Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tesla: Design Challenge 060215—Anticipation


Back in April we began discussing ways to make Tesla play out so as to put players into a state of anticipation. That discussion generated a lot of great iterations on a few mechanics, but I doubt we've fully mapped the design space.

That's where you come in.
Your challenge is to design a card for Tesla that evokes anticipatory gameplay. It can stand alone or feature a new or tweaked core mechanic for the set; the only requirement is that putting your design into a game of Magic will get at least one player emotionally invested in something yet to happen.

You must doing something right because I'm already anxious to see what you create!

140 comments:

  1. Genetic Selection 2GG
    Enchantment (Rare)
    Whenever you draw a card, reveal it. If you reveal a creature card with power 6 or higher this way, sacrifice CARDNAME and put that creature onto the battlefield.

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    1. Since this plays so well with Blue card draw, and putting things into play for free is also a Blue mechanic, I'm inclined to be kind to deckbuilders and make this cost 2UG.

      Neat design!

      Delete
    2. @Tommy: Tesla is tilting hard to blue as it is. Unless this plays into a GU archetype I'd want to give G whatever toys it's still going to get to play with as Tesla develops.

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    3. The draw trigger certainly feels a little blue, but I could easily see this in mono green, and mana cheating things into play certainly isn't limited to blue (See the Unwritten, Dramatic Entrance, Call of the Wild, Garruk, Caller of Beasts).

      As for the card itself, I'm not convinced that it really needs to combo with Divination instead of just satisfying Timmy with an upkeep trigger, but either way it does an excellent job of evoking anticipation and looks like fun to play.

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    4. Oh yes, it can definitely be mono-G, but the cost 2GG pushes it pretty hard. Making it cost 2UG makes it easier to cast in the decks that will actually cast it, and provides players a little hint about what they should do with it.

      That is just an aesthetic preference though.

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    5. I think the reveal should be optional.

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    6. @HavelockV: I was on the fence about it. I'm worried about people naturally putting the card in their hand before reading it, and then realizing that it's what they want to drop in and having to reveal it after it's already in their hands. Creates a lot of "Judge!" moments.

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    7. As a judge, I figure this should work just like Miracle.

      Delete
  2. Roccani Dervish 1RR
    Creature - Human Warrior (U)
    Burnout 2 (At the beginning of your upkeep, put a +1/+1 counter on this. Then, if it has two or more, sacrifice it at the beginning of the next end step.)
    When Roccani Dervish dies, it deals 3 damage to each opponent.
    2/2

    Turns out I have a few designs kicking around in my files that sort of fit this, so gonna dump a few of 'em here.

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    1. Chant of Destruction 2RR
      Enchantment (R)
      At the beginning of your upkeep, you may sacrifice a land. If you do, Chant of Destruction deals X damage to target creature or player, where X is the number of land cards in your graveyard.

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    2. I'm not really anticipating my creature burning out - I'm dreading it. We don't want to people to NOT look forward to the future.

      Chant of Destruction is better, and with some reflavoring, could totally represent a Military-Industrial Complex or something.

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    3. Wowza that guy is aggressive. I actually think Roccani Dervish is a neat design. Two worries:

      1) A format with a lot of Burnout is going to be really aggressive, since it is impossible (and miserable) to sit back with burnout creatures. The previous time a mechanic itself pushed the format to be this aggressive (Zendikar with the +2/+2 landfall creatures), it led to some very strong division among players.

      2) This is a really hard mechanic to squeeze on commons that don't feel bad. Most of them couldn't have "dies" abilities for the payoff, so they'd have to be french vanilla.

      I like the choice to have it trigger at the end of the next endstep, so you don't have the feel bad of putting a ocunter on it and it dying immediately.

      I'd be happy to try this mechanic in my set!

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  3. Whitepaw Trackers 3G
    Creature - Elf Warrior (C)
    Hunt 1G (1G: Exile this card face-down. You may cast it from exile. Hunt only as a sorcery.)
    Whenever the second creature enters the battlefield under an opponent’s control this turn, if Whitepaw Trackers is hunting, you may cast it without paying its mana cost.
    3/4

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    1. Feral Stampede (no mana cost)
      Sorcery (R)
      Build up 1GG (Rather than cast this card from your hand, you may pay 1GG and exile it. At the beginning of your upkeep, add a build up counter to it. Then, you may cast it without paying its mana cost.)
      Put X 3/3 green Rhino creature tokens onto the battlefield, where X is the number of build up counters on Feral Stampede.

      Sort of a weird Suspend variant I guess.

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    2. I presume Hunt is supposed to happen from your hand (in which case it should have a fixed cost a la Morph to preserve the mystery). I'd prefer to avoid the trap triggers (at least at common) and use it as a sort of mystery Echo.

      Build Up seems to suffer from all the same problems as its predecessor. It's complex to track and texty, and it's hard to imagine how one could put it on a simple card.

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  4. Reckless Ingenuity
    Enchantment (R)
    When Reckless Ingenuity enters the battlefield, name and reveal up to fifteen nonland cards you own from outside the game. Then, shuffle them into your library.
    Whenever you draw a card, you may reveal it. If it is was card named with Reckless Ingenuity, Reckless Ingenuity deals 3 damage to target creature or player.

    This one's a little less serious, but still potentially playing around in space that could be interesting.

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    1. Unfettered Scornbringer WBB
      Creature - Angel (R)
      Flying
      At the beginning of your upkeep, put a +1/+1 counter on Unfettered Scornbringer. Then, pay 1 life for each +1/+1 counter on Unfettered Scornbringer or sacrifice Unfettered Scornbringer.
      3/3

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  5. Vedalken Chronomancer 1U
    Creature - Vedalken Wizard (U)
    U, T: Put a time counter on target creature.
    2U, T: Return each creature with a time counter on it to its owner’s hand.
    1/3

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    1. Anima Borealis 4U
      Enchantment (MR)
      Play with the top card of your library revealed.
      1U: If the top card of your library is a creature card, creatures you control become copies of that card until end of turn. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.

