Tuesday, October 7, 2014

CCDD 101714—Prototype & Blueprint

Cool Card Design of the Day
10/7/2014 - Two alternative keywords for a single idea. They could go on colored permanents, but make more thematic sense on artifacts and are more relevant on colorless cards. Basically the opposite of invent.

Both are very much downside mechanics. Prototype risks whether your opponent is running certain cards in her deck, while blueprint merely asks you to be careful when you play it. Neither is exciting, since they're disadvantages (except in 2HG), though that could afford undercosted cards (which I did a bad job taking advantage of with these examples). The real question then, since we can gather interest via overpowered cards, is whether the presence of this mechanic in Limited or in Constructed is actually interesting/fun. I suspect not, but I share to start the conversation anyhow.

This card came from the idea of flipping this mechanic on its ear. Too cool not to share:


  1. Strictly Vorthos Comment:

    For Juggernaut Blueprint:

    Make it an artifact that you T, sac CARDNAME: put a 5/3 artifact creature onto the battlefield with "must attack each turn if able"?

    That way it feels like you are using the blueprint to create a dude.

    1. You could also make it flipcards, as it is first just an artifact, and then a creature.

  2. These sure do read like downside mechanics, but I wonder if they can be reworked to look more like symmetrical-effect cards, like Heartbeat of Spring or Howling Mine:

    Golem Blueprints 2
    At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player may pay 4. If he or she does, that player puts a 3/3 Golem Artifact Creature token onto the battlefield.

    Making different tokens for each Blueprint Card could lead to a lot of bookkeeping, in which case tokens that you sacrifice at end of turn might work better.

    1. Communal Killbot {1}
      Artifact Creature (rare)
      At the beginning of each player's upkeep, he or she may pay {X}. If X is greater than the number of +1/+1 counters on ~, that player gains control of ~ and puts +1/+1 counters on it until there are X.

  3. The second version is playing into the same design space as the Rhystic mechanic, which is not a great pedigree.

    The first creates really odd metagame things in constructed that I don't think sound fun, and envisioning the limited experience isn't thrilling me either.

    I could certainly see something like:

    Prototype Golem 4
    Creature - Construct (M)

    When ~ enters the battlefield you get an emblem with "4: Put a 3/3 artifact construct token onto the battlefield."


    (Yes I know they don't currently use emblems for non-planeswalkers, but I think this is horribly inelegant if you don't.)

  4. By and large, people don't put cards in their deck for the purpose of letting their opponents do stuff. Giving your opponent a choice between two bad options is feasible (though not great; Tribute was pretty poorly received, if I remember correctly) but giving them any options that are actually better than yours seems completely undesirable.

    1. Exactly. It is renown that players, by large, don't like giving opponents stuff or similar with their own cards. I feel this type of mechanic has no place in modern Magic, not as named mechanic.
      I could envision it on some small number of cool rare/mythics.
      I like more the second card (not on a common for me).

    2. Making one really good rare/mythic card with something like unkeyworded prototype might actually be interesting. When do you put it in your deck? When do you play it?

      We can also flip this disadvantage upside down:
      Industrial Spy {2}{U}
      Creature-Rogue (rare)
      Whenever an opponent casts a spell, if CARDNAME is tapped, you may search your library for a card with the same name and put it into your hand. Shuffle your libary.

    3. I think you should be careful as a game designer whenever your reason for doing something is that it is "interesting."

      As for Industrial Spy, I think it seems fun, but I can't help but think it would be more fun if it keyed off something that other than duplicate cards, like duplicate converted mana costs or power toughness or card type or... Just anyway to make it a little more broadly applicable.

    4. Certainly making any design choice because it's interesting to you as the designer is misinformed. Everything has to be interesting to the players in the final product.

    5. I think one of the most profound things I've learned from Mark Rosewater is that "interesting is overrated."

  5. I don't get the flavor behind the prototype. A protoype is a test object, and if it succeeds it's tests, then the main product is going to released. So it needs the have "if [condition] you may pay [an amount of mana], flip [cardname] or "[pay amount of mana], flip [cardname]. You may only activate this ability if [condition]". Now you have the flavor right with not a bad machanic.