Friday, November 7, 2014

Weekend Art Challenge 110714—Code Geass

Weekend Art Challenge
Greetings, artisans! Click through to see this weekend's art and the design requirements for your single card submission, due Monday morning. Every submission warrants feedback, and everyone is encouraged to give feedback. You may use that feedback to revise your submission any number of times, though only the version rendered will be included in the review, if someone volunteers to render the cards.

We're returning to Code Geass one more time to help explore a mechanical identity for the set's other main faction. Choose one of these pieces of art and design a keyword ability or ability word for the Britannian Faction, and a common creature card using it.
In the world of Code Geass, the Britannians are the dominant world power who've conquered most of the world, and hold territories in vicious subjugation. They have a great concern for class and hierarchy. They have a well organised military, but suffer from excessive internal politics, entitlement, arrogance, and racism, especially towards the conquered natives. The creature cards in the set for Britannians will represent a mix of soldiers and/or aristocrats. The faction is based in black and in white, so their mechanic should fit both colors.


  1. And just to reiterate, because this dissuaded some people last time: submissions are encouraged from all readers of this blog – even if you haven't seen the series, even if you hate anime. The challenge is simply to design a mechanic for the faction described above with one of those pieces of art, and a common creature using it.

  2. Some random brainstorming...

    Devoted Soldiers {W}
    Art: C-3
    Creature - Human Soldier (C)
    Loyalty (Whenever another creature you control would die, you may sacrifice this creature instead.)
    "Britannia gave us our livelihoods, so it only makes sense that we'd pay Britannia with our lives."

    I was thinking of how to represent 'laying your life down for your country', and I came up with a 'totem armor for weenies'.


    War Hero {3}{B}
    Art: B-2
    Creature - Human Soldier
    Hierarchy (You may cast this card by sacrificing a creature and paying the difference in mana costs between this and the sacrificed creature. Mana cost includes color.)
    "I did what it took to survive. I am no hero. I am just a soldier who lived where others could not."

    At first this was gonna have a flavor of 'promotion', but the sacrifice didn't feel right, and I didn't want to exile the creature. So I instead made it a flavor of 'Pyrrhic victory'; trade some of your weaker guys in order to have the political sway to get higher-ranked soldiers. Of course, my intuition that it wasn't a good implementation of 'promotion' might have been wrong; what do you guys think?


    And lastly...

    Invasion Vnaguard {3}{W}
    Creature - Human Soldier (C)
    Conquest - Whenever a creature an opponent controls dies,you may put a 1/1 white Soldier creature onto the battlefield.

    I was trying to capture the flavor of oppression and subjugation and dominance - and I noticed that both white and black get the most 'destroy' out of any color. Furthermore, they're very combat-oriented colors. So, I thought that this ability would make sense. My only worry is that it might trigger a bit too often, but the existence of Eternal Thirst makes me think it's probably okay.

    The effect itself I'm wary of. Making 1/1s whenever you take down an opponent's creature is about as small as you can get, but I'm still worried that if your 1/1 takes down their */1, and you get another 1/1... in addition, those 1/1s can double-block with something else for essentially free. Am I worrying too much?

    1. Thanks for the big brainstorm!

      Loyalty I like, as a mechanic for a few small creatures in white. But I don't think it's going to work in black (not known for selflessness), or on large creatures (how often will you choose to use it?), or on rares... apart from perhaps one or two that can come back from the dead or do something when they die... Hmm, maybe I'm talking myself into it as I write... :)

      Hierarchy I don't think feels either like promotion or political sway, so much as blood sacrifice. Maybe that's only a problem to people who've played with Goblin Offering as on Patron of the Akki etc... but I'm not so sure. I could try to push the promotion flavour hard through flavour text, rules inserts and so on, but I fear I'd be fighting human nature. People still refer to planeswalkers dying even though in flavour terms they're meant to be just getting fed up and 'walking away. There's also a risk of feel-bad moments with any mechanic that's inherently card disadvantage.