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    2. Chronomancer seems awfully oppressive at uncommon, but I like the general setup of building up targets for a later big ability.

      Anima Borealis is an awesome mashup of Skill Borrower and Mirrorweave. A further iteration using Sphinx of Jwar Isle tech:

      Anima Borealis 5U
      Enchantmen (M)
      You may look at the top card of your library. (You may do this at any time.)
      Exile the top card of your library: If it's a creature card, creatures you control become copies of that creature until end of turn.

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  6. Freed from the Pit 3BB
    Enchantment (MR)
    Whenever a creature deals combat damage to you, destroy it and put an escape counter on Freed from the Pit.
    1B, Remove four escape counters from Freed from the Pit and sacrifice it: Search your library for a black creature card and put it onto the battlefield. It gains haste until end of turn. Then, shuffle your library.

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    1. Soul-Hoarder Demon 2BB
      Creature - Demon (MR)
      Flying, trample
      When Soul-Hoarder Demon enters the battlefield, target opponent may exile a creature card from their hand or their graveyard.
      When Soul-Hoarder Demon leaves the battlefield, put the exiled card onto the battlefield under its owner’s control.
      6/6

      Grouping by color so as not to create like a million seperate comment threads.

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    2. Again, Soul-Hoarder Demon is a sense of 'dread', not a sense of 'anticipation'. You don't want it to leave the battlefield.

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    3. One player's dread is another's anticipation. Ish?

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    4. I was thinking the same... but it doesn't quite work like that. Like, two things can be opposites but technically produce the same result - for example, positive and negative reinforcement both serve to encourage a certain kind of behavior. But positive reinforcement does so through adding an appetative stimuli, and negative reinforcement does so through having the target-behavior remove a noxious stimuli.

      The first one just FEELS better, you know? Theoretically both of them encourage the same behavior, but one of them does something good, while the other removes something bad. The first one is just more 'positive' even though they have the same end-result.

      In this case, it's a lot like the idea of 'drawback cards'. Some cards punish you for not meeting a condition, while others reward you for meeting a condition. For example...

      Hypothetical Elemental Positive {3}{U}
      Creature - Elemental (C)
      Hypothetical Elemental gets +2/+2 as long as it's not your turn.
      1/3

      Hypothetical Elemental Negative {3}{U}
      Creature - Elemental (C)
      Hypothetical Elemental gets -2/-2 as long as it's your turn.
      3/5

      In my opinion, the first one just reads better to many players. Its body looks a bit small - but most newbies can't discern an overcosted or undercosted body yet - and it's ability is all-upside.

      But the second though, though theoretically a very similar card (obviously it has its differences but for the most part its the same) reads like a disappointment. Previously, we saw something bad that become good. Now our seemingly-good thing becomes bad! That FEELS worse. It's a downgrade, not an improvement. Yet, end-result, it's almost the same card.

      My point is, this card achieves the feeling of 'anticipation', but in doing that for the other player, it feels frustrating to play, and I think it will lead to a larger negative play experience as a whole. The direction you approach a result DOES matter, psychologically.

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    5. Presentation matters immensely, I agree.

      That said, cards like Abyssal Persecutor exist, so having a downside isn't a deal-breaker on its own. I don't believe for a moment that adding fun for the opponent, or impressing the set's emotion on one's opponent in addition to one's self is a bad thing for the game. Ultimately, the game has to be fun for the winner and the loser, and the feel of the game needs to come through for both players, whichever one you currently are.

      Dread is very much the reverse side of the coin anticipation is on, and dread is not the emotion Tesla wants to feature. But I don't think you feel dread when you play Soul-Hoarder Demon. You're certainly aware it could end poorly for you, and you don't want that to happen, but that's the bargain you struck summoning a demon, and you did because you're probably going to get your risk's worth in value. That's just good demon flavor. But it's not really dread because it's neither inevitable, nor necessarily terrible.

      Which raises the question, is one player's anticipation always her opponent's dread? There's definitely a relationship there, and sometimes one causes the other, but I'm not sure it's 1:1. Hmm.

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    6. Jay: Good points, all of them. I do agree.

      I'm not saying I fele like "adding fun for the opponent, or impressing the set's emotion on one's opponent in addition to one's self is a bad thing for the game" - and I agree that the best mechanics make the game fun for both players. Mechanics like Buyback are fun for one player, but horrible for the other - the idea of 'oppressive cards' is a basic of card design, and it's from that idea that we get the design philosophy that a card should be fun both to play with and to play against.

      My point I was trying to make was that evoking a sense of dread is not equivalent to evoking a sense of anticipation for your opponent. I originally thought this card was mostly-dread-for-you, and my argument was that it didn't translate to the same emotion feelings as anticipation-for-your-opponent. But, reading your argument, I think I've changed my mind and agree with you that it's not really dread.

      I too was thinking about the relationship between one player's anticipation and her opponent's dread. My rudimentary hypothesis was that the more the anticipated result affects the opponent directly in a negative way, the more they dread it.

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  7. Regent of the Church 4W
    Creature - Angel (MR)
    Flying
    Whenever a creature attacks you, put a +1/+1 counter on Regent of the Church.
    1W, Remove a +1/+1 counter from Regent of the Church: Destroy target creature that dealt damage to you this turn.
    4/3

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  8. Doomsday Calendar 1
    Artifact (R)
    At the beginning of your end step, put a doom counter on Doomsday Calendar Then, if Doomsday Calendar has thirteen or more counters on it, exile it. If you did, exile all nonland permanents your opponents control and all cards from opponent’s hands and graveyards.

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  9. Jules, can you specify what you're looking for that was missing last time? Or what you liked but needs work? Or what seems like a dead-end?

