Monday, June 1, 2015

CCDD 060115—Unfeeling

Cool Card Design of the Day
6/1/2015 - Spawn tokens helped players cast Eldrazi when they rose, but it would be a little boring if they worked the exact same way when we return to see how the battle is raging on Zendikar. One simple way to iterate on them is to make them even better at accelerating your giant monsters.

The two most likely first reactions to affinity for eldrazi that I imagine are "holy crap, affinity's back, let's do some broken things" and "this ability doesn't do anything because eldrazi cost a billion each." Naturally, the reality is in between. Spawn have creature type Eldrazi, and are easy to produce in multiples. Affinity for Eldrazi will allow you to cast your big guys for less without popping your spawn, and thus keeping your engine going (and growing even more efficient), or if you do pop your spawn, they'll double your interdimensional demonoid discount.

I like about this execution that it reuses a well-known mechanic in a new way (and a specifically reviled mechanic on a revolting race of villains). What I hate about it is that it's not clear at all that you can sacrifice a spawn to help cast Magalor's Emissary while still benefiting from the affinity discount (and that it's possible to sacrifice them too early to receive that benefit).

Eldrazed gives you no benefit without sacrificing your spawn, but makes it very clear that it works and safeguards against uninformed execution. It's a bit more parasitic since it doesn't count Eldrazi that don't produce mana (currently everything but spawn). It might also confuse players whether it works with Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin, and disappoint them that it does not.

Unfeeling is much simpler and clearer, as well as being more modular than either of the first two executions on this mechanic, allowing colorless mana you generate by sacrificing spawn to count double, as well as the eldrazi lands, and any colorless mana from lands and artifacts you might have.

If we're going with this theme of colorless matters—and the Eldrazi's destruction of a plane has to be one of the best places for such a theme—twobrid seems like a natural fit. It combos quite well with affinity for eldrazi, but would feel kinda silly paired with unfeeling.

But even if colorless does matter, twobrid doesn't have to feature. This Sear Humanity is nearly as interesting and vastly simpler. My money's on unfeeling.


  1. Unfeeling looks pretty incredible. My only concern is that it doesn't feel very 'Eldrazi' in flavor. Functionally, the whole thing works - but it just doesn't have that feeling of an exotic resource, a growing pressure, a looming threat, like the Eldrazi Spawn did.

    1. If you read his explanation: it is supposed to be combined with eldrazi spawns

    2. I know. But that doesn't give the mechanic itself any of the feeling of Eldrazi Spawn - and I'd prefer to dig a little deeper to ensure the 'new Eldrazi mechanic' actually feels like it belongs on Eldrazi, you know?

    3. The appeal for me, apart from the purpose it serves mechanically, is exploring what it means that the Eldrazi are colorless. How did they become colorless? Do they have an affinity with colorless mana? Do they dislike colored mana / magic, or are they just oblivious to it? Does it tie into how they destroy a plane? Leaving a plane colorless (and the implications behind that) is far more interesting than simply consuming it.

  2. The affinity version of seer humanity is kind of awkward, because you choose targets before you pay costs, so even if you're casting it for colorless, you can't target a pro-red creature.

    1. Nice catch! There's wording around it, but it's probably even more awkward.

  3. I like the idea of using affinity on Eldrazi, but it kinda requires you to also use spawn, and it feels weird to have two different Eldrazi mechanics that do basically the same thing. Is a mechanic parasitic if it only works with a specific other mechanic?

  4. Cool! I'm lukewarm about affinity on eldrazi -- I agree with the reasons you suggested it, but there seem to be lots of problems.

    But I'm really interested in "unfeeling". It's a way to make colourless matter significantly but that's less all or nothing than having a mana symbol for "needs a colourless mana". However, it feels more at home on artifacts than eldrazi to me -- maybe it should be in Tesla not BfZ?

    1. It could go on artifacts, but it's a cost reduction mechanic so we want it on big, expensive spells. Does Tesla need a bunch of big artifacts? (I do think that's one very simple way to express technological progress, actually.)

      I personally love the flavor that colorless mana is stronger in a world being stripped of its color by alien entities, but I totally get that flavor's not universally compelling.

  5. One of the mechanics I came up with but forgot to post to the last major Zeffrikar piece was Moonburst:

    Moonburst (~ etb with a charge counter on it for each colorless mana used to pay for it)
    At the beginning of your upkeep, ~ deals 1 damage to target creature or player for each charge counter on it.

    I thought it might make a neat colorless-matters mechanic.

    As an Eldrazi:
    Eldrazi - Common
    Moonburst (~ etb with a +1/+1 counter on it for each colorless mana used to pay for it)