      Conquest is my favourite of the three mechanics here. White and black do have a lot of kill spells, so it feels natural for them to care about opponents' stuff dying. I agree the particular effect on this card probably shouldn't be common, but I'm sure there are some that can be.

    2. I really like Loyalty in theory, though it probably makes sense to reflavor it for black - black loves its expendable foot soldiers though. Think Thrulls, zombies, etc. Bigger dudes and rares could have death triggers.

      Gameplay-wise, I'm not sure it's much fun to face up against an army of small Loyal guys + one unkillable big guy.

      I'm not sure you can really make commons strong enough to justify using Hierarchy on them without making them Eldrazi-sized, which feels very out of place in an all-humans world.

      Conquest is fine, but I don't see white in this mechanic. In terms of what types of removal each color has access to, the Jund colors are the ones that exclusively use "destroy" effects.

    3. AlexC: Any time your Loyalty creature is outclassed by another of your creatures on the board, Loyalty comes into play. So for instance, you have a 4/4 with Loyalty - not often that you want to lose that, right? But if your 5/4 is about to die, then you can drop your Loyal 4/4. Yeah, that comes up less than a Loyal 1/1's irrelevancy, but it's just extra options, which is never a bad thing. I was also thinking they could sometimes have death triggers as well.

      Also, with Hierarchy, I see that it might look like 'blood magic', but I think a strong enough flavor will overwhelm it for most new players, and unified art / flavor text / reminder cards will go a long way towards that. Jenesis, I do see the Eldrazi problem, but I think that larger commons than usual in white/black might help push the feeling of the Britannians being the 'superior' faction, because they have the highest-CMC dudes.

      Jenesis, I think that at common and with relevancy in mind, 'destruction' is very white/black. Black destroys creatures, white destroys attacking/blocking/large/small creatures. Red and green (at common) destroy artifacts, enchantments, and lands - but those are rarely worth playing in Limited. Therefore, the most 'relevant' destruction at common is usually white/black.

      Of course, the mechanic itself measures creatures that die, not only by destruction; and I still think white/black fit well for this. Black because... well, that should be obvious. I put white because white is generally the 'superior combat' color, with first strike and creatures that generally survive combat or block profitably; and it also gets, as mentioned, lots of powerful and important creature-destruction at common. Put together, I think that means white makes a lot of sense. Flavorfully, Conquest - and subjugating peoples - is totally white/black. It's an army imposing laws for the profit of their own country at the expense of the colonies. That's brutally white/black to the core.

    4. Invasion Vanguard could never be common. Repeatable token generation just isn't a common effect, and this can easily make 2+ tokens, and sometimes much more than that.

      Here are some other good checks for commons: Imagine having two of them in play. Imagine if both you and your opponent have one. These situations are highly undesirable.

      These considerations convince me the card shouldn't even be uncommon, though probably it would want a different body (Evil Requiem Angel).

      I think this illustrates the biggest problem I see with Conquest, which is that to get it on commons the abilities have to be small (smaller than a 1/1 Soldier) and they have to be relevant if they happen in combat, not under your control (so not, for example, tapping).

      That puts us in a pretty narrow space at common:

      Conquest: Gain one life (W)
      Conquest: Opponent loses a life (B)
      Conquest: Untap this creature (W)
      Conquest: Mill yourself (B)

      I think the space you're playing in with Conquest is good, but I think you haven't hit the right space yet. Perhaps Conquest belongs primarily on instants/sorceries, so that you can cast them postcombat? This mechanic would work better in a game like Hearthstone where combat is sequential instead of simultaneous, as the Magic timing system really ties your hands here.

      Another possibility is that it should only trigger EOT so that instead of getting multiple triggers you only get one per turn (which would allow much nicer effects, though still quite limited at common).