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    1. I don't think it's about what's "missing", "needs work", or "seems like a dead-end" - I think the goal here is just to get as many ideas about anticipation as possible, to see the variety of anticipation cards designed, and try to glean some ideas from all of them.

      Of course, I can't speak for Jules, but that's just how I'm interpreting this challenge.

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    2. Inanimate's got the right of it. I think that a feeling of anticipation is central to Tesla's identity, but most of the sets other components have gotten way more exploration simply by virtue of entering the discussion earlier. I just want to see where we can go.

      Delete
  10. Sector Sentry
    6
    Artifact Creature - Golem - Rare
    3: Energize. (Put a charge counter on each artifact you control.) Then, if Sector Sentry has three or more charge counters on it, remove all charge counters from it and put a copy of it onto the battlefield.
    4/6

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    1. Oooh, this seems interesting. This works well enough on its own, and rewards you for having other things that want charge counters.

      My main concern is that there will probably be a good amount of artifacts in the set that don't use charge counters, but you still have to track the counters on them. So I would amend the wording to be "on any number of artifacts you control", so you aren't forced to have so many counters on the battlefield.

      Overall, this is interesting. Definitely reminds me of Access the Machine, in a good way.

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    2. I don't like it putting the counter on each artifact you control. Once you have a second of these you are probably never going to spend mana on something other than this ability ever again, and that seems bad to me. I think this is perfectly fine without that.

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    3. Having the energize cards only work on their own activation feels off to me, but it does avoid the complexity of stacking multiple triggers that we'd get if each had a separate triggered ability upon getting a charge counter.

      Minutiae aside, I really like this approach to Access the Machine-like space. It runs closer to feeling like Magic and is much easier to develop since not every effect has to be equally easy to trigger.

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    4. To be clear, I wasn't suggesting that Energize shoudl be a keyword that just put a counter on itself. I was suggesting this card would be a better design if it just had "3: Put a charge counter on ~, etc."

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    5. @Tommy What about:

      Energize - 3, T: Put a charge counter on any number of artifacts you control.

      That way having multiple permanents with Energize will matter. Plus, it avoids turing infininte mana into infinite 4/6's (or whatever else the payoffs for artifacts with this ability have).

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    6. I like tapping and sorcery speed. You don't want to tap your 4/6, you want to block with it. So playing the 4/6 makes you think "hey, why don't I put other Energize cards in my deck..." and now it is starting to sound like an interesting mechanic!

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    7. Nich: Dang, that's smart. How have I not thought of tapping to make it matter before?

      Delete
  11. Find in Due Time {1}{B}
    Sorcery (unc)
    Search your library for a card with CMC 0, a card with CMC 1-6, and a card with CMC 7+. Shuffle your library. Then, if you found all three, put them on top in random order.

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    1. Interesting, and very neat. Definitely evokes a sense of anticipation, in more than one way in fact. I like it.

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    2. My Johnny brain just started drooling uncontrollably. I'll be sending you the medical bills.

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    3. Take two cotton balls and call me in the morning.
      Ehh... afternoon. I charge extra if you wake me.

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    4. This is an awesome evolution of Firemind's Foresight. I'm not sure it should be uncommon, but if so, do we want reminder text about lands?

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  12. My thoughts on 'anticipation' and 'looking to the future'...

    1.) Personally, I feel like a "one time change" is the best idea. Things that can repeatedly trigger are fine, but those feel more like a 'bonus', not a 'result', if you see what I'm saying? The goal of anticipation, in my eyes, is for one BIG thing, a grand finale you're working your way towards. Mechanics like Build are just fine, but at the same time, they just don't feel CONCLUSIVE in the same way, if you see what I'm saying.

    2.) I personally think we need to avoid 'anticipating' your opponent. In other words, cards that key off of actions of your opponent - such as Traps - though they evoke a kind of anticipation, are not the RIGHT kind of anticipation. I think that the anticipation that Tesla is looking for, as I've said, is the "magnum opus" - the grand achievement that you spend a lot of time carefully crafting and working towards. If your 'anticipated result' relies entirely on your opponent's actions, you don't get the experience of 'tending to a project', if you see what I'm saying? You don't get that level of investment and control, which is vital to the feeling of 'building a machine'.

    3.) I've stated before that 'anticipation' can be achieved by looking at many zones, but that looking to the past - the battlefield or the graveyard - doesn't feel right. For this reason, mechanics like Devotion and the Kindle mechanic, though they encourage you to 'look ahead', do it in a way that solidly anchors them in what you've already done, not what you're going to do. While real-world progress works that way, it's not what you think of when you think 'progress'. Progress, to most people, means moving forward.

    4.) I think, like Innistrad, our mechanics are going to do a lot of the work for us in crafting this environment, but we still need to supplement that with a lot of individual card designs. For this reason, I think this challenge is vital - we need to find as many ways to capture Tesla-style 'anticipation' on cards, both for inspiration for our mechanics, but also to draw from with our individual designs.

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    1. Now, what are all the types of 'anticipation' I can think of? Here are a few:

      1.) The Builder
      Ludevic's Test Subject. Helix Pinnacle. Suspend. (Some) Quests. Level Up. Ordeals. All of these have you looking forward to building up something up, towards a certain amount, to culminate in something grand.

      Some of these you just have to wait for - Suspend - some of them you're uncertain whether you're always going to be capable of building it every turn - Quests, Ordeals - and some of them you can manipulate however, as long as you have the resources - Test Subject, Level Up.

      This is anticipatory because it takes time and resources (time is a resource, but I'm gonna be clear). You can sometimes accelerate the growth, but it'll cost you. The thing that makes this anticipatory, then, is the fact you just have to be patient at best.

