Thursday, May 5, 2016

CCDD 050516—Serpent of the Black Sea & Spear of a Vengeful Sea

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/5/2016 - Two more simple serpents, both reactive.

This one will rarely get to attack, since your opponent is unlikely to attack into it with a small ground creature unless it wins her the game. Something like Dual Shot or Pyroclasm could let you turn it on yourself.

This one you can't turn on yourself at all (well, short of an Alluring Siren), but it will get to attack in more situations, like when your opponent has evasion and either a decent block or sufficient chump blockers.


  1. Regarding Serpent of the Black Sea, I think in general a card that juuuust said "if this has been dealt damage," wouldn't work super well, and a card that just said "if this has attacked this game," seems worse, but by tying them together you create a common that will almost certainly be trackable even by new players.

    Is that generalizable? Can we expect that tying two prominent game actions together will usually cross the invisible line between "trackable" and "non-trackable?"

    1. I'm not sure I'm following. Can you share an example design to show what you mean?

      I believe the biggest factor in tracking invisible states is their immediate relevance to the game, followed closely by how much intentional effort it takes to reach a state. Resonance could help as can acting/emotion. Suppose a card encourages players to shout "REVENGE!" the first time it's damaged; players would remember that state.

    2. At first the card puzzled me. Event 1, taking damage, and Event 2, having attacked, are both invisible game states, and but when you have to track BOTH of them, it becomes easier? Seems unintuitive, but it also seems that we both think it's true in this case.

      You couldn't print a card with "Whenever this creature is dealt damage, it gains vigilance," because now event 2 makes it HARDER to see if event 1 happened.

      You could probably print a rare that said "At the beginning of your upkeep, if ~ has been dealt damage, draw a card," because card draw something both players are focused on.

      Anyway, I think the mysterious reason why adding two invisible things works in the case is that it's directional. Event 1 HAS to precede event 2, and event 2 (attacking with a big creature) is a large, visible event that both characters are focused on, so once it happens, you no longer need to track Event 1.

    3. Ahh. Yes.
      The main value of creatures is attacking, and you really want to attack with your 5/5, so you're focused on the damage trigger that will allow it. Once you're there, it becomes a vanilla 5/5, which is easy.

  2. I could also see the card as:

    *having defender until you are damaged
    *having defender until a creature you control is damaged
    *Defeder. CARDNAME must attack if able. If you or a permanent you control is damaged it looses defender until the end of your next turn.