Tuesday, March 22, 2016

CCDD 032216—Dwarven tribal through synergies not subtypes

Cool Card Design of the Day
3/22/2016 - I was reading Sam Stod's article about designing tribal for Shadows over Innistrad and thinking about how making a tribe work together through effects that name its subtype is so different from giving all those cards mechanical synergy. Without spelling it out for players, you're giving them a very intuitive archetype that will play well, but isn't chained to the subtype.

So I decided to grab an under-respresented tribe and try this new strategy out. Here follow 21 new cards.


  1. This is wonderful! The mechanic is solid, but I think it could be a 'may', just to maximize good gameplay.

    The mechanical themes are extremely tightly connected to the flavorful ones, and I'm very impressed by that. Milling=mining is clever, and checking for colorless cards works for both lands and artifacts, which is delightful.

    The other cards have some interesting themes, but I don't think you need mechanics like the Haulers that much.

    Mining Collapse is fantastic, what a fun 'gambling' red uncommon that you can still play 'safe'. Very nice!

    And Desperate Djinn is actually exactly a card I was thinking of, though I was going to make a black demon card called "Dug Too Deep". :)

  2. To me the Mine mechanic feels annoyingly random but I do really like the flavor that dwarves like milling colorless cards.

    For Mine Collapse I would put a limit on it (10, 15?). I don't think it should be too easy to get any number of cards into your yard in a deck with cards like Laboratory Maniac or Boneyard Wurm.

    1. Yeah. I left a limit off Mine Collapse for elegance, but I think Dev would require some limit for those reasons +dredge +delve.

  3. Oh cool. I really like the "cards that work well together, and clearly go together, but you don't HAVE to restrict yourself" thing. I like tribal, but I always feel a little constrained that there's a hard limit on which cards are "in".

    And it makes it more viable to create or resurrect less well supported tribes, if they have more out-of-tribe synergy with older cards.

    And I feel the "mine" flavour could do with a little bit of tweaking, but it seems like a good home for w/r dwarves, that was a really good idea.

    I realise the point isn't about the specific cards, but I wonder if "Mine" could say something like "Put the top card of your library into your graveyard. If a colourless card was put into your graveyard from your hand or library this turn, do X" so they synergise with each other without triggering multiple times?

    And I agree inconsistent bonuses are annoying, but I love the mine flavour a lot. I wonder if there's any tweak. Maybe "When this attacks, put the top card from your library into your graveyard, then you may exile a colorless card from your graveyard. If you do, xxx"? That's fiddlier, but allows more synergy and a little bit more consistency.

    1. The desire for a successful mining from one miner to to affect another was what led to haul, but I quite like your solution to merge the two. I'm not seeing the benefit of the exile version.

    2. Yeah, I noticed that about Haul. Possibly they could be combined in a way that feels natural.

      Well, I think the exile version is fiddly so it's probably not worth it, but the reason I suggested it is:

      1. Mine benefits from other mill cards, not only vice versa.

      2. It feels bad for many players, both spikes and timmies, to attack for several turns with L'il Miner and get the +1/+1 bonus, and then the opponent plays a 1/2 and suddenly you're forced to gamble whether the bonus comes out. I think "inconsistent bonus" is good, but "surprising bonus" is attractive in much fewer situations. The exile version allows you to choose to forgo the bonus in order to save it up for a future attack.

    3. Oh, and another really minor miner point. I keep feeling like it should trigger off *colored* cards, like, the dwarves keep digging through rock to get to gems. But I agree, dwarves mining *for* colorless stone makes just as much sense, so I don't *think* it's a problem.

    4. I like this kind of Synergy Tribal. For this specific implementation of Mine, here's another version that gives the bonus before you commit to an attack.

      Mine - At the beginning of combat you may put the top card of your library into your graveyard.
      CARDNAME gets +1/+1 if a colorless card was put into your graveyard from your library this turn.

    5. Might as well make it upkeep.

      If I stack these mine triggers from three dwarves and the second one reveals a colorless card, it and the third benefit, but the first doesn't. Which is okay, just slightly odd.

    6. We could separate those abilities, though.

      At the beginning of your upkeep, you may mine. (Put the top card of your library into your graveyard.)
      Whenever a colorless card goes to your graveyard from your hand or library, [scalable effect].

    7. We could also make mine smoothing all on its own.

      At the beginning of your upkeep, mine. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put it into your graveyard.)
      The first time a colorless card goes to your graveyard from your hand or library each turn, [single effect].

    8. Mine n (At the beginning of your upkeep you may put the top n cards of your library into your graveyard.)

      Whenever you mine a colorless card (effect)


    9. "Whenever you mine" doesn't allow sideways combos and makes the mechanic parasitic, but it's also much safer to develop, allowing more powerful-looking cards.

  4. Did you consider making haulers benefit from a colorless cards going to your graveyard from anywhere. It seems like they would like sacrificing lands and using artifacts that explode as much as they like discarding them. I'm not sure if you would want to do anything with tokens.
    I think that if you combine miners and haulers there should be a "once per turn" so they aren't too exponential. If they are supposed to be somewhat aggressive then I don't want to feel too bad loosing a few in combat.

    1. That's probably best. Counting cards moving from library to gy is the dangerous part, so if that's in, mise well count all.