Friday, February 19, 2016

Weekend Art Challenge 021916—gold synergy

Weekend Art Challenge
Hello all! Anastase here. This week we are re-examining this:

Money makes the world go round, they say. While trying not to gild the lily, I would love to see you all explore cards that care about gold, either by generating gold or by requiring gold.

Here are the illustrations you can use:

A) by patrickmcevoy

B) by darkness

C) by jakobhansson

Furthermore, I would like you to specify how the card you submit synergizes with at least two other cards you imagine that are in this gold-themed set.
Bonus points if these two cards were cards submitted by other artisans in previous comments.

Each artisan can submit one card, but is free to update it as many times as they feel they need. I will review the submissions on Monday.

Good crafting everyone!


  1. Oooh. Fun. I remember designing quite a few gold producing cards when we had the Nostalgia challenge. Here is the link to the MSE file:

    I'll most likely choose one of those cards to submit sometime later, but most of those cards would be in the same set, along with their inspiration, Una Rioghain. (You can search this website for Una to find the card if you don't remember or don't know.)

    1. The mono color taverns would be printed in the first set, and then the dual color taverns would be in the second set.

      That's my submission, the mono color tavern cycle on there.

  2. I fear this week's challenge lack the usual visibility with the way the designer challenge 3 has been fixed to the top of the blog :(

    1. Is looking at the blog homepage actually how most people visit the blog? I tacitly assumed most people used the RSS feed like I do.

    2. Even that way, the challenge appeared on the feed two days ago normally but was not really available at the time. Or perhaps this challenge is not too popular. They cannot all be winners after all.

    3. I certainly look at the home paage. FWIW, I was quite excited about the challenge, but I wasn't sure how to make cards that synergised with other particular gold cards, other than just "everything that calls out gold cards specifically synergises with cards that make it".

    4. This only appeared yesterday? And yes, I agree that 'synergize with other Gold cards' is a weird extra rider.

    5. caring about number of artifacts, having a set that has heavy color requirements ({1}{R}{R}{R}) but still is able to play 2+ color decks, cards that require you to give gold to opponents...

      There are many ways to do this. It secretly is more of a design three cards that belong to the same set, and show me one, and tell me about what cards it synergies with.

      Presenting a 2 color draft archetype is a way to do this for example.

    6. It would be in the spirit to, eg. submit a gold-producing card that synergises with metalcraft, and an example of a metalcraft card, even though most gold-producing cards would synergise with most metalcraft cards? If so, that totally makes sense, but I wasn't really sure of it from the challenge description. Not so much it's hard, though maybe that as well, as I wasn't sure if it was hard or not.

      I also think, I was confused between the suggestions of synergising with other submitted cards (which may often not suggest a mechanical theme) and with a card hinting at another theme of the set (which might not be directly gold-related even if it works well with it). I think either would be fine, but I wasn't sure if we needed to do *both*.

      However, looking at what you intended, I think the problem (if any) was in describing the challenge, sorry, but don't be put off by a lukewarm reaction, I think the challenge was a really good idea and I'd really like to see more challenges like that.

  3. I'll fully admit, I'm not sure what direction to take cards for this theme. The first art looks more like scheme artwork, which seems like something that can't be supported outside of precon products - would make an amazing scheme, though. Maybe giving them Gold for the choice to screw over a teammate? The second and third pieces are more promising, but the problem then becomes potential complexity issues with lan...


    (Third art)
    Ancient Stash
    Land (r)
    T: Add C to your mana pool.
    T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Target opponent may put a colorless Artifact token named Gold onto the battlefield. That token has "Sacrifice Gold: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool."

    I don't think it's possible to make a GOLD themed card at common without either keywording an ability - like "ETB: Gild (You may discard a card. If you do, put a Gold token onto the battlefield)". You could certainly focus on the 'artefact matters' side of the Gold token and add something like Metallic Mastery to the set or such.

    But that's not the question, here's the philosophy for this card: Each colour probably has a different way of distributing gold out:
    White: Bounty stuff (Divine Verdict, controller gets gold, etc)
    Blue: Alchemy (Transmute creatures into gold, or just put tokens onto the field.)
    Black: Stealing (Split Second control effects or needing to hit players to get Gold tokens.)
    Red: Looting (Looter il-Kor but you discard to get gold.)
    Green: Probably doesn't get involved, might hose gold strategies by requiring its creatures to be cast without paying gold.
    Having a land that forcibly gives opponents Gold could give some draft strategies advantages, or it might simply be a 'disadvantageless' City of Brass/Forbidden Orchard if you're killing them soon after. Either way, it's a natural choice for the artwork.