      2.) The Paradigm
      Bloodline Keeper. Metalcraft. Threshold. Jushi Apprentice. Woodborn Behemoth. Monstrosity. All of these look towards a certain number state of something. These ones generally look at a lot of things at once, and are about quantity, not quality.

      This is anticipatory because you're looking for quantity, which takes time to build. You're not gonna have ten lands or three artifacts super fast - you have to wait. Sometimes these just take a bit of time, sometimes a certain deck, and sometimes some weird backflips (like Jushi Apprentice). No matter how, you are certainly limited by how many you can play per turn, so again, it's all about time.

      However, the time is not necessary to wait AFTER the card has been played, unlike Builders! Paradigm anticipators can just be played AFTER you've already met the Paradigm, which is a significant difference! So time is relevant, but in a vastly different way.

      3.) The Seeker
      Chosen of Markov. Kinship. Delver of Secrets. Kitsune Mystic. Student of Elements. Rune-Tail, Erayo, Kuon. Evolve. These cards look forward to seeing something uncertain, but the chance of that approaches 100% as time goes on. Once they see it, they're done. These ones generally look for a single event to occur, and then they're good. It's not about quantity, it's about a very specific quality.

      In this case, the anticipation does NOT have to take a lot of time, and that's a significant difference. Many of these can transform almost immediately, as long as you have luck or a plan (such as setting up the top card of your library, or a combo, or whatever...). This is a big deal because, while the other forms of anticipation have been reliant on time, this is reliant on tension. You know you're capable of this eventually - so again, time is involved - but time is not NECESSARY.

      4.) The Opportunist
      Soul Seizer. Mayael's Aria. Test of Endurance. Bushi Tenderfoot. Homura, Human Ascendant. Infect. Battle of Wits. Barren Glory. Biovisionary. Heroic. These cards want you to do something, but they can rarely do it on their own. They require a gameplan, an opportunity, to be able to do their thing.

      The anticipation here is two-fold - you both are looking forward to the effect triggering, but you're also looking forward to the things that enable it to occur. This one is again about tension, but it's a two-fold tension, which is nice.

      -

      I'm sure I've made some big flaws in my thinking, and my categories are super hasty and not well thought-out. I look forward to hearing what you guys think and whether this helps.

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    3. 5.) The Activist
      These are cards that are capable of working towards the goal, without outside resources necessary. (But outside resources help). Outlast, "saboteurs", and so on. Planeswalkers are a great example.

      These cards don't REQUIRE anything but themselves (besides simple resources such as mana), but they can be HELPED. Outlast want a bit of time. Saboteurs want another card to help them through. Planeswalkers want creatures to defend them. And so on. So they're kinda a "wild-card" form of anticipation.

      Delete
    4. I wrote up the Activist real quick because I realized it probably deserves a category of its own. Soul Seizer might be a better fit for the category of Activist.

      Also, I think "big spells" fall under "The Paradigm", that Paradigm being "a number of lands equal to my mana cost". That's the same reasoning I used for putting Monstrosity there.

      Delete
    5. Excellent thoughts! There's an interesting midpoint with cards like Ghoultree and Death's Shadow which get progressively better, but have a maximum potential that can result in the same feelings of 'getting all the way there' that we get from Threshold.

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    6. That's an excellent note, Jules!

      Delete
  13. Book End {3}
    Artifact (unc)
    Connect (You may pair this artifact with another unpaired artifact when either enters the battlefield. They remain paired for as long as you control both of them.)
    {4}: Tap ~.
    Whenever ~ or an artifact paired with it becomes tapped, draw a card.

    Mana Cylinder {3}
    Artifact (cmn)
    Connect (You may pair this artifact with another unpaired artifact when either enters the battlefield. They remain paired for as long as you control both of them.)
    {0}: Tap ~.
    Whenever ~ or an artifact paired with it becomes tapped, add {1} to your mana pool.

    Or whatever combine-o tech we use. The anticipation coming from playing one of these and wondering when you'll get another to hook it to, and which it'll be.

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    1. This space is a tough nut to crack, but the payoff is certainly alluring. Thinking about what I felt was missing in this iteration (the ability to build up something more than what's on the card) got me wondering if what we want isn't just a variant on Coordinate.

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    2. As a reminder, Coordinate was an idea I posted in a Tesla update, back on Feb 18.

      Wind Up Assault 3W (Common)
      Sorcery
      Put two 1/1 colorless Gnome artifact creatures with coordinate onto the battlefield. (Whenever a creature with coordinate attacks, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each other creature you control that shares a creature type with it.)

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    3. From the context, I think Jules meant this coordinate.

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    4. Opps! Okay, Jules, maybe don't casually reference mechanics without putting up their text.

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    5. Yeah, that would probably be a smart policy to adopt.

      Delete
  14. Suspend is great for anticipation. So are planeswalkers. So are big spells. So are conditional effects.
    "Will I survive long enough to get the big pay-off to my investment?"
    "I hope I get to do this amazing thing!"
    "Can I craft the board-state to maximize this card?"

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    1. We should definitely focus more on the gameplay, but it should be noted that draft build-arounds like Furnace Celebration help build these feelings before play even starts!

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    2. Interesting. I agree that 'build-arounds' would be great for the feeling of 'interconnectivity' and 'assembling a machine' - and additionally, if they're narrow like Furnace Celebration, they do foster "The Seeker" style anticipation.

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    3. Build-arounds, definitely.
      Also quests and ordeals.

      Delete
  15. Volt Bolt. R
    Sorcery
    Crescendo 1R (You may cast CARDNAME for its crescendo cost. If you do, exile it with a charge counter on it. At the beginning of your upkeep you may put another charge counter on it. If you don't, cast CARDNAME and copy it for each charge counter on it. You may choose new targets for the copy.)
    CARDNAME deals 1 damage to target creature or player.

    My first thought was of suspend. What if instead of a cost, time was a resource? In this case, the sense of anticipation rests solely on the opponent. When will you pop it?