    5. Conquest: Put a +1/+1 counter on this creature (W)
      Conquest: Destroy target enchantment (W)
      Conquest: Unattach an equipment (W)

      It'd also help if there was a keyword action like "scry 1" in the set.

      That might be enough for common. (A bit focused on white though.) There are plenty more options at uncommon or higher: make a token (W), opponent discards a card (B), creature gets -1/-1 (B), draw-a-card-and-lose-a-life (B), return a creature card to hand (B), return a small dead creature to battlefield (W).

      EOT triggers is certainly another possibility. At that point it's playing rather close to Morbid. (Deathreap Ritual and Reaper from the Abyss appear to be what I'm thinking of there.)

    6. I don't believe the things you suggested can be at common. Algae Gharial and friends are super board warping, they are uncommon. I think an EOT trrigger could work with the +1/+1 counters.

      Repeatable enchantment destruction is also not something I want to see on common creatures. That is the most insidious kind of card advantage.

      Detaching equipment is probably too complicated ruleswise because it can debuff a creature's toughness after it has taken combat damage, effectively killing it. WOTC (rightly) tries to avoid this kind of rules technicality that even experienced players (myself included) often miss.

      I think you underrate how oppressive make a token would be at uncommon (particularly if there are multiples spread around the table). -1/-1 is, in my mind, right out because it triggers itself, so you can wipe your opponents whole board of 1 toughness creatures in one trigger, while also mounting a ton of Conquest triggers.

      Draw a card lose a life is possibly reasonable, but comapre to Deathreap Ritual to see what the mana cost would probably have to be (very high).

      Return a creature card to your hand is too card-advantage-y to do repeatedly, I expect. Note that even Gravedigger, which does it once, is uncommon now and costs 4 mana.

      Returning a small dead creature to the battlefield at least has a bit of a limit, but still seems pretty oppressive to repeatedly do at uncommon.

      Costed correctly, I think if it triggers for every creature your opponent controls dying, I think it is going to have the undying problem where the cards look awful (and are, for the most part, awful, but will be disgusting in the right matchups). Remember how oppressive Falkenrath Noble was.

      I definitely agree that EOT makes it look like Morbid (I thought I mentioned this in my post, but see I did not).

      I think the space is great, but I think the "trigger every time an opponent's creature dies" is unviable developmentally.

  3. Art B2

    Elite Squadman WB
    Creature - Human Soldier (C)

    Superiority -- Whenever ~ attacks, if no non-Soldier creatures are attacking, ~ gains lifelink until the end of the turn.


    The last clause can vary from one card to the next. I imagine using a small defender subtheme among the aristocrats so as to not cause too much dis-synergy with Superiority.

    1. This is like a less fun version of tribal, to be honest. Tribal rewards you for sticking to a creature type; this punishes you for not sticking to a creature type. While it may seem like they come out to the same result ("play lots of soldiers!") the psychological impact of that result is extremely difficult.

    2. I think of this more as like a weird exalted where you can get the bonus and still attack with more than one creature. You're not punished for playing non-soldiers, you can have as many non-soldiers as you like, you just don't get the bonus if you attack with them. I do picture there would be a high density of soldiers, a la warriors in Khans.

      Also, feeling a bit punished for having non-soldiers around seems appropriate for the description of the clan.

    3. Though the flavor may not be fun, the gameplay always should be. Even New Phyrexia, in its attempts to capture a sense of 'invasion' and 'violation', was very careful to not use unfun mechanics.

    4. I don't think this is a great mechanic, for sure.

      I certainly don't get the claim that it is unfun though. Was it unfun when you had Exalted creatures and sometimes you wanted to attack with two creatures? Certainly you were punished for doing so, but I don't think in an unfun way.

      You have total control over whether you get the bonus or not. You do realize it rewards you for only attacking with soldiers, right? Not for only having soldiers.

