it's worth casting her a second time or just using her ability every turn once she's 'on.'"

    The ability works even while she's in play, so I don't think there's too much concern of never recasting Palladia after the first time. You get to use the pump ability regardless.

    1. True. I suppose at 10 mana, you just cast her and pay for her ability.

  5. I think Colossal Whale should have been white, so I'm happy to see a white version of it :> Admonition Angel is further precedent, though it also argues for the effect going on an Angel rather than a Dragon.

    It's very tempting to try to activate Draconic Sovereign after making your vigilant, flying attack and after first strike lifelink damage has been done, in order to get normal-strike damage that's trampley and deathtouching. Unfortunately first strike doesn't work that way, but I fear it's a tempting trap.

    Platinum Dragon will likely be printed one day. Though likely with a different name because "Platinum" currently means "you can't lose".

    Tamashii is awesome. And quite funny with painlands, in the same way that Tamanoa is.