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    Replies
    1. Not seeing the forest for the trees here...

      This can be done with half the words and much more intuitively with enchantments...derp

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  16. Ok so my first thought went back to a bunch of Vanishing creatures that I designed long ago that get a big payoff when on the brink.

    Voltage Seeker 2R
    Creature - Elemental (C)
    Vanishing 3 (This permanent enters the battlefield with three time counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a time counter from it. When the last is removed, sacrifice it.)
    As long as CARDNAME has exactly one time counter on it, it has trample.
    4/2

    But I then realized that vanishing isn't a good was to build up to anticipation as you get such a downside afterwards.
    Not to mention the tracking complexity is hideous, I'll be surprised if wizards every prints an upkeep based mechanic at common any time soon.

    So my next Idea was to have the same base but reverse it.

    Salvaged Mecha 5
    Artifact Creature - Golem (C)
    Battle-Charged 3 (At end of combat, if this creature attacked or blocked this turn and has less than three +1/+1 counters on it, put a +1/+1 counter on it.)
    Whenever CARDNAME attacks, if it is fully charged, it gains trample until end of turn.
    3/3

    This is better, but maybe its a little slow or hard to pull off, the number definitely would need tweaking.

    I then saw Jay's comment above about suspend. So I might as well restate my improved version of suspend that I've been using to great success in Dreamscape.

    Subconscious Visions 4UU
    Sorcery (C)
    Draw three cards.
    Premonition 8—U (Rather than cast this card from your hand, you may pay U and put this card into your library face up beneath the top eight cards. As it reaches the top, cast it for free.)

    I'll give this some more thought though as there is certainly a ton of space yet to explore.

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    1. Battle Charged is awesome. We've seen it before in the GDS2, where the judges noted that it had no compelling reason to stop growing - but here, we do have a reason, and it's wonderful.

      Premonition / Develop / Warp is interesting, but definitely way out there.

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    2. I'm pretty high on Premonition as well.

      As for battle-charged, it's definitely interesting space. Having to get into combat certainly dodges some of the issues we discussed here, but it's texty. I'd start with something like Jay's Tune-Up.

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    3. We also have Tommy's Charge as another variation of Tune-Up. It could work just as well with +1/+1 counters.

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    4. Dang it, for some reason links-as-words eludes me... here's the link:
      http://goblinartisans.blogspot.com/2014/10/tesla-rise-to-power.html?showComment=1414115092934#c1928745255498583728

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    5. Blogger comments allow basic html. I'd recommend W3 Schools for all your "how do I do that?" needs.

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    6. Ah, I just kept making a mistake in my formatting, that's all. (I've never used HTML, but I'm familiar with the basics... or at least, I thought I was. :P)

      Thanks!

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    7. Something to note about Premonition, that I've discovered is that it loses a large amount of its bonuses when played online.

      However for paper magic it's amazing.

      Also i'm sure I can cook up a better template for Battle-Charged. At the moment I'm just using the Glorious mechanic wording from a very old (and low quality) set I made called Coins of Mercalis.

      Delete
    8. I love how often someone references a mechanic I suggested and I have no idea what they're talking about. Charge is sweet, though I honestly don't remember making it!

      So Premonition the caveat is that if you ever shuffle your library, you turn all face up cards face down right? This also gets broken with any kind of selfmill, like imagine playing Satyr Wayfinder. I think the idea is neat, but I suspect it interacts too favorably or disfavorably with too many standard Magic mechanics in order to build a whole standard environment around it. Would be happy to be wrong though.

      Delete
    9. Tommy creating a standard environment around a mechanic is something WotC do all the time.
      Their are no playable flicker effects at the moment due to morph.
      They very carefully costed all of RTR block so that devotion was balanced in standard.
      They held off on super cheap enchantment removal for bestow.
      And probably much more that I haven't thought about. In fact they are probably limited something so that a mechanic in BfZ or the next set works nicely. We just haven't noticed.

      Delete
    10. This is certainly doable, but it's important to note that with the new Standard rotation it's gotten significantly trickier.

      We used to have to hold off on the problematic interaction for three blocks to keep Standard safe. Now we have to do so for five. Mind you, including Core Sets it's actually fewer sets to manage, but different block themes push different directions so I think it's asking a lot more of Development.

      Delete
  17. Improvised Weaponmaster {2}{W}
    Creature - Human Soldier (R)
    Whenever ~ attacks, look at the top card of your library. If it's an aura or equipment, you may put it onto the battlefield attached to ~.
    1/5

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nifty. I might prefer it if his toughness was somewhat smaller, so that more often you'd be taking a risk to attack with him, gambling on getting something good enough that he can survive attacking the opponent. Might need to be "look at the top 3 cards, you may put an Aura or Equipment from among them" though, otherwise the odds are too low.

      I'm also very wary of cards that bypass *both* of the costs that Equipment have.

      Is this "anticipation", or just "unpredictable" like Skyclaw Thrash?

      Delete
  18. texample for my candidate mechanic from previous thread

    Supersteel Colossus 8
    Artifact Creature - Golem
    Trample, indestructible
    As long as your capacity to artifacts is less than five, ~ isn't a creature. (Each artifact you control counts toward your capacity to artifacts.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Having a variable Metalcraft unfortunately ups the tracking complexity quite a lot. But I like metalcraft.

      Delete
  19. Union Foreman 2w
    Creature - Human Rebel
    When enters the battlefield, you gain X life, where X is your capacity to white. (Each white permanent you control counts toward your capacity to white.)
    2/3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a little bit worried about what Capacity would do to draft at high as-fan (as I believe you were imagining), but we could certainly use it at density similar to that of Devotion in Theros.

      Delete
  20. Device Peddler 1W
    Creature - Human Advisor
    1/2
    Whenever ~ is blocked, gain two progress counters. (When you have 10 or more progress counters, you win the game.)