  4. Needs better reminder text:

    Formation Adherent 1W
    Creature-Human Soldier (C)
    Lockstep (If ~ would be destroyed while you control another tapped creature and no untapped creatures, regenerate it.)

    1. I like Frontline Medic (except for the development part) but I don't love the idea of having to play against a whole mechanic of Frontline Medics. Having creatures attacking you taht you can't do anything about is one of the most aggravating experiences in Magic. I think even just facing down a curve of one of these on turn 2 into one on turn 3 would be annoying.

      I also worry the design space of this mechanic is incredibly narrow, because changing the power/toughness doesn't really change how the card plays at all, and you can't really put evasion on it.

      I like the idea of getting a reward for having all your creatures tapped, I just think this isn't quite the right reward.

    2. I agree that rewarding you for all-tapped-out seems fun, and that's definitely the most interesting part of the mechanic. I think it'd be as simple as this:

      Lockstep - As long as all creatures you control are tapped,

      Of course, that has a problem - not a lot of abilities you acquire after being tapped-out matter, unless they're attacking. So we could do two different variations:

      Lockstep A - As long as all creatures you control are attacking,

      Worse Battalion, in other words. Or...

      Lockstep B - Whenever all creatures you control untap together,

      That one is more interesting, because it grants the bonus when they're refreshed and ready to be used again. For example, you could upgrade a creature's tap ability, or grant them a new ability for that combat, or just have a small spell effect (a la Inspired) trigger. The nice part is that, since the condition is a bit tricky to meet, you can dole out some very nice rewards for it.

    3. "As long as all creatures you control are attacking" definitely isn't strictly worse than Battalion. You can trigger this with two or even one creatures.

      But "Whenever all creatures you control untap together" is a jolly interesting line. It does have a couple of strikes against it: it's immensely anti-synergistic with vigilance, and it discourages casting fresh creatures. I guess that might be part of what you were meaning by "a bit tricky to meet".

  5. [A-1]
    Incursion Force (COM) 4W
    Creature - Human Soldier 2/4
    Subjugate (You may pair this creature with another unpaired creature an opponent controls when either enters the battlefield. They remain paired for as long as both are on the battlefield.)
    Whenever a creature paired with Incursion Force deals combat damage, you gain that much life.

    1. Why not "The creature paired with Incursion Force has lifelink."?

    2. That wouldn't work! The idea is that this card puts Spirit Link on an opposing creature, not lifelink! That's why this is costed for the ability to be a bonus, not a penalty :)

    3. I actually really like this card, though I wonder if it would make more sense for it to be "Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt by the creature paired with Incursion Force." to avoid the weird thing that happens when a 3 power creature paired with this hits you while you are at 2 life. (And also to avoid the very weird flavor of that creature blocking one of your creatures and you gaining life.)

      I'm not sure I believe this is a great mechanic to restrict to a two color faction. I think every color has effects it would want to use with Subjugate, but most colors don't have many effects they would want.

      In particular, Black will be a problem, because -X/-X is immediately out (else you could machine gun every low toughness creature your opponent plays), though we can do stuff like -2/-0 and "can't block".

      More broadly, I think this is a "spice" mechanic that wants to be spread out like Tribute, rather than one that particularly benefits from being concentrated.

      Still, all that said, I really like the mechanic!

    4. I like this reverse soulbound idea. It seems particularly frustration paired with any sort of blink mechanic.

    5. This is interesting, but really weird. One major problem is that keeping track of soulbond was easy - you just put the two creatures next to each other. Keeping track of subjugate will be much harder... you have to coordinate with your opponent to keep both of your creatures together, and your opponent might not be inclined to help out.

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  7. Britannian Beachstormers [A-1]
    Creature - Human Soldier - Common
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, put a sabotage counter on target land you don't control.
    Undermine - Whenever a sabotaged permanent you don't control untaps, its controller loses 1 life.