  4. Mercenary Reinforcements {3}{B}{B}

    Creature - Human Mercenary (rare)

    Whenever ~ deals combat damage to a player, .

    When ~ leaves the battlefield, you may sacrifice two . If you do, return ~ to it's owner's hand.


    For a set with a Gold theme, I would have the template be: "gain 1 Gold. (A Gold is an artifact token with "Sacrifice Gold: add one mana of any color to your mana pool.")" and "sacrifice two Gold".

  5. I have two speculations as to why this challenge doesn't appear to be as popular as ones past.

    A. "Synergy" is not a very compelling headline.
    B. This challenge is more complicated than its low word-count would appear to indicate.

    Let's take a look at its moving parts:

    1) Design a card.
    1a) It has to care about Gold in some way.
    1b) It has to match one of the provided arts.

    So far, no big, right? Well, moving on:

    2) Design a card OR, for bonus points, choose a fellow designer's card.
    2a) It has to belong in the same set as card 1).
    2b) It has to have "synergy" with card 1) in some way.
    3) Repeat step 2) for another card.

    4) Envision how cards 1)-3) do NOT have synergy with at least some of the cards in the hypothetical gold-themed set. (See: Contagion Clasp, which is pretty underwhelming on paper, but between metalcraft and infect got extra value in just about any deck that wasn't RG Dinosaurs, making it a rather goodstuffy card in that format overall.) Normally you wouldn't have to, but this matters because...

    5) Write up an explanation of all of the above accompanying cards 1)-3).

    That's almost a mini Spotlight challenge. It's a lot more time consuming than it looks. I ended up designing a rare as my card 1) and some commons for 2) and 3), and I'm still not sure how well it fits the challenge because the "synergy" will almost never be realized in Limited, due to my marquee card being a rare.

    Cards will go up in a bit, but for now, I'll post one of the cards that didn't make the cut:

    Drazhar’s Hoard 4
    Artifact (U)
    T: Put a colorless artifact token named Gold onto the battlefield. It has "Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool."

    This is the card I would have submitted if the only requirements were 1).

    1. If that's why not a lot of people are submitting, then they have wrong viewpoint about the WAC. It's meant to be a fun thing to do, to submit some ideas and see what others think. The so called "guidelines" aren't an inhibitation, but more of something to get your creative juices flowing. If you just want to submit a card with no explanation, then that's fine! Hell, you could even submit a card that has nothing to do with gold, and it would still be gladly reviewed by Anastase.

      For instance, Jay had a WAC one time where he asked for an uncommon non-creature spell. I didn't read the challenge fully and accidentally submitted a rare creature. I said that I made a mistake and was going to resubmit when everyone encouraged me to disregard the guidelines, including Jay himself.

      The point is, people should feel free to submit whatever card idea they want, whatever they think the art is trying to do. And they want to put in the extra work, then that's up to them.

  6. After mulling for a while, I came up with several designs I liked.

    Crooked Accountant [Submission]
    Creature - Human Rogue
    The first time each turn any player sacrifices a gold token for mana, it also adds {1} to your mana pool.

    Destroy target land. It's controller adds two gold artifact tokens with "Sacrifice this: Add one mana of any colour to your mana pool."

    Filigree-Wrought Canon
    ~ deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
    Opulent - If ~'s mana cost was paid entirely with mana from gold, it deals 4 damage instead.~

    I think Opulent is most intersting. I really really wanted to call it "gilt" but I thought that might be confusing. But it didn't seem to fit any of the art.

    Foreclose is also interesting -- paying back gold for destroying a land is one of the few designs that (a) can set back your opponent's mana development in the long term (b) get rid of problematic lands but (c) not mana screw them in the short term. It's probably still unprintable, but gold tokens seemed like such a good time to try it it would be a waste not to.

    But I think the best submission is Crooked Accountant with the second art. It synergises with Foreclose because it benefits from your opponents having gold tokens. And it synergises with Opulent because there's more chance of paying for a 2-cost spell entirely with gold (and because using an instant opulent spell in your opponent's turn lets you re-use Crooked Accountant's bonus on your turn).

  7. Drazhar, King of Thieves 3UB
    Legendary Creature - Human Rogue (R)
    Spells that target Drazhar, King of Thieves and/or other Rogues you control cost an additional UB to cast.
    If a colorless artifact token named Gold would enter the battlefield, instead put a +1/+1 counter on Drazhar and draw a card.