    Based on http://www.magicmultiverse.net/cards/13656

    It could obviously appear in many different ways, always 1 at a time or not, on creatures, on spells, etc. Provided each card feels useful in isolation.

    Variants could include: using something else instead of progress counters (eg "put a progress artifact creature token OTB. If you control 15 or more artifacts...") to make it less parasitic. Giving the progress counters a meaning less than "win the game" (either each progress creature gets a giant bonus when you get to ten, or has an ability to cash them in for a smaller benefit instead).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never been a fan of progress counters. They're an even less interactive and even less interesting version of Infect.

      Delete
  21. Mother Stomper 4GG
    Creature - Insect
    6/6
    Charge up 2 (2, reveal this from your hand: Gain a charge counter. Use this ability only once each turn and only when you could cast a sorcery.)
    As an additional cost to ~ you may pay any number of charge counters. When ~ ETB put that many 2/2 green insect creature tokens OTB.

    Obviously the idea here is to build up towards a big spell in the mid to late game. It could alternatively exile the spell and let you cast it from exile like suspend, but I thought the "gain a charge counter" thing might lead to less cluttered exile zones. The templating still needs work, ideally it wouldn't be as fiddly with when you can use the ability.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very parasitic mechanic, and the forecast-like way of charging means that you're gonna be holding spells back in hand and repeatedly charging with them most likely, which plays pretty unfun.

      Delete
    2. If we're careful I bet we could balance these so they're almost always better to cast right away once you can. Of course, if we do that it's probably only printable on very expensive spells.

      Delete
  22. Progress Historian 1U
    Creature - Human Wizard
    1/1
    Steady Progress - Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, if you control a multiple of three lands, draw a card.

    The idea here is to capture anticipation by having a series of small climaxes every three turns, rather than one big one. Landfall isn't perfect, I'd prefer to tie it to something else if I can think of something.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting, but this is a strictly worse landfall. you're right, something else would be a good idea, but the question is what...

      Delete
  23. Tesla Bolt 1R
    ~ deals 3 damage to target creature.
    Ascendancy (You may cast this from your graveyard for 8. If you do, you may cast any number of other cards with ascendancy from your graveyard without paying their mana cost. Exile each as they resolve.)

    Not a complete idea, but the idea is like flashback, but with one giant revolution instead of an incremental advantage on each card. It needs development (what's the right cost? Can it always be the same? Should there be a limit on the number of cards cast? Once you've had one ascendency, is it underwhelming that there's little fodder for another, should the cards stay in the graveyard but you need to pay more for a second activation?)

    Is there a better name -- synergy? day of revolution?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ohhhh man this is a beautiful mechanic. How cool!

      My only concern is that it has a colorless Ascendancy cost, so if you can get it in the graveyard without casting it, you can cast off-color spells. That's not a HUGE issue - we can just carefully choose our effects to be as monohybrid as possible - but it is an issue.

      This is a wonderful and exciting mechanic. Very nice!

      Delete
    2. Ascendancy is an awesome idea! I'm tempted to try to tie it directly into the casting (e.g. "If there are four or more cards with Ascendancy in your graveyard, exile them and add their effects to this one."), but that seems much more dangerous on the Storm front and even more parasitic since the cards can no longer Flashback on their own.

      Delete
    3. Thank you!

      And yes, I'd prefer it if there was a color requirement but I wasn't sure how to say so concisely.

      Delete
    4. That is awesome. It's basically just Revolution for spells, but nonetheless. (Actually, I guess it's Chandra Ablaze's ultimate, isn't it?)
      I don't think this card needs to have colourless Ascendancy. I'll note in fact that even if this card's Ascendancy cost was 5RRR, you could still cast it in a blue-green deck as long as you've looted away some blue or green Ascendancy cards. That doesn't seem like a big problem to me though.

      Exiling the cards as they resolve I agree feels like a pity, but might be unavoidable. I wonder if there's some way to make Ascendancy self-limiting in another way so that you can go off once, but then have to build up towards going off again. Something like if every card's Ascendancy cost also included "Sacrifice three lands", but less feel-bad.

      Delete
  24. On the Origin of Summons {1}{G}
    Enchantment—Thesis (cmn)
    Whenever a creature ETB, put a data counter on ~.
    {1}{G}, Remove X data counters from ~ and sacrifice it: Look at the top X cards of your library. You may put a creature card with CMC X- among them OTB.

    On the Destination of Souls {1}{B}
    Enchantment—Thesis (cmn)
    Whenever a creature dies, put a data counter on ~.
    {1}{B}, Remove X data counters from ~ and sacrifice it: Each opponent loses X life. You gain X life.

    On the Mental Impact of War {1}{R}
    Enchantment—Thesis (cmn)
    Whenever a creature deals combat damage to a player, put a data counter on ~.
    {1}{R}, Remove X data counters from ~ and sacrifice it: ~ deals X damage to target creature.

    On the Efficacy of Curatives {1}{W}
    Enchantment—Thesis (cmn)
    Whenever a player gains life, put a data counter on ~.
    {1}{W}, Remove X data counters from ~ and sacrifice it: Put X +1/+1 counters on target creature.

    On Methods of Education {1}{U}
    Enchantment—Thesis (cmn)
    Whenever a player draws a card, put a data counter on ~.
    {1}{U}, Remove X data counters from ~ and sacrifice it: Scry X.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would call these "Shrine of..." given that it is nearly a direct reference. I'm not sure you were thinking about the Shrines when you made these though. I do think the Shrines from NPH are great designs.

      Delete
    2. Was thinking of shrines, ordeals and quests.
      Flavored for Tesla.
      Thesis could be Experiment, but I was amused by the ridiculous cardnames.