    1. Intriguing. Presumably the idea is that different cards will provide ways to put sabotage counters on assorted different opposing things (presumably mostly oneoffs at common), and then they all trigger each other's Undermine abilities whenever those things untap?

    2. Exactly. I envisioned the triggers being small at low rarities (gaining 1 life for white commons and losing 1 life for black commons, perhaps?) and bigger at larger rarities (sacrifice the sabotaged permanent when it untaps, sabotaged permanents get -1/-1, you get a 1/1 whenever a sabotaged permanent untaps, etc.)

      As an aside, I chose "untaps" rather than "taps" so they all usually trigger at the same time, which hopefully will help with memory and reduce complexity. It also works with the flavor - the sabotage makes it harder/costlier to get something to start working again.

    3. This is a lot of text for a common, and using the mechanic requires putting that level of text on a bunch of commons, which is worrying.

      I'm also not sure I see Sabotaging things as a white mechanic.

      This is interesting space, but I think it needs a slicker execution to see print.

    4. I confess I am actually thinking of converting it into a mechanic for t he set's other faction the Black Knights instead :) They do rather more sabotaging things in the series than the Britannians, who prefer open up-front warfare. Perhaps a red-blue mechanic.

      The reasoning for triggering off untapping is clever and sensible.

    5. This is interesting, but it doesn't feel very white, and it feels like there's gonna be a lot of text and complexity.

  8. Reeducate the Rebels 3W
    Instant (art B-2)
    Destroy target attacking creature.
    Enlist 1 (Put a 1/1 black and white soldier creature token onto the battlefield.)
    "We take no prisoners. Only recruits."

    Fairly straight forward ability. The number opens it up for rares and mythics. Tacking a 1/1 on to Rebuke justifies the extra mana I believe. This mechanic doesn't feel very B.

    Munitions Officer 4B
    Creature - Human Soldier (art C-3)
    Out Rank 2 (You may redirect up to 2 damage from ~ to any other soldier creatures you control. Activate this ability only once per turn.)

    An attempt to reintroduce the Kor mechanic with a restriction. This may not work wonderfully at common. The idea was to represent a higher rank officer passing down grunt work to his/her lower ranked comrades. "This Lightning bolt feels like a lot of work. Better let those three 1/1's take care of it because I can." The Kor ability may not be the best way to accomplish this feel, but I've always wanted to play around with it.

    1. I agree that Enlist isn't B at all. It'd be W/G if anything.

      Munitions Officer is interesting, but I agree that it doesn't work well at common, especially with the soldiers-only restriction.

  9. C-3

    Patrolling Guards 2W
    Creature - Human Soldier (C)
    Oppress -- W, T: CARDNAME deals 2 damage to target attacking or blocking creature with converted mana cost lower than it.

    Riffing on hierarchy=CMC, natural progression of the game, late game end bosses getting to do much cooler things than early-game grunts. Of course Lelouch in this model would end up with CMC8 or something :P

    1. It's always so frustrating that great mechanics like this face such huge difficulties because of the issues with mentioning CMC at common.

      As mentioned, this is great. I'd love to see more examples. My only concern is that this ability is far too, uhm, oppressive! It's really strong repeatable removal.

    2. Even without the complicated targeted restriction that mentions CMC, there is no way something like this is a common. They don't do Samite Healer / Infantry Veteran / Kithkin Daggerdare / Crossbow Infantry style effects at common anymore because they lead to really complicated board states and in particular they lead to the feelbad moment of falling for on board tricks.

  10. Upper Management
    Summon Annoying Idiots Who Don't Know About the Change in Creature Type Lines (R)
    Any damage dealt to Upper Management is enough to destroy it.

    Damage dealt to you is dealt to Upper Management instead.

    Whenever Upper Management is dealt damage by a creature, it deals 1 damage to that creature.

    Sacrifice a creature: Regenerate Upper Management.

    "We never need fear the blows of our enemies so long as we have our own minions who will take them for us."

