Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Weekend Art Challenge Review 091115—Wen Juinn Png

Weekend Art Challenge Review
Design a card for one or both of these illustrations, or two cards with each. If your submission includes multiple text boxes, they must be identical except for numbers and up to one word.

Remember that you can click to see an image at full-size, and shift-click to open it in a new window.

Moment of Death might draw you a ton of cards or kill your opponent. That's a great pair of abilities and I'd be worried about its power level at a lower cost, but seven mana might be fair. Both mechanically and thematically, I'd expect it to be mono-black.

Extra Arms keys off of the target's hand rather than their graveyard, and that feels very much like a red-blue spell. I'm not seeing a connection between the flavor and the mechanics. Neat to see the sorcery that Nin, the Pain Artist mastered.

Nowhere in my challenge did I specify that two cards submitted by one designer should be related in some way. Silly me.

Oathsworn Protector transforms into Desperate Guardian, both with vigilance and a compulsion to battle. Flipping must attack to must block is neat, and vigilance goes a long way in keeping both of those relevant. I would change the name 'Protector' to a more aggressive title, because that threw off the flavor for me, but apart from that, forcing the weak side to attack and the powerful side to block seems like a fun line to walk (speaking as someone who enjoys flavorful drawbacks).

Transforming based on doing combat makes sense; I'd also want to test it against something less predictable, like blocks-or-becomes-blocked, but I've little idea which would be better.

Lovely parallel.

Sokenzan Ronin combines bushido, devotion, and DFCs, though I find it more unlikely a single set would contain all three than that a single card (above common) in such a set would. Hand of Sokenzan is double the Ronin, and a nice clean reward for your devotion. I like the names and types too.

It bugs me slightly that when your devotion to red is four, the Ronin will flip back and forth on each of your upkeeps, but that's an artifact of the ultra-strict challenge requirements. What bothers me more is an artifact of secondary card faces having no mana costs, reducing your devotion while face-up. So even if the back side said "three or less" this card would still flip-flop every round (until you get more red permanents). But it's the invisibility of the change to devotion that concerns me more than the flipping.

Firejustice Samurai knows a form of Punishing Fire. One that you can trigger by gaining life yourself. Find a way to grant the Samurai lifelink and you'll reap any number of Lightning Helix x2/3.

Firepain Oni knows a form of Crushing Pain, except that it hits creatures but triggers off of players losing life.

That's a really cool symmetry. Showing how red pairs with white versus how it pairs with black teaches us three color relationships. I like that the Oni is larger, though I wish it weren't quite as inefficient, relatively. 4/4 for {2}{B}{R} would be fair at rare, and I think these might need to be rare anyhow.

Here's a neat pairing of cards I'm not sure I would have ever thought of. They are the exact same card functionally, but with different art and flavor, like Summit Prowler from Khans and Dragons of Tarkir. Presumably, Screaming Fury will also demonstrate a shift in the story/setting of its plane. Clever.

As a card, three mana is a bit much for a haste effect (because you also need to cast the creature) and +5/+0 can be tricky to profit from at sorcery speed. Even together, Screaming Fury will be high variance, though granting late-game value to early drops should not be dismissed. But the card needn't be a high-pick to be a worthy design.

Someone reversed the order of the art? Interesting. So what are the options on this split card…?

Sound is half Trumpet Blast, half Barrage of Boulders. Fury is Flameshot Strike from two weeks ago. The combination is almost a Command: We're choosing two effects out of four, we just don't have as many permutations to consider. One side of the card is good when you and/or the enemy have a lot of creatures, the other when you and/or the enemy have just one or so. Seems like a good place for a split card.

Both names fit their text and their art pretty well, and "The sound and the fury" is a solid fit as split card names go. Cool.

Treacherous Reinforcements is a 2/2 for one mana, provided you've got a 1-/3+ so that its fight doesn't kill anything, or no other creatures to target, or a reason to want one or two of your creatures to die. Treacherous Demon's text is identical as this challenge defines it, but creating a 5/5 for three, such that you well might be willing to sacrifice a smaller creature for it. That's pretty cool.

I see no reason these aren't both just creatures with ETB effects.

When I first scanned Reinforcements, I thought it hit opposing creatures. That's much stronger and still arguably fine: It's a slow Shock/Disfigure that'll give you a free creature if you 'waste' it on something tiny.

How have we not seen p/t-switching and Act of Treason combined before? It's a cool thematic combination, and should actually be pretty fun to play. I love Twisted Betrayal. I declare this design inevitable. Could probably get away with costing {2}{R}.

Vengeful Ronin hulks out when one of her comrades dies. Her inner demon (double her size) is sated when one of her enemies dies. It's simple and poetic. Very cool.

I made this challenge extremely narrow and yet you still managed to surprise and delight me with your submissions. I'm impressed with the quality of execution on the 'obvious' designs and pleased with the creativity behind the less obvious designs. One of you even figured out that you could totally submit a single card with one piece of art if the other options felt too restrictive. You earned the community's title of artisans this week for sure.

Thanks to Ipaulsen for rendering the cards.


  1. I'm still really surprised that I was the only one that submitted just a single card. So much of design is knowing your restrictions and finding solutions that end in the best design.

    Also cool to see my earlier design (Flameshot Strike) got a mention!

  2. These are really great! I'm impressed with the DFC designs and all the Kamigawa throwbacks. Kudos to everyone who submitted an entry. I was at my brother's wedding this weekend, but I peeked in to see the challenge and had no idea what I would have done.

  3. Well done everyone!

    Just as a note, Screaming Fury is a reprint from Mirrodin block.

  4. "Treacherous" needs to be a sorcery in order to require a valid target to cast it. If it was a creature you could just cast it with nothing in play and fight nothing.

    1. Right you are.
      And here I said you could cast it with no other creatures.
      Egg face.

  5. "Nowhere in my challenge did I specify that two cards submitted by one designer should be related in some way. Silly me."

    :) Guilty as charged. In fact, my Mel side clearly wanted to see if you could create two cards that played differently and had different mechanics, despite the same text, I found it hard to resist seeing if it was possible.