Thursday, October 9, 2014

CCDD 100914—Call to Battle

Cool Card Design of the Day
10/9/2014 - Call to Battle is meant to be another stab at the bottom-dollar haste-granting spell. This implementation tries to run double-duty as a red mana ritual. Take a look.

The good news is, granting haste is very red, mana rituals are very red, and Call to Battle is quite playable in the right deck. I'm particularly fond of the way that it doesn't net you any mana, but still manages to get you slightly ahead for one turn.

Unfortunately, that's also the reason it might not be red. Red is generally about acting on impulse; both haste and mana rituals are direct expressions of that nature. Despite enabling both of those things, Call to Battle asks you wait a turn to do it. You can totally cast it the same turn as a creature and pop it immediately for the haste, and given the net cost of 0 mana, it's actually pretty good for that. The trouble is that it's even better when you cast this on turn one, and a 3-drop on turn three.

It's not a huge imposition on the color pie, it's not, but it isn't exactly ideal. You could argue Generator Servant has the same bleed—and it does—though I'll offer that the elemental flavor of that card and somehow its creature-ness mitigate that surprisingly well.

We can ditch that slightly more strategic second mode by making it a sorcery:

I traded producing a haste-infused mana for a free cost since it takes less text and it makes the card's purpose more apparent.

This is a lot less exciting to me, surely in no small part because it's much less powerful. It also compares more directly to Crimson Wisps—would you rather have your card back or your mana? Card? Yeah, me too.

Of course the only reason this is tricky is that I'm trying to hedge on the minimum possible haste spell. If I give up on the 'cheap' part, the end result is pretty satisfying:


  1. I like the Generator Servant inspired version, but I'm not sure it needs to give up all the early game potential. Sorcery speed Pyretic Ritual?

  2. The last version has subtle potential for confusion if you spend it on more than one creature spell. Two Signal Pest and two Foundry Street Denizen, all with haste? Don't mind if I do.

    Is that a problem? Maybe not. If it is, you could alternatively say something like "The next creature spell you cast this turn gains haste UEOT."

  3. This gave me a fun idea for a red Dark Ritual variant. There's a lot of room to play around with it.

    Reckless Summoning {R}


    Add {R}{R}{R} to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to cast artifact or creature spells. If that mana is spent on a creature spell, it gains haste and "At the beginning of the end step, sacrifice this." If that mana is spent on an artifact spell, it gains "At the beginning of your upkeep, flip a coin. If you lose the flip, this deals 3 damage to you."