Wednesday, December 9, 2015

CCDD 120915—Trash the Heirarchy

Cool Card Design of the Day
12/9/2015 - I've explored modern options for land destruction before, looking to make the effect viable where it's needed while avoiding the issues that got Stone Rain excommunicated from modern Magic. Here's another.


  1. Replies
    1. over blood moon. I think that RR destroy target land, cardname costs 2 more to cast if your opponent controls a basic land card would probably be a risk reward option, but still... it is a hard task you have set upon yourself.

    2. That's a strict downside. You could easily reword it to be an upside, though:

      Classy Trashing {2}{R}{R}
      Classy Trashing costs {2} less to cast if an opponent controls no basic lands.
      Destroy target land.

  2. Can I get a "Why" for this.

    I think "because some players liked LD strategies," is not a reason. I think "because we need a sideboard card against Tron in Modern that is affordable," is a possible reason, or "because land destruction is a basic enough effect that it should exist," or "because we need answers for utility lands like Gavony Township in standard."

    I think this particular design probably meets the "basic enough effect" checkbox but not the other two.

    1. The last two are my primary reasons.

    2. That makes sense. I've mused about this a little, because I don't really like denial decks, but I like the intellectual problem of "how do you make land destruction fun without being obnoxious".

      I came roughly to the same conclusion as you, though you say it better. That we just don't really attack mana-fixing lands, either basic lands or non-basics. If non-basics are too good, they should be toned down, not balanced with LD. And maybe LD against mana-fixing non-basics should exist as a VERY niche design. But LD should focus on utility lands.

      It may be hard to embrace that, but if we do, we seem to have more design space. Eg. "destroy target land if its controller controls at least six lands". That would deal with utility lands in many decks that only come online in the long game. While being nearly useless against other lands. It could be balanced at LESS than three mana, maybe.

      Similarly, "Enchant land. It loses all abilities and gains '{T}: add 1 mana of any colour to your mana pool." You'd only play that when you need to, but when you do need to, it's well worth it. I chose enchant rather than "search your library for a basic land card", although I'd prefer to lock in colours, because search slows the game down.

      Now, I'd rather find designs that aren't quite as tempo-negative as those, but maybe cost a bit more, though I'm not quite sure where to find that niche.

      OTOH, maybe you could have tempo LD, if it bounces, or draws the opponent cards, and has some check to stop you using it in multiples. Slowing the opponent down for a turn seems mean, but possibly there's a place for it in some sets, if it slows, not mana screws, without locking them out entirely.

    3. Land destruction is such a tricky area because enabling it on the surface seems to increase deck diversity, but in reality turns off so many otherwise reasonable decks from being viable.

      Thus, in enabling it one has to be super, super precise with what one targets. I think Ghost Quarter does a pretty nice job in this regard. I could imagine some sort of Linvala-esque Legend (not necessarily White) with text like "Abilities of lands your opponents control cannot be activated unless they are mana abilities," but that combination of words alone pretty much pushes it to "unexciting mythic" status.

      As a designer, the aesthetic of land destruction as a basic effect is very appealing, but as a developer, I think any time we print a land destruction effect that sees maindeck play we have probably made a mistake.

    4. Jack's enchant land is pretty similar to Spreading Seas, which saw maindeck play in Standard, though mainly because manabases were fragile at the time. A Utopia Vow take on Spreading Seas would be cool. You could justify it in a multicolour block by pretending it's for use on your own lands (like Nylea's Presence), but have it secretly also have the anti-utility-land mode.

      The "destroy if you control at least six lands" idea reminds me of Tectonic Edge. That had "nonbasic" in there as extra protection, but is otherwise basically what you were suggesting, and does indeed cost less than three :)