      Delete
    3. I like these and their names. (:

      Personally, I'd prefer for On the Origin of Summons to only track your creatures, and for On Methods of Education to not be something that's guaranteed to happen every turn.

      Delete
    4. Wait, I just realized these are common. Are these really doable at common? I think these would be better at uncommon, like the Shrines from NPH.

      Delete
    5. These all sack, so you can't use any of them every turn.

      NWO wants all of these to only track your own stuff. I hedged toward everything for flavor, but eh.

      These are likely better at uncommon, not for power or complexity, but for book-keeping.

      Delete
    6. I'd also prefer more effects that feel like you've reached something. You know you've accomplished the task for On the Mental Impact of War when you can kill their biggest creature. When are you supposed to use On Methods of Education?

      Delete
    7. Good call.
      We can also just replace the choice with a trigger. "If there are N+ counters on this…"

      Delete
    8. @Jules: FWIW, wasn't the same true of Shrine of Piercing Vision and to some extent Shrine of Loyal Legions?

      Delete
    9. It's a slight issue in general, but I was saying it's a bigger problem for Tesla since we're explicitly trying to get players to anticipate something. Shrines had a different goal (pushing players to play some non-artifacts).

      Delete
  25. Let's start with a keyword, then some examples of how to use it.

    Masterplan (Play with the top card of your library revealed. As long as the top card of your library is a spell with converted mana cost 9 or greater, you may cast it for 2 less.)

    Goblin Builder (COM)
    R
    Creature - Goblin
    1/1
    Masterplan (Reminder text.)

    Part Crafter (COM)
    2R
    Creature - Human Rogue
    1/1
    Masterplan (Reminder text.)
    R, T, Discard a card: Draw a card.

    Erratic Buildmage (UNC)
    3R
    Creature - Human Wizard
    3/3
    Masterplan (Reminder text.)
    Whenever NAME attacks, you may shuffle your library.

    Lavacore Engine (UNC)
    9
    Artifact Creature - Construct
    3/6
    2/R: NAME gets +1/+0 until end of turn.

    Grand Wheel of Fire (RAR)
    9RR
    Artifact Creature - Construct
    5/5
    Haste
    Whenever NAME attacks, it deals 5 damage to defending player and each creature he or she controls.
    When NAME is put into a graveyard from anywhere, exile it unless you put it into your library third from the top.

    What I like about this is that we can create any payoff cards we want as long as they cost 9 or more mana. Tesla probably wants them to be giant machines, but they could always be sorceries that create an army of Construct creatures, or tutor for artifacts, or whatever. Think the Ultimatums from Shards of Alara in scope and cost. A set can't really support that many giant casting cost spells, but I think we could include enough at Uncommon, Rare and Mythic Rare to define the set the same way the multicolor Dragons in Dragons of Tarkir did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like this, but 9 is WAY too big.

      Delete
    2. Also, I think "things that cost 9 or more mana" is a far less visible and exciting theme than "multicolor Dragons". People DO love big spells, but they don't freak out and get fervent over them like they do Dragons. Especially because the Dragons are in factions, the second thing that players super-love.

      Delete
    3. I don't think 9 is too big. I wonder if it should be 10.
      Huge spells don't carry the excitement of dragons, but nothing carries the excitement of dragons.

      Delete
    4. While I was crafting the post, I originally had 10. Ten just sounds like an epic number. It sounds impressive. There aren't a lot of Magic cards that cost 10. I moved it down to 9 to keep Uncommon payoff cards possible. Really though, it could be developed from anywhere between 7 to 11. And these hugh spells and permanents can be as exciting as we want them to be. We get to show players why a big payoff spell is worth playing towards, worth, dare I say, anticipating.

      Delete
    5. If we're going to make a bunch of expensive spells, we'll need an alternate-cast mechanic like decree-cycling or cost-reduction mechanic like delve so that we don't just ruin games where a masterplan doesn't come together.

      I like the idea of Tesla being about grand ideas and crazy schemes to realize them.

      Delete
    6. It's also possible Masterplan is URx mechanic, if we build factions like Izzet of Jeskai. Then the 9+ mana cost spells only appear in 2 colors.

      I love the idea of the set having factions that are all trying to do big things in completely different ways. It plays into the story concept I have for Tesla and Edison.

      Delete
    7. Put Humanity on the Moon {2G}{2G}{2G}{2G}{2G}
      Enchantment (unc)
      Hexproof
      Whenever you play a land, draw a card.

      Wireless Power Field {2R}{2R}{2R}{2R}{2R}
      Enchantment (unc)
      Hexproof
      Activated abilities cost you up to {2R} less to activate.

      Powered Flight {2U}{2U}{2U}{2U}{2U}
      Enchantment (cmn)
      Hexproof
      Creatures you control have flying.

      Death Ray {2B}{2B}{2B}{2B}{2B}
      Enchantment (rare)
      Hexproof
      {X}, {T}: Destroy target creature with CMC X.

      Delete
    8. This looks like fun to build, but leaving top cards revealed all the time robs the game of a ton of excitement. I think it was a mistake to push Courser of Kruphix for constructed, and I certainly don't want the same thing overrunning a limited environment.

      It's harder to remember and track, but we could try having you look at the top card just before you draw it and cast it then.

      Delete
    9. Well, I love this. I will be thinking about the White one my whole ride home from work.

      Delete
    10. Some sort of Deciever ability might work - either on all or just some particular Masterplan creatures. If there's some cost - 1, or U/R, or even T:, we could Spy on the top of the library to make it a choice and non-coursered information, which has a history in blue and red.

      Delete
    11. Masterplan (Look at the top card of your library at any time. If it has converted mana cost 10 or greater, you may cast it for {2} less.)

      ...That probably isn't cumulative, but I suspect there's a template for this.

      Delete
    12. The Callous Deceiver version is also better than the Future Sight version because your opponent won't know when to use removal on your creatures with Masterplan. Really smart idea. I don't like putting an activation cost on it though because it undercuts the mana reduction element. But maybe a T activation.... And the cost reduction part should work as cumulative since each instance says the spell costs N less.

      Artificial Army (RAR)
      2/w2/w2/w2/w2/w
      Artifact
      Hexproof
      At the beginning of your upkeep, put a 1/1 colorless Construct artifact creature token onto the battlefield.
      Creatures you control get +1/+1.

      Pocket Singularity (MYTHIC)
      2/w2/u2/b2/r2/g
      Artifact
      Hexproof
      NAME enters the battlefield with any number of doom counters on it. Then, destroy each other nonland permanent with converted mana cost equal to that number.
      Players can’t cast spells with converted mana cost equal to the number of doom counters on NAME.

      Delete
    13. Two avenues to doing it in a U/R faction, since a little bird told me that keywords don't want to be activated abilities.

      Goblin Bricklayer R
      Creature - Goblin 1/1
      Masterplan B (At the beginning of your upkeep, you may pay U/R and look at the top card of your library. If its converted mana cost is 9 or greater, you may reveal it and cast it for 3 less.)

      Which brings to light that this mechanic has some of the shortcomings of Miracles - it accentuates the randomness of the draw step, which leads to some feelbad. You can also do something like the following, either with all T: triggers or a variety of inputs.

      Orcish Bricklayer R
      Creature - Orc 1/1
      Masterplan C (When you look at the top card of your library, you may pay U/R and reveal it. If its converted mana cost is 9 or greater, you may cast it for 3 less.)
      T: Look at the top card of your library.

      Delete
    14. A tweak on Pasteur's version to be cumulative:

      Masterplan D (When you look at the top card of your library, if its CMC is 9 or greater, you may cast it. Cards on top of your library cost you {2} less to cast.)

      Also goes very well with Melek or Future Sight, but that's fairly irrelevant.

      I think 9 seems spot on here. I agree with Jay that you do need some other way to cope with hugely expensive cards for if masterplan doesn't come together, but that could be as simple as spellshapers or looting.

      And if there's a decent amount of looting then you can do things like

      Elvish Historian
      {2}{G}, 2/2
      Masterplan
      {T}: Put target card from your graveyard on top of your library. Sacrifice ~ at EOT.

      Delete
  26. A spell mechanic for Tesla that lets you get the spell back in a few turns:

    Growth Serum G
    Instant
    Template 2 (You may pay an additional 2 to cast this. If you do, put it under the top two cards of your library as it resolves.)
    Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a lot like buyback. I think being able to repeat it every few turns is too strong, even if you have to wait and lose a draw to do so.

      Delete
    2. To clarify, the problem is that the space between strong-enough-to-bring-back-every-time and not-strong-enough-to-bring-back-at-all is exceptionally narrow.

      For example, paying {2}{G} for +2/+2 is so much worse than Giant Growth that I'd rather draw a completely random card in almost every situation than draw another copy.

      As buyback alternates go, I do love that you have to wait a couple turns, and that it's not card advantage.

      Delete
    3. I considered giving the template ability no mana cost and making it mandatory; giving up a draw is already a big cost. But yes the line between Junk and Oppressive with this kind of effect is very small and probably not enough for a whole mechanic.
      It feels more like Retrace than Buyback to me, another zero card advantage effect.

      Delete
  27. The more I think about this issue the more convinced I am that it's going to be easy to build anticipation into Tesla. Why? Because synergy between cards inherently plays the same role as high mana costs. The whole time you're holding Steady Progress in MM15 limited, you're anticipating casting it while you spread out your Graft counters. Same goes for a Trumpet Blast and token producers, or just about anything else with a clearly optimal casting sequence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What makes Tesla's brand of "anticipation" different from other formats with high mana costs (RoE, THS's monstrosity) and threshold-based synergies (SOM, THS's devotion)?

      What kind of synergy can Tesla explore without overcrowding the board with complicated tracking elements (counters, counting cards in graveyard, cards that reference specific other cards)?

      Delete
    2. The difference is more one of focus than of execution. Innistrad built tension by having more Instants and flash creatures than normal. Those appear in every set, but as-played numbers can heavily influence a set's tone.

      That's not to say Tesla shouldn't have further definition. We probably are going to narrow down the types of anticipation Tesla focuses on to some subset of the whole. But we should map all the space before we decide on a place to settle down.

      As for synergy without much tracking complexity, it could be something as simple as Filigree Angel. The important part is that there's a condition you're waiting for to get maximum value.

      Delete
  28. Matrix Revolution {10}
    Artifact
    ~ enters the battlefield tapped.
    {T}, Sacrifice ~ and ten Contraptions: You win the game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enticing, but I'd love to know if you have a payoff in mind for this tease. :)

      Delete
    2. the tease is the anticipation...

      you put this in the first set, but it has no contraptions. so players expect contraptions will be coming in the later sets. who knows if later sets will have contraptions?

      Delete
  29. Amass the Components
    Sorcery, uncommon, {1}{U}
    If you control a Core, search your library for a Chassis card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.
    If you control a Chassis, search your library for a Core card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.

    Mecha are a great mechanic for building anticipation anyway. But this card is even more so. It's obviously intended to find you whichever half you're missing; if you draw it without any mecha parts out yet, it makes you feel happy about drawing any one. It does have the extra mode whereby if you've already got both halves on the table, it searches up another one of each. The wording could be inverted, to say "If you control no Cores, search for a Core; if you control no Chassis, search for a Chassis", but that's way more powerful on an empty board so would need to be more expensive, and it also discourages casting mecha parts you've already drawn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cute! I think you've chosen the right direction for this one. Needing you to not have something would also lead to feel-bad moments when a player has neither, uses it for one, and then draws another of the same kind.

      Delete
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