    In a vacuum, Drazhar doesn't look all that special. Psuedo-hexproof 3/3 for 5cmc, even one that buffs all your Rogues, is not terribly efficient. It's with Drazhar's second ability that he can really start to show his full power. That UB requirement looks hard to meet - but not in a set full of Gold production - but with Drazhar on the field, no one gets any more Gold. Not even you! Of course, to make the best use of this ability, you will need cards that can produce Gold (as it's unlikely your opponent will oblige). Enter this card:

    Blood Money 2B
    Sorcery (C)
    Blood Money deals 3 damage to each opponent. For each opponent dealt damage this way, put a colorless artifact token named Gold onto the battlefield. It has "Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool."

    Black has no cards in this set that just produce gold - all its gold production is a secondary effect on a card that hurts the opponent in some way. Blood Money is not the most efficient card in a vacuum (at least in duels) - though it does ramp you to a turn-4 Drazhar, it doesn't so as well as something like Cultivate. But with Drazhar's ability, you can squeeze a lot of value out of that one gold coin.

    For a less violent approach, we turn to blue:

    Adept Briber 1U
    Creature — Human Rogue (C)
    T: Tap target creature. Its controller puts a colorless artifact token named Gold onto the battlefield under his or her control. It has "Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool."

    Blue's theme in this set is giving your opponents gold to gain beneficial effects elsewhere. The Briber is an extremely efficient tapper, though there's a steep price for using her too often too early - your opponent gets to ramp! Later in the game, of course, abundance of mana generally makes the extra gold irrelevant. The Briber pulls double duty with Drazhar as well. The gold she offers end up powering him up, but she can also tap down any annoying blockers that might get in his way. Adept Briber is also a Rogue, so she gains Drazhar's ward against targeted spells as well.

    Set theme notes: This set takes place on Kleimont, the same plane as 5/10/2013 ("City") and 9/4/2015 ("Nostalgia"), but in a different part of the plane. The legend is named after an old RPG character I had who specialized in Thievery and Weaponry, and I thought it would be fun to resurrect him here.

  8. Hi, i was travelling this weekend, but i thougt about this challenge. I personally think that lands could support a gold sinergy based set:

    Abandoned Traderute
    Abandoned Traderute enters the battlefield tapped.
    When Abanoned Traderute enters the battlefield, put a colorless artifact token named gold with "Sacrifice this artifact: add C to your mana pool."
    T: Add R to your mana pool.

    The idea would be a simple cycle, Unlooted Catacombs would be the black one, etc.

    They are strong on turn 1, but later in the game it would make you to decide if use the token to normalize your curve or to wait and gain ramp. I think is difficult to balance the fact that not all colors should be capable of ramp.

    1. Ups, i just see the land cycle in Zeno Rage... sory for that. The tavern subtype makes sense.

    2. I missread the gold tokens. They add mana of any color... so this cycle of lands is just busted couse they are strictly better basic lands. I would change the design to balance that matter.

      Abanoned Traderute
      Land - U
      Abandoned Traderute enters the battlefield tapped.
      When Abanoned Traderute enters the battlefield, put a colorless artifact token named gold with "Sacrifice this artifact: add one mana of any color to your mana pool."
      T: Add C to your mana pool.

    3. Sorry about the misunderstanding. That's my fault entirely, as I should have gave an actual description here on the website.

      Saturday is usually the best day to submit your idea, as you can get more feedback from people.

    4. Damn! I did not see it before I sent the renders to Jay :( I like abandoned traderoute, it is yet another cool design!

    5. Thanks for the support! Next chalenge i hope i can make something worth submiting!

    6. It was already worth submitting, the only thing is that I finished the review and sent it to Jay an hour before you posted.
      I did not check to see if others had submitted until I got to work, and by that point I did not have access to my home pc to use MSE to make your cards...

  9. Pile of Gold {1}{G}
    [the bottom third of patrickmcevoy's illustration]
    Enchantment (unc)
    At your upkeep, gain 1 life for each gold you control. If you control no gold, put a gold token OTB.

    It's the sneakiest Birds of Paradise ever. We don't usually think of green as valuing material wealth, but it fits best mechanically, and if you think of green not as the color of nature, but philosophically, as the color of growth and of maintaining the social order, it actually makes total sense. Disturbingly so, the more I realize banks and nobility are at least as green as they are black.

    1. Pile of Gold synergizes with cards that make gold, and with cards that spend gold.

    2. It is true that mechanically green cares about the material world, and indeed this is a sneaky BoP. However this is not too flavorful for green.

      I might have tried to change it to more of a "dead in the forest, your gold accumulates here" kind of vibe?

      Melvin-wise, I love it. If we could reconcile it with vothros it would be amazing.