Monday, January 18, 2016

Weekend Art Challenge Review 011516—juliedillon

Weekend Art Challenge Review
Hey all! Anastase here (a.k.a. Fading Shadows of a memory beloved), taking over the challenge for this week. Here is the challenge we are judging this week.

A thing I liked about the WAC from Jay was that it forced us to do top-down design to fit the image while usually also providing us with restrictions and/or bonus points. Unfortunately we would sometimes focus more on the restriction than on the art itself. I believe that to be a trap, since a large part of what makes magic what it is, is the attention it provides to both Melvin and Vorthos. Enough rambling however, let's see some cards:

Czynski submitted this card that fits the flavor of the art quite well. The question is: is this good enough ramp for common? Or is this more of a graveyard filling card for only {G}? I find there is a narrow enough loop to jump through to justify the effect and am wondering if we could not scale it up. Interesting design space that warrants more exploration.

I was kind of intimidated to comment and judge on Jay’s cards. But comment I did, and we did get a very unique effect out of the second submission. This is the kind of pacifism effect blue tends to get these days and I am surprised we have not seen exactly this card printed before.

The skies are full is a very unique effect proposed by Ben Heaton. As AlexC notes in the comments:
"Best against a swarm of similar-sized fliers, since it will leave the single biggest flier alive, which means it doesn't really answer bomb fliers. All it really does is make the opponent choose not to cast their second 3/2 flier. But that's fine for an uncommon."
I have to concur. It is neat to have that double take of "wait, I can have his own creatures fight the new creatures! That way the opponent is limited in "big booty" fliers like azure drake or has to kill his weaker fliers when dropping an apex predator...

The name and interpretation of Zeno Rage’s card are good, but the card itself is slightly too powerful: you get to kill all attacking creatures 99% of the time (bearing first and double strike, indestructibility and pinging effects) and/or get a huge army of flying critters. Compare this with cobra trap and aetherize. The initial version costed {2}{G}{U} but Zeno updated his submission to a more appealing CMC of 5. That was a possible solution. Otherwise losing the death touch would fix this and give us an interesting card. However these are more development concerns than design ones. All in all, an interesting card.

Jenesis has an interesting take on the art: these are the heads of a hydra! As she points out we do not tend to get hydras at uncommon, but it could be possible in a world where they are more prevalent…

This is a good silver bullet that deals with a lot of little pesky fliers and you can attack through a big one due to the tapping. Could easily see it as an instant. Often we forget that the nuts and bolts of a set require cards like this, even in its sorcery implementation.

This week challenge had a bit of an unusual art and all submissions had a neat interpretation of that art in their mechanics.

Some of the designs open up novel ground for more design and some seem like obvious effects that have just not been implemented yet.

On a side note, some of these cards had enough space for a bit of flavor text. What would be your opinion on allowing commenters to suggest flavor text for cards with less than 3 lines of text?

All in all these were very interesting cards. Good job everyone!


  1. Thanks for running this challenge, Anastase.

    Artisans, I need your feedback: Did you appreciate this challenge? Would you like to see more? Is there something we can do to improve it if there is a next time?

    1. I think these guest challenges are a great idea to take the burden off of you while allowing those who want to test their evaluation skills to have a challenge.

      When I'm less crazy busy in a few weeks I'd love to host one.

  2. "a large part of what makes magic what it is, is the attention it provides to both Melvin and Vorthos"

    Yes, well put! Thank you for the challenge, that was good.

    "What would be your opinion on allowing commenters to suggest flavor text for cards with less than 3 lines of text?"

    I think, interesting, but also a possible trap. I think cards without too much rules text usually do and should get flavour text. But I think asking the person who designed the card to suggest it, usually ends up with flavour text that's too focussed on patching over problems with the initial flavour, when really the card needs to stand on its own. Designers don't usually even choose card names. I'd assumed that entries were already _allowed_ to have flavour text, it's just that most people didn't want to.

    Perhaps more interesting would be to have people encouraged to suggest flavour text for OTHER people's entries, either in the original thread or in the review thread?

    1. Yes, precisely, I prefer other people suggesting flavor text for cards that do not have too much text on them. I was not clear enough, but that is how I envisioned it.

    2. Oh, oops, sorry, I misread that. Then yes, that sounds fun, if it doesn't fit there's nothing lost.

  3. "Flock of Snakes"

    I definitely like the idea, although recently I think wizards have been trying to reduce the number of types of token so they can always print token cards for them. If it made 1/1 green snakes, or 1/1 green snakes with deathtouch, (and maybe flying UEOT?) there'd be more chance of doubling it up with another card.

    "Devour the skies"

    Yeah, I'd thought mass-damage usually tended to be sorcery, but when I looked on gatherer, it seemed flying-hate was often an exception. And the card could probably be slightly stronger, I'd forgotten "X damage to each creature with flying" was still regularly printed at uncommon, which suggests 2 damage for 3 is a bit unexciting. At instant, that might be ok.

  4. "Follow the Migration"

    Good question, I'm not sure. Maybe a fixed "reveal 3, put land card, rest on bottom" would be good at G or 1G, though obviously that doesn't fit the art. I think maybe at common, a slightly-less-reliable ramp spell would make sense, especially one that doesn't need shuffling. But needing creatures is maybe TOO conditional.