Monday, January 6, 2014

Weekend Art Challenge Review 010314—fetsch

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

Bloodfrost Witch can tap a creature and punish your opponent for making it so big. Since that can't be used on defense, that puts this in the aggro strategy, where it's size is a bit disappointing next to its cost. Of course, the card is secretly very good: You could deal a ton of damage, and you remove a blocker for a turn, and you get a body out of the deal.

I suspect activating Bogbond Witch nets you one {B} by making the Swamp produce an additional mana when you tap it, and not that you get the {B}{B} immediately regardless of when you tap the Swamp. If so, that's an interesting way to make a black Elvish Mystic. You definitely wouldn't want that often, but I can imagine it fitting in the right block.

Curse Carrier is a black Nessian Courser that'll cost you nothing early, but could cost you the game (or be dead in your hand) late. Love it.

There's some concern that Death's Pilgrim is too swingy and will be non-interactive when it's at its best. Development would need to ensure the black player has enough answers if this is going to be common. Apart from that, this is simple and conditionally very appealing.

Disciple of Gargut would be the first card with snow mana in its mana cost. I was thinking a permanent with an ice counter on it should become a snow permanent, but there is precedent for ice counters all meaning wildly different things. Having 4 Disciples would be better than having four creatures with "{T}: Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature." but one is definitely worse—in terms of power level. Which is good because the theoretical card would be an absurd common.

Evoker of Sorrows lives in a block full of spellsurge cards, as well as the cantrips and cheap cards that would make it a reasonable strategy. I can't say how that actually plays, but this is a very attractive repeatable ability (especially for a common); Casting three spells is far from trivial, but activating this once will get you a lot closer to activating it a second time.

Hapless Coroner sports perhaps the blackest form of evasion ever. Not only will it kill your blocker, it'll two-for-one you while it's at it. At 1 power, that's not a problem on offense. On defense, this could become the most annoying card to play against in the set.

Hazy Witch has a redundant ability that will confuse players new and old alike. We expect to see exceptions printed on cards, and our mind will hurt itself trying to figure out why this text is here. An older player will wonder if there's some Magical Hack shenanigans that makes this relevant, while a new player should assume other golds cards aren't both colors like this one is.

Heartless Cursemage is an attractive one-drop, doing a pretty nice Keldon Marauders impression but remaining simple enough to be common. It has two abilities, in a manner of speaking.

Blood Bairn meets Looming Shade. Blood Bairn falls in love with Looming Shade. Blood Bairn loses Looming Shade. Blood Bairn wins back Looming Shade and they live happily ever after.
Keeper of the Night eats their other children.

Kederkt Lich is Viscera Dragger's older, more obviously Grixis brother. Nice upgrade.

Lichmaster of Grixis doubles your card draws and your damage dealt, but he nugs you each time.
So black. Very lich!

Mind Meddler gets in your head. Which is why most creatures don't want to block him. Kind of a neat upgrade to Slate Street Ruffian.

Or just "{1}{U}: ~ can't be blocked." The version above would need to be in a block that cares about color and plays with it in other places. The simpler version could be in any set that wants to promote two-color play without gold cards.

Phyrexian Vassal's second ability is pretty neat and I'd like to try it out sometime. Infect is a nice pairing with it, both thematically and mechanically.

Nezumi Cutthroat is waiting for the day they print this. And I as well. You can't stop it.

Spitemage is a bit too good for common, but even if it cost {4}{B}, it would still be pushing board complexity because there are several consequences to consider before attacking or blocking with a Spitemage in the picture.

Split-Eye Harvester wants you to build an army and feed it to her. You could build an army of Split-Eye Harvesters since they're common, and feed them all to the first, but they're a bit expensive for that. This really wants to be uncommon, if not rare (and cheaper).

Terrifying Wizard would be a first-pick common in any set that supports two-color play. E.g. all modern sets. Power aside, this is a sweet blue-black design.

Tombstone Replacer is worded a bit differently than you might expect so that you can't block with (or sacrifice) two Tombstone Replacers at the same time and get both back as a result. Clever. Defender feels a bit odd, but it does help justify the cheaper cost.

Devin explains that Witch of the Black Sun is "like a magical black-hole. Her powers are fueled by other peoples lost potential magic, but the siphoning process is violent. It harms those she feeds off of and leaves behind a vacuum which has to be filled. The end result—a living mystical battery."

I'm not really getting all that, so it's a flavor fail for me but it's certainly an attractive Spike card what with its efficient, protectable body and conditional Phyrexian Arena.

Not sure what the mean was, but the mode for this art is {1}{B} 2/1 (followed closely by 2/2). Funny how some art just kind of is a certain size / cost. Two abilities can be tricky to put on a NWO common, but it is certainly possible, especially given the massive breadth between the things that qualify as abilities.


  1. Evoker of Sorrows is {2}{B}. Don't know if that affects the mode.

  2. Totally agree that the Witch ended up being a mess. It wasn't a top-down design and perhaps that should have been my answer when you asked for a story. I really like the idea of the card and would want to play with it, perhaps in a set with Cycling if we are feeling so bold.

  3. Curse Carrier is the coolest solution to the challenge in my book. On that note, this seemed like a good challenge - one open ended criteria, a bonus difficulty that most but not all the designs attempted to meet, and a straightforward piece of art that still leaves plenty of room to interpret.

  4. Mind Meddler doesn't quite sit right with me. It's too much like "You don't want to block me. // Oh, and you don't want to block me." It's pretty close to a black Phantom Warrior.