Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Weekend Art Challenge Review 082115—Claudia Sutton

Weekend Art Challenge Review
Design a card for this art.

Not unlike Moorland Haunt, Necro-Alchemist's Laboratory allows you to reuse each of your creatures after they die. Corpseweft would be identical if not for the ability to make a single, larger zombie for no additional mana. I suspect this card is part blue to get across that this is a lab for a wizard like Stitcher Geralf, but there's really nothing blue about it mechanically. Something closer to  Necromancer's Stockpile could be blue.

We haven't seen many tribal lords in the form of enchantments, and none that I can find in Modern. On one hand, enchantments do nothing by themselves where creature lords are always creatures, but on the other hand, a tribal buff that survives wrath effects is resilient.

I like the bonus effect of recurring zombies, and doing so randomly limits degenerate repetition (though it also adds process to a repeated effect, slowing the game a bit), but the trigger is way to wide. Particularly, casting the zombie I just got back from it to trigger it again, and so on is clearly a problem. Thematically, a refuge probably shouldn't grant menace, though I'll say that menace is clearly a huge boon to a zombie horde. Menace is a brutal combination with creature recursion. You could easily remove the +1/+1 bonus, trigger only on noncreature spells, and still have a solid zombie tribal card.

Stitcher's Lab is a more intuitive Bridge from Below. A mana payment seems like a fair trade-off for removing the auto-destruct clause and I like that it includes shields-down moments and isn't such a combo with mass removal. I would require that the dying creature either not be a token or not be a zombie so that Lab can't recycle the same creature indefinitely, though the mana cost does mitigate that concern. This looks great mono-black.

Vacant Laboratory is an Omniscience that begs you to play a nearly creature-less deck. Half-price is a steep discount when Cruel Ultimatums exist; I guess that's why this only lets you cast one card free each turn, and sometimes none. I mean, you're probably doing scrying and Cruel Tutor to ensure you get something juicy, but at least at face-value Vacant Laboratory isn't a sure thing. I like how the name matches the art matches the condition, though I'm not sure I get why a lab needs to be vacant to produce miracles.

You're All Being Written Out is a scheme (cool!) that makes Eradicate's secondary effects affect all your opponents. I like the idea of turning singular effects multiplayer for schemes a lot, but I feel like YABWO is radiating the least relevant part: Players don't have the same creature in their decks all that often but this scheme requires you to look through their hands and libraries anyhow (because strategically that's too much information to forego even when you expect to find no matches). At the same time if we are running the same creature in our decks, this does nothing to those already in the field. Sever the Bloodline would fight to be a scheme first.

Castle of Curios is a colorless scry land except instead of scrying you get to loot. Seems solid. Looting is more blue in its identity (or red) since scry is evergreen, but it certainly has been a colorless ability, and if the set wants to give players a way to fill their graveyard Castle would be a very fine way to do it. It's ironic that this being colorless will hurt 2+ color decks even while it helps them, but for mono-color it's a nice little edge.

Better than Skycloud Expanse and Tainted Field but worse than Fetid Heath? Debt Confessional seems like a solid dual land. Though I wouldn't want it in just any set, because it is in some ways better fixing than Scrubland (allowing you to cast Tidehollow Sculler off of this and any land).

Desolate Chapel is a flavorful dual land, and that's hard to do. It's trickier to use than River of Tears, and it could only live in a set that wants four black dual lands and no others (or else you'll be scrambling for triggers), but if there were another black-centric set, a cycle like this could be perfect.

Springleaf Drum land. Excellent. Inevitable even. (Also see Factory Inc. and Shrovetide Square.)

Geralf's Workshop seems like a solid utility land. I was totally on board until we got to the +1 toughness. What the heck? Why? There are so many 2/2 zombie tokens! A land that can produce a creature every turn is already very very strong (vompare with Urza's Factory), it can't be worth bucking the trend of 2/2 zombies just to make this even stronger, can it?

Nice work, artisans.

Thanks to Piersabato for rendering the cards, and across multiple templates.

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