Monday, March 24, 2014

Weekend Art Challenge 032114 Review—Neverland

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

Attacked by Crocodiles is a nice bit of upgradeable removal.
Just don't think too hard about what's doing the biting when you don't have a crocodile in play.

Bit of a Croc is unconditional and can be reused every four turns. Given the value of repeated removal in Limited (even though it doesn't gain you any cards), I think this wants to be uncommon. I think four is a good interval for free recursion: Any more and it would feel irrelevant; any less and it would feel oppressive.

Given that I'd expect pirates to be in Grixis colors, it's ironic that black would be the color to get protection from them, though I have to say a white crocodile would feel off. Could Bucaneer Biter be green? Hilarious flavor, regardless.

Strictly better than Prey Upon, but only slightly, Caught by Crocodiles seems fine.
Are you noticing a trend? What do you expect from art so prominently featuring a croc?

Daring Rescue can save one of your creatures, let you surprise your opponent with a flash creature, or both. You can even Flicker the one creature if you have enough mana to recast it, though that doesn't fit the flavor as well.

Eon Hub seems like a pretty perfect reprint for Neverland. This time, it's not just great for Johnny, but for Vorthos too.

Along similar flavor lines, Eternal Youth is a simple, compelling card. I am worried that it might dominate too many matchups since it can't be killed like Oracle of Nectars.

Eternal Youth demands that the set feature cumulative upkeep, which is unlikely under NWO and also gives Neverland a more fleeting quality than an eternal one.

Get Lost has prioritized cleverness and versatility over elegance and flavor. This feels very much like a Development-generated design to me as a result. I'm not sure the templating works because I think you have to use 'unattach,' but that's less important than knowing whether this destroys auras and equipment attached to your target.

Griptide is a pretty solid reprint here. Look at the grip the thing in the tide has on Captain Hook!

Happy Thoughts is simple, useful, and flavorful. Good stuff.

Heroes' Reunion seems fine as a common, given the right Limited environment. It works nicely for this art.

Flavor-wise, I wish outsmart protected smaller creatures from larger ones, but with this wording that would produce too many Fog Banks. A creature keyword that does nothing on creatures with toughness equal to or greater than their power except when double-blocked seems quite limited. Would probably be better off unkeyworded on a single card or vertical cycle.

Pixie Duster is a Faerie. I typo'd its type line, but it's funny enough to share rather than fix. Pixie Duster can sprinkle pixie dust on human-sized creatures and make them flying. Very cool.

Traumatized by Crocodiles continues our string crocodile-tribal removal. While it might be the weakest card of the bunch, I think this design has the best flavor.

Untouchable Youth can be blocked by fewer creatures than Ripscale Predator, you just hope you never have to, because it will be a chump-block. Even though outflank is strictly worse than the War Drums ability, the use of indestructible could make it red-green in its block.

Wendy's Charm gives you two tokens like Midnight Haunting, but you get to choose which keyword they get, as well as their color and subtype. This implies a set where, ({G}){U} is at war with ({B}){R}, and apparently {W} is undecided.

The most interesting thing for me in this challenge was seeing how many cards were similar (croco-tribal) and how many were completely different (most of the rest, with a few two-ofs). I think that just means the crocodile ideas was particularly compelling.

Which of these designs inspire interest in a Neverland-themed block for you?


  1. Neverland feels like a very awkward flavor fit for a game that involves wizards summoning powerful warriors and monsters to fight to the death with one another.

    1. I think it'd be best if the current state of Neverland wasn't the focal point. Either it's Neverland being invaded by something, or Neverland being a small part of a larger world (maybe one of the wedges in the wedge block)

    2. Yes! Neverland would make an awesome RUG wedge.

  2. Magic likes to tap into the zeitgeist for inspiration for sets, and the current trend of a revisiting of the classic stories makes a Fairy Tale inspired world a fairly good possibility in the next few years. Think of the popularity of public domain fairy tales meets the modern world in shows like Once upon a Time or a comic like Fables. That said, Magic doesn't do straight copies of classic stories anymore so it would have it's own Magic-y take on it. And it would also have to be darker (Like the forthcoming Maleficent or Wicked). I mean, a Magic take on the classics would also need to do away with the incredibly dated racial and gendered themes present in so many of these stories, just see the recent news about casting in Joe Wright's Peter Pan.

    Honestly, I think a Fairy Tale world beset by wicked villains would be a go to setting for a top down design right now.

    1. I'm dubious. Fables (the comic) runs on iconic individual characters, but the rest of the world(s) are quite flimsy and generic. Unlike gothic horror, fairy tales don't have a large supply of mythological creatures that make sense for populating the card file at common. I haven't the foggiest ideas what a white 2/2 flyer or red 4/1 looks like in fairy tale world.

    2. White 2/2 flyer = spirit or bird
      Red 4/1 = Redcap / goblin

      My concern is that Lorwyn came pretty close to being Magic's fairy tale world, and apparently not a lot of the fans loved that (—I did).


  3. Happy Thoughts was my favorite design this week, although it didn't quite match the art of we had to work with. Actually, the art was tricky for most of us, since it had so much going on.

    I am most surprised by all the reprints suggested for this week's challenge.

    Speaking of which, another reprint I thought might work for the Pan and Wendy section of the Art was Time of Need. I can imagine a Neverland inspired set is going to have a fair number of legendary creatures.

    Kudos to everyone who submitted flavor text. It was pretty good!