Tuesday, April 1, 2014

CCDD 040114—Aetherwurm

Cool Card Design of the Day
4/1/2014 - I feel like someone posted an idea similar to this simplified version of offering, but the downside of having such a creative community is that it can be hard to go back and find a specific idea from the big pile of great ideas.

The biggest concern I see—apart from whether the cards can be priced so that they are neither unappealing nor broken—is how cost reduction really works. If I bounce a Watchwolf, Aetherwurm will cost {3}{G} but because of cards like Ragemonger, some players might think it costs {4}{G}. That can be cleared up by reminder text, but its weird to put reminder text in reminder text.

Assuming its printable, aetherswap would likely shine best in a set with more large creatures than usual, as well as a generous helping of ETB/LTB triggers. Auras would be more fragile, especially offensive ones, so we'd want fewer of those (but the ones we keep could be stronger).

RIFF CHALLENGE: Design a common with aetherswap as different as possible from previous submissions.

^^ Trying something new. If you want to explore this idea you can. We'll discuss, but expect no mocks or formal review.


  1. Mindmuncher 2B
    Creature-Zombie (C)
    B, Discard a creature card: Regenerate CARDNAME.

  2. I like this, but don't think this ability is common. This is uncommon.

    The idea of the mechanic, as a common mechanic, is to smooth mana. I like that: you don't get your lands, but your creatures can upgrade into another creature.

    The easiest templating solutions are just adding "Mana costs include color".

    Alternatively, you put this ability on the small creatures so you can upgrade them and just put their mana cost into the template.

    Upgrader 2G
    Aetherupgrade (When you cast a creature card, you may reduce its mana cost by 2G. If you do, return this creature to its owner's hand.)

    Perhaps Convoke has a solution to help make it NWO?

    1. There's definitely something to the idea of putting the ability on the small creatures to enable later creatures. The problem with Aetherupgrade is that you only need a single copy to use it repeatedly, every other turn, powering out different fatties each time. This method also takes away the opportunity to bounce a creature of your choosing, allowing you to get extra value from your ETB effects.

    2. Very good points. You'd need it to be a sacrifice effect.

      The big fatty bouncing something small works better: Spikes love it because they get efficiency, Johnny loves it because of etb and ltb effects, and Timmy loves it because he gets his big fatty out.

      I think the version you have is fine – just not for common. I see no problem with it being an uncommon keyword.

      It does need a better name though. I can imagine it being flavoured for Phyrexia (it'd be like an Alien facehugger thing, but that'd have to kill the creature). What kind of flavour could we give it, that makes it feel more special than 'common'?

    3. Just remembered Grinning Ignus. So this has been done.

      What's your objection to aetherswap being common. Power? Comprehension complexity?

    4. I think it can be common, in some variation, like ninjutsu was.

    5. Comprehension complexity. I think a player could show it to someone and they'd get it, but I think new players wouldn't get how it works and it would be off-putting. I thought Bestow was fine, and it was too much for NWO. This requires maths specifically related to how mana costs work. It's less clear.

  3. Is Aetherswap that much worse if it sacs the creature instead? For some reason returning to hand sets off alarm bells; namely two identical aetherswap creatures.

    1. This is my biggest worry about it too. That's a really easy way to get infinite ETB/LTB triggers.

  4. Aethersale (You may return a creature you control to its owner's hand as you cast this. If you do, reduce this card's mana cost by the color in that creature's cost.)

    This is definitely not the right wording, but the idea is that this version works like Ragemonger or Edgewalker: it only reduces colored mana. This makes it a little less breakable developmentally while hopefully keeping it exciting. Thoughts?

    1. Then we could make Aethersale creatures only with colorless mana in their mana cost to avoid Tigt's infinite loop.

      Aetherhawk 2UU
      Aethersale (You may return a creature you control to its owner's hand as you cast this. For each colored mana symbol in that card's mana cost, ignore one matching symbol in this card's cost.)

      I realized half-way through that reducing the colored cost normally doesn't help clarify at all, because players still won't know a {B} can reduce a {1}. If we swap it to only caring about colorless, though:

      Aethersale (You may return a creature you control to its owner's hand as you cast this. If you do, reduce this card's mana cost by the generic mana in that creature's mana cost.)

      Both of which are less dangerous mechanics, but lose a lot of elegance and flavor with that weird restriction.

    2. I like reducing just the colorless mana to avoid loops and still make it a useful ability on fatties.

      Alternative template:
      AEtherswap(You may return a creature you control to its owner's hand while casting this spell to reduce its cost by X, where X is that creature's converted mana cost.)

  5. Offering's Oracle text, for reference:

    [Type] offering (You may cast this card any time you could cast an instant by sacrificing a [type] and paying the difference in mana costs between this and the sacrificed [type]. Mana cost includes color.)

    This seems a better template:
    Aetherswap (You may cast this card by returning a creature you control to its owner's hand and paying the difference in mana costs between this and the returned card. Mana cost includes color.)

  6. Riffing on the idea of bounce a guy to get a fattie. I wouldn't put this on more than one or two cards though.

    AEther Entity 2G
    Creature - Elemental
    When ~ enters the battlefield, you may return a creature you control to its owner's hand. If you do, put a number of +1/+1 counters on ~ equal to that creature's power.

  7. How about "you may cast this for its aetherswap cost if you return a creature you control to its owner's hand"?

  8. Marshmist Titan has a more common friendly template to borrow:

    AEtherswap - NAME costs X less to cast, where X is the mana cost of target creature you control. When NAME enters the battlefield, return that creature to its owner's hand. (Mana cost includes color.)

    1. I also like a straight up activated ability for this.

      Aetherwurm 4GG
      Creature - Wurm
      1G, Return a green creature you control with converted mana cost 4 or greater to its owner's hand: Put Aetherwurm onto the battlefield tapped.

  9. Obviously you want to put Aetherswap cards in a deck with a lot of ETB triggers, but it's weird that the card that gets bounced is *not* the card with Aetherswap on it.

    1. Is it weird that the ninjas have ninjitsu instead of the attackers they replace?