Tuesday, September 23, 2014

CCDD 092314—Setessan Stalwart & Lady of Fangs and Arrows

Cool Card Design of the Day
9/23/2014 - I liked the heroic mechanic from Theros a lot. There's so much right with it. I would never go back and change it. Even so, I was thinking about other mechanical possibilities to express the same thematic concept. If I wouldn't replace heroic, why would I bother thinking of mechanics to replace it? Because designers are explorers, and explorers don't stop exploring just because they've found Atlantis.

With heroic, auras and other spells show the favor of the gods, and that attention inspires heroes accomplish great feats. In most cases, just growing as a person / warrior, but in others, firing off useful spell effects from the incremental scry 1 up to the terrifying Cruel Edict.

Here, we're still relying on auras to show the favor of the gods, but we're not shoe-horning instants and sorceries into that metaphor anymore, and thus make it clear that a hero can reach her potential without divine intervention—basically the moral of Theros block.

As with heroic, these heroes can gain abilities or trigger effects. Unlike heroic, we can have indefinite abilities granted to correspond with the duration of whatever boost they're enjoying. The downside is that we can't enjoy power and toughness bonuses. I mean, we could, but it would be confusing when you disenchant my hero and it keeps its bonus because that bonus meets its own threshold.

Many of you will recognize this mechanic from Bloodshot Trainee, and there's a very strong argument for simplifying my condition to check just power (or just toughness). Checking both makes a bit more intuitive and thematic sense, but I don't think it's worth the cost of making the ability (which would want to be an ability word if it were to replace heroic, in some theoretical, likely-inferior Theros) less elegant as seen here.


  1. maybe it's just me, but shouldn't you change the text to "if [cardname]'s power and toughtness is 4 or greater"? I think people will understand that better.

    I would use the keyword: "empower", but i'm really bad at naming things.

    Furthermore I like the desing. You could really make a set with this as one of it's themes

    1. That template reads better, but is ambiguous: "I'm totalling my power and toughness, right?"

    2. "if [cardname]'s power and toughtness are both 4 or greater"?

      Btw, I don't think its a good idea to need to have both. Red cards tend to have more boost for power, almost none for toughness. Desining reds cards will be a pain in the ass

    3. That's a better template.

      That's a good point, but raises the issue that white is better at raising toughness than power, and that blue is bad at raising either.

  2. "I mean, we could, but it would be confusing when you disenchant my hero and it keeps its bonus because that bonus meets its own threshold." - That certainly would be confusing, since it's not actually what would happen. The layers system is evaluated "from the ground up" each moment, so disenchanting the Oakenform would remove the bonus on a hypothetical 2/2 with "As long as ~'s power and toughness are both greater than 4, ~ has +3/+3". But many players would be confused about whether or not that happens, which is just as much of a reason to avoid printing those.

    A workable alternative (though perhaps not suitable for common) would be
    "Whenever ~ deals combat damage to a creature or player, if its power and toughness are both 4 or greater, it deals 2 damage to that creature or player."
    and separately
    "As long as ~'s power and toughness are both 4 or greater, prevent the first 2 [combat] damage that would be dealt to it each turn."