  11. Suvnica Ideas/Mechanics:
    Zhavi Prowler 2BB
    Creature - Kitty Assassin
    Restore Order (When ~ enters the battlefield, destroy target creature with the greatest power)
    Zhavi Curser 4WW
    Creature - Kor Wizard
    Restore Order (When ~ enters the battlefield, destroy target creature with the greatest power)
    Zhavi Politician 7WB
    Restore Order
    Whenever you cast a creature spell, target creature you don't control gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
    Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, put a 1/1 creature onto the battlefield.

  12. The way I see it, Zhavi only takes out those powerful enough to threaten the populace. Thus it only uses creatures small enough to not become those threats. While it usually uses systematic assassination, it could also be a weenie creature rush thing to finish off enemies. Which is where black takes a step back and white takes over, silently and tracelessly breaking in and quietly stabbing everything. Or something like that. If you have managed to read through that block of text, pat yourself on the back. I was not on this site when Suvnica was being designed, so my ideas will be being posted one guild per week. I really love the project and wish to see it go forward.
    Thank You!

  13. It's hard to make racism a card that makes sense (not that racism makes sense). Here's my attempt.

    Debrief the Team 1WW
    Sorcery (C)
    Creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn.
    Subjugate--If they all share at least one creature type, they gain lifelink until end of turn.

    Originally, it keyed off opponent's creatures being different from yours, but it was too wordy. Feedback appreciated as always.

    1. "Subjugate" I think is the wrong word. You could call it something else, like "Lineage" or "Purity". I think it's a really nice keyword that works not only as "racism" as it would here, but also for a sort of, "Work together" feel as it can key off classes too. I would think the keyword needs to sound both xenophobic and communal. It's a good one.

    2. Also, this is using the third art.

      Yeah, weird how that works right? It could be inclusive or exclusive. I like Purity better than Subjugate, though that's probably still not the final name.

    3. "Purity" is a good word for both positive and negative connotations. I can definitely see this as a racism mechanic.

    4. It does have the drawback that, if you've managed to draft a deck that's say two-thirds one particular creature type and has several Purity cards in it, you might be discouraged from casting your off-type creatures, for fear of offending your racist creatures/cards.

    5. I think it would be really cool - and maybe this doesn't belong in Magic per se but a different game - to make a mechanic that represents racism or other -isms and have it be subtly detrimental to the players though it seems beneficial. The social justice part of me is actually really excited if it can be pulled off.

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  15. I actually feel "Detain" works quite well as a "Subjugation" feeling mechanic.

    Subjugating Soldier [W]
    Creature — Human Soldier
    Whenever CARDNAME attacks, you may pay 1W. If you do, detain target nonhuman creature defending player controls until the beginning of your next turn.

    Or, to represent the authority or heirarchy of the army:

    General Bigeyes [2W]
    Creature — Human Soldier
    Leadership (When this creature enters the battlefield, put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control with a lower converted mana cost.)

    It would work well with all the tokens that WB will no doubt make, and it's a fun curve thing for aggro players. Plays nicely with white's flickering too.

    The only problem is a keyword referencing "converted mana cost" at common. I'm not sure how much of a NWO problem that would be.

    1. Yeah, detain's pretty solid. My only problem with it is that it's not really a BW keyword.

      Leadership seems really really powerful. Permanent Glorious Anthem for multiple creatures (and probably every token) is way too good.

      T1: Selfless Cathar.
      T2: Raise the Alarm, attack for 1.
      T3: General Bigeyes, attack for 6.
      T4: Anything, attack for 8 (or more if you play another Leadership thing).

      This would probably work better as "get +1/+1 until end of turn."

    2. Hmm, yes, granting +1/+1 UEOT to all creatures seems pretty interesting. Surge of Thoughtweft was an okay card, but coming stapled to several commons sounds good. A little reminiscent of a twist on prowess or exalted, but +1/+1 to the team as a oneoff rather than to one creature repeatedly.

    3. +1/+1 until end of turn is actually a good fix.

    4. Which art for each of these two? I'm guessing B-2 for General Bigeyes; what about Subjugating Soldier?

    5. B-2 for both, I guess? I didn't really pay attention to the images. Anything is fine if you're mocking them up.

    6. UEOT Leadership sounds very interesting.

    7. I agree. Ben's fix works much better.

  16. A couple of different ideas, one for each image:

    Picture 1:
    Invasion Troopers 3R
    Creature - Human Soldier (C)
    Conquest (This spell costs 1 less to cast for each creature you attacked with this turn.)
    Invasion Troopers attacks each turn if able.

    Picture 2:
    Regiment Initiate 2W
    Creature - Human Soldier (C)
    Retribution 1 (If you were dealt damage since your last end step, this creature enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it.)

    Picture 3:
    Armament Technicians 1U
    Creature - Human Artificer (C)
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, put a colorless Equipment artifact token named Weapon onto the battlefield. It has “Equipped creature gets +1/+1” and equip 1.

    1. Heh. Conquest from this post is actually a mechanic that was suggested for the other faction's design challenge here :) That time it was called Overthrow, as I recall. It seems quite hard to balance.

      Retribution I really like. It has the slight drawback of dissuading people from attacking, but it does play into the set's "I predicted your actions and set a trap for you" theme.

      The third submission... is neither W/B nor a keyword or ability word. And I think equipment tokens have a few hurdles to jump to prove they're valuable to a set; a movable +1/+1 counter definitely isn't enough on its own. But the flavour is good, and the mechanic looks like a fair for the set. Perhaps a Faerie Mechanist effect or some such might be better.

    2. Woops I missed the W/B color requirement....
      For the weapon mechanic I was thinking it would be like Eldrazi Spawn in that it is a set mechanic even though it isn't either a keyword or ability word.

      Retribution's inspiration is basically reverse Bloodthirst. I wonder how much the attack dissuasion would pair with Conquest to counterbalance each other.

  17. Britannian Grunts W
    Creature- Human Soldier (Common)
    Organize (As an additional cost to cast this spell, you may tap an untapped creature you control that costs more than this spell.)
    If CARDNAME was organized, it enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it.

    Creatively, going for a sense of hierarchy and leadership. Mechanically, trying to create interesting decisions about how to curve out, and making small creatures less terrible in the late game.

    Art #1

    1. Very interesting idea. Making small creatures less terrible in the late game sounds good, though I'm not sure a 2/2 is that much better than a 1/1. I'm not sure adding tension about how to curve out is a good idea, but maybe playtesting would prove me wrong there.

    2. I really like this! The tension between powering up your small guys and being able to use your big guys is nice. I recommend this mechanic mostly show up on sorcery-speed stuff.

  18. Art c

    Britannian Occupiers 3W
    Creature - Human Soldier (c)
    Reign (As you cast this, you may put a -1/-1 counter on a creature you control. If you do, gain 2 life.)
    As long as you control a creature with a -1/-1 counter on it, Britannian Occupiers has vigilance.

    This isn't the most polished card for Reign (which could just be called "Occupy"?), but hopefully it shows a basic example. Cards can trigger off of threshold-1 "if you control a creature with", or get a bonus "for each creature on the battlefield with a -1/-1", or "sac a creature with a counter on it: bonus". White and black can have different interactions with them; you can tweak it to work for aristocrats or soldiers. These guys are in charge, and as long as there's somebody beneath them, they can operate at full efficiency. It's also available on instants and sorceries.

  19. Hierarch Apprentice 2W
    Creature - Human Soldier (c)
    Hierarchy — Whenever a creature with converted mana cost greater than this creature’s enters the battlefield, you gain 2 life.

    1. Oops, I forgot: its p/t is 2/3 and the art is B-2