Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CCDD 112514—Kemral's Vengeance

Cool Card Design of the Day
11/25/2014 - It's been a while since I've designed a card from the art down, but my repository is waning and I found this piece and had to do something with it. I imagine it supports a story moment in which a red character named Kemral repays a betrayal from a black-aligned ally, but that's all fluff.


  1. The idea is great, but the template is so gross with the "to a creature that died" clause. Can we at least shave off the "that died"? Even if you just hurt my friend, I think that is plenty of justification for me to go after you.

    Also, isn't this card at least part white?

    Even grosser template:

    Kermal's Vengeance (R/W)(R/W)
    Choose target creature. If R was paid to cast ~, then it deals 3 damage to that creature. If W was paid, and that creature dealt damage this turn, ~ deals 2 damage to it.

    1. Shaving off "that died" reduces the flavor a bit, but it's still flavorful enough that would be fine. Where I don't like it so much is in the ease of triggering it. We could shift the numbers to support it, but it seems so easy it might not be worthwhile.

      There are many effects that can be done by multiple colors. That doesn't require that every card with those effects be all possible colors.

    2. It certainly fits flavorfully in Red, I don't question that. I don't think there is a lot of precedent that it is part of Red mechanically, and though I am all for expanding Red's color pie, I think the absolute last place to do it is in "more flavors of direct damage." Still, this is a minor point, and I think you are philosophically much looser with the color pie than I am.

      I think you overestimate how easy it is to trigger a creature dealing damage to a creature. In most formats, it is rare for two creatures to bounce off each other, one nearly always dies, in which case the "that died" is redundant. I do think KTK is an exception to this, which a plethora of low power high toughness creatures, but I think it is very easy to simply print this card in a normal block where that isn't the case.

      Also, if a card causes people to deliberately play more "walls" so they can trigger the upside by that kind of "cheating", I think that is a game design win.

    3. I'm quite eager to find new mechanics that are variations of existing color staples. Red will always have burn, and we'd be sad if it didn't, but varying up how red's burn works can keep it fresh and interesting.

      I think you're right that I was overestimating the difference between your creature being damaged and dying.

  2. I don't mind the 'that died' rider by itself. For me, the real question is what effect it has on gameplay. This card can always kill small creatures, nothing new there. There are a few ways I can think of that it can be used to kill big creatures:
    1-Your opponent flashes in a big creature to eat an attacker
    2-You chump-block a big creature
    3-You chump-attack into a big creature

    Scenario 1 isn't that common. Scenario 2 will 2-for-1 yourself, but might be needed in a desparate situation. Scenario 3 is interesting, dissuading blocks when you make seemingly bad attacks, which in a Red deck might be all you need to get through the last points of damage before you burn them out. I like this aspect of the card a lot. You still have to 2-for-1 yourself, but it's real value is just in existing so that you can bluff through damage.

    The problem, though, is that even without the damage boost, the 3 damage mode is still usually enough to take out a big creature (e.g., chump blocking a 5/5 with a 2/1). It could potentially be more interesting with a wider spread between the two numbers, something like:
    ~ deals 1 damage to target creature. If that creature dealt damage this turn to a creature that died, ~ deals 5 damage instead.

    1. Agree. I think a better rider would be "and three damage to that creature's controller" instead of "5 damage instead".

    2. Perhaps better still, removing the lesser mode entirely:

      ~ deals 5 damage to target creature that dealt damage to a creature you control this turn.

    3. That was my original instinct when I saw the card, but that now basically says "destroy target creature that dealt damage to a creature you control this turn" in Red. The fact that it is 5 damage will so rarely be relevant, it might as well be 50. Of course, they have done this occasionally, e.g. Blasphemous Act and Into the Maw of Hell, but I'm a huge fan of burn spells that are carefully tuned to the format so the exact number is highly relevant.

      "You or a creature you control" or simply "dealt damage this turn" would ease things considerably in this regard, and let us move the number down from 5 to 4 or 3 which is a lot more workable in most formats.

    4. Of course "you or a creature you control" I think makes the card mono-White.

      It was really only the option to punch first that was justifying it in Red to me, I think. Notably, "Revenge" isn't a very White theme, but there is ample justification for this kind of effect in Black with cards like No Mercy.

      I like cludgy Rebuke variants best in White, but there is certainly room to share, and as a one off for story reasons I'm sure it can work in Red.

    5. "Revenge" may not be white, but "Vengeance" is...