Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Weekend Music Challenge Review 052016

Hey Artisans. Today I'm reviewing this weekend's music-inspired challenge. Let's see what you all came up with.

Music: The Bard's Song by Blind Guardian
Art: Cover Art for Album by Leo Hao

Fog seems like a good effect to be tied to bards and music. Bard tribal is a nonstarter though - the few bards magic has had have been shamans or rogues. I'm not sure how much I like waylay. I'd really have to play with it to get a good sense. The mechanic fits nicely in W and probably U, but seems like it might not been an effect we want in enough volume so as to justify a keyword.

Music: Behind Blue Eyes by The Who
Art: Modified SoI Key Art

Planeswalker tutoring is currently in White, but Black is the Queen of tutors, so tutoring subsets work as well. This seems... broken. Like really broken. In limited not as much, but a constructed deck built around this would be bonkers. Maybe if it was XBB and X had to be less than or equal to the number of creatures that died this turn I could see it being developable. That said, Planeswalkers matter is a fun design area to explore.

Music: Brave Shrine by Aimer

The submission was ambiguous as to whether the indestructible lasted until end of turn or was indefinite, so I didn't muck with the templating. Assuming that it's permanent invincibility, that's a cool effect, although it presents memory issues. Those could be solved with a +1/+1 counter (or -1/-1 in the right set, which makes for some cool tension). If it's a temporary effect, that's a very narrow design. Not without its uses, but I like a little more flexibility or purpose in my rares.

Music: Dragula by Rob Zombie

I haven't heard that song in ages. In any case, Fugue initially buried the card three turns later instead of five. Five is definitely better from a variance standpoint. Without card draw, you won't be recasting this more than once or twice.

Buyback for time instead of mana is a cool space to play in. This is another card I'd have to playtest before knowing if it's fun or not. It looks cool, but is the five turn delay enough to get around the repetition? How many cards can host fugue in a set? I would guess more than five but less than ten, which is reasonable.

Music: Being in Love With U by Tomppabeats
Art: touchedbyred

Green has exactly one card in the history of magic that grants an extra turn, so this is almost certainly in the wrong color. I'd put it in blue, although I could see this working in White. This definitely needs some templating work as well. As submitted you could cast it during a second main phase, negating a decent amount of the downside. I'm not sure if that was intentional or not, but it's going to raise a lot of questions unless that's clarified.

Music: Conquest of Spaces by Woodkid
Art: TK769

That is a very cool land design and great use of imprint. I'm wondering if exiling all revealed non-lands is a better way to handle this, rather than fussing with putting things under your library. I could see this being either a rare or mythic rare, depending on what else is going on in the set.

Music: Gavony Lullaby by Visible Spaces

I kept alternating between wanting the flickering creatures to come back tapped because flavor, but ultimately decided that this was a cleaner and better design.

Music: Across the Universe by The Beatles

I like these dual lands. It reminds me of River of Tears, probably intentionally so. There are issues with having DFCs with a land on the back. Players may think they can play either side face up, which, absent some changes to DFC rules or having exceptions written out on the cards, they can't. Reminder text may help. I wasn't sure if dreamscape was meant to keep the land tapped upon transformation. I don't think that's a necessary drawback.

As a nitpick, I'm not sure that this is a cyclable design. If you have five of these in standard, I could see player's having to analyze their mana at the start of each turn to figure out what needs to transform becoming somewhat cumbersome. If it was part of a loose cycle (ahem, like River of Tears), I think it would stand a much better chance.

Music: Voodoo Child by Jimi Hendrix

Colorless Eldrazi frames look weird without art. Anyway, I'm amazed that Recreate hasn't been taken as a cardname yet. The card feels very Eldrazi, so I'm on board with that. There is some tension in that sometimes you are going to want to use this to get yourself some Wastes, but won't be able to cast it for lack of colorless sources.

Art: Google Image Search?
Poem: Percy Bysshe Shelley

That's a nifty little design. It's an example of good tension. Two decks want to use this card: Control wants it to discourage attacking and to wrath if things get out of hand. Tammy wants this so she can make it friggin huge. One deck sees the second line as upside, the other sees it as the high risk to the high reward of the first line. Nevinyrral approves.

Music: Voodoo Lady by Ween

Here's an example of tension that's not as good. Delirium decks have a great incentive to dump stuff into the graveyard, but don't gain anything from doing it after they've hit the threshold four types. By having an ability that feeds delirium but only works after it's already on, you're sending some very mixed messages to the player. An alternative would be to penalize the player for activating it without delirium, so it can help turn itself on, but works even earlier. Maybe it won't untap without delirium, or you lose life for activating the ability unless you're delirious?

Music: Paper Boats from the Transistor OST

I'm always intrigued by the enchant two creatures idea, but this is a compelling argument against it. This is reminiscent of early magic templating, which is not what we should be nostalgic about (of course they just reprinted Animate Dead for Eternal Masters, so what the heck do I know?). I really do get the appeal of the idea, but there are so many strikes against it, in terms of logistics (if I enchant two creatures controlