Monday, October 20, 2014

CCDD 102014—Forced Retirement

Cool Card Design of the Day
10/20/2014 - It's awkward that Oblivion Ring and Banishing Light are targeted removal enchantments like Pacifism, but aren't auras, and you don't name your target until after the spell resolves. Here I take a stab at a couple alternate templates for an updated Journey to Nowhere.

Spellweaver Volute isn't a card we want to model new cards after, but it does show that it's not just permanents on the battlefield that can be enchanted.

The hope is that by changing it from "enchant creature" to "enchant creature card," the zone move that changes the target from a creature to a creature card won't make it fall off. The weird part is that because it doesn't specify a zone, you could exile a creature card from someone's graveyard, or perhaps even a hand or top-of-library that is revealed. The power gain of that is minimal, so I'm happy to pay that cost for this gain, particularly since it's entirely lenticular.

But it might not work. It may be that any zone change automatically knocks auras off even if the "enchant characteristic" is still fulfilled. See Animate Dead's latest Oracle wording. While that card's effect is substantially more complex, it's definitely not worth making Forced Retirement an aura if it means we've got write out how it trades "enchant creature" for "enchant creature card exiled by this."

This next possibility definitely requires a new note in the rulebook, and may or may not be worth adding for the 3-5 cards ever it will clean up, but it's at least worth discussing:

The point of Journey to Nowhere over Pacifism and Arrest is to prevent the card from interacting at all. It's static and triggered effects don't happen, and it's not counted by Congregate, etc. Moving a card to the exile zone does that. What if instead of dropping it there and forgetting about it, we created this link that says that's where it is for now, but doesn't forget about it?

You can say this doesn't work, because it definitely definitely does not. The question is whether it should work. And if so, whether it could. There are some limitations because of all the interdependent rules that already exist, but by and large, Magic is completely made up and it's usually just a matter of saying 'yes' to make something possible. I'm thinking this isn't worth it, because it's not entirely clear what's meant by it, even if players will accept that "it works" because "why would they print it otherwise?"

A simpler option:
It's an aura, it targets like an aura, and then when being an aura would break it, it stops. Still a little awkward, but now it's just one line at the back that players can ignore once they trust the card does what it says.

And my final offer, taking a cue from auras that grants protection from themselves, like Spectra Ward:

Might not actually work in the rules. Maybe we can make it make it work. It's certainly the most straightforward solution.

Which do you prefer? Do you have another solution?


  1. Can I suggest that, for future iterations, you number the rendered card "Forced Retirement 3" etc.? That would make it easier to refer to different versions in comments.

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  3. All of these seem more awkward than the existing functionality. The only thing I think could fix it would be a new keyword, and I'm not sure Banishing Light is bad enough, or the design space deep enough, to warrant it.

  4. I like where you're going with this.

  5. Loss of Identity 2W
    Enchantment - Aura
    Enchant nonland permanent
    Enchanted permanent loses all types and abilities.

    (I noticed a throwaway comment on a recent GA post where someone said "Every permanent has to be *some* type". That's not true, as the Neurok Transmuter / Mycosynth Lattice / March of the Machines combo demonstrates: you *can* have permanents sitting there with no permanent types. This card is confusing in a slightly different way to the above, but it's born of a desire to take a similar approach to Darksteel Mutation or indeed Lignify, just not leaving the target being even a creature.

    1. Very succinct. Will players understand that a former creature can't attack or block?

    2. Is a Loss of Identity'd Legend still legendary? Does it invoke the Legend rule with a still-legendary new version of itself? Thankfully with the new legend rule that's not too much of a problem, but I don't intuitively know the answer. (ibid. with planeswalkers.) Interesting space, though.

    3. Yes, Legend rule will kick in. See rules 205.4b and 704.5k.
      To avoid it, you could add "lose its supertypes" or simply "loses its name".

    4. Aren't supertypes and subtypes both subsets of types? #Melvin

    5. No, they're not :-> #BiggerMelvin
      Subtypes are sometimes called types ("creature types" etc), but they don't matter as subtypes disappear when the associated type disappears. Neurok Transmuter making Ensouled Scimitar stop being an artifact will also remove type Equipment from it. But supertypes are not types, at least as far as the Comp Rules are concerned.
      There's an argument to say they should be though... #EvenBiggerMelvin :)