Thursday, February 25, 2016

CCDD 022516—Jury-Rig

Cool Card Design of the Day
2/23/2016 - Inspired by Devin's initial Spotlight Challenge submission, I wanted to find a mechanic that combined unearth with a way to get your artifact into the graveyard, like cycling. That led me to something similar to dash.

Rook is big for a common, but very hard to cast (like an Eldrazi). Jury-Rig allows you to attack for 6 for less than a Lava Axe.

Glittering Totem is most likely too dangerous now, since it doesn't require any work beyond staying above 2 life on turn 1. Sexy though.

Here's a much safer version, that rewards more jury-rigging:

Exarch of the Singularity and Teetering Wellspring show how jury-rigging some cards is even better than casting them permanently.

Shoddy Replicant is our haste clone. Can't get the double-blue? Need your clone now? Jury-rig it. Maybe it's jury-rig cost could be just {3}?

Shrine of Ish-Behah is an amazing permanent, but sometimes you need help getting to the point where you can cast seven-mana spells, and this is a mythic cycling trigger.

There are a surprising number of ways to use Jury-Rig.Here's a bunch more cards if you're still curious about the mechanic:

There are situations I'd pay {3} for a sorcery that makes my creatures indestructible. If I happen to have double that and can make it permanent, awesome.

I kept thinking the default use for jury-rig should be to draw you a card to replace the one you're losing, but every time I started designing that card, I found something more interesting.

You could definitely make some jury-rig costs costs colors. Temporal Gate could be free to activate but cost {WU} to jury-rig. Shining Steed could have jury-rig {2G}; Teetering Wellspring {2}{U}; Exarch of the Singularity {2B}{2B}. It all depends whether the set wants hybrid, twobrid, colored activations, and/or colored artifacts.

Gah! I can't stop designing…


  1. I tried something similar with "Erupt", see: I liked the idea, but found it difficult to cost them so casting the jury-rig cost was attractive without being too swingy. You may have done better than I did, I'm not sure.

    I do like a lot of these! The mechanic can be combined with a lot of different types of creature and enter/leave battlefield effects so there's quite a bit of design space.

    I have a personal expectation, that anything that looks like a "fixed" Lotus Petal, is going to be broken. Admittedly, that may only be true in eternal formats, in standard Glittering Totem may be fine.

    1. The only thing that might make the 2-life Glittering Totem printable is how unlikely you are to get two of them in your opening hand. I suppose it also matters to the format how many cards become too good when you cast them a turn earlier. IDK. Probably busted.

    2. I'm genuinely not sure. It seems like ONE lotus petal shouldn't make a big difference to a format, especially if it produces colourless. Most of the uses depend on having a critical mass of fast mana and combo pieces, especially ones which allow you to recur the fast mana from a graveyard.

      But on the other hand, wizards seem to have followed the principle of NOT printing any 0-cost mana-producing non-lands of any sort.

      Maybe the problem is, if it's not broken, it tends not to be useful? I'm not sure.

  2. This seems like a fun mechanic. I'm not a big fan of the wellspring and and cleric with the higher jury-rig cost but I might feel differently if the first set in the block had lots of jury-rig and they were in the second set. My favorite ones here are the Imperial Guard and Battlefield Engineer.

  3. Replies
    1. I don't like giving lords to mechanics defined by a downside that remove the downside (see also Lord of the Unreal).

    2. I'd prefer to obviate the downside in another way, such as "Whenever a Jury-Rigger permanent you control dies, draw two cards."

  4. Great mechanic, and largely great designs, except for Desert Drakerunner which has active dis-synergy with its own ability.

    1. It is very believable that Dash could have started out as this mechanic, and been developed to its current state.

  5. The comparison to Dash makes me wonder how difficult this may be to develop. Losing an entire card worth of value means that the Jury-Rig costs will have to be quiet a lot lower to compensate. But will this make extremely fast aggro or combo decks the only beneficiaries of this mechanic?

  6. I like this, but I wonder if it wouldn't just be better to go the Dash route. The drawback of using it only once is nice, and makes it very easy to push - but it means the costs are so aggressive (generally) that it would have a much higher variance in how good it is on a board for its Jury-Rig cost, compared to Dash. In addition, it has far more negative feelings. There's a reason Dash returned to hand rather than sacrificed, I think.

    Still, this is a fascinating mechanic and I think it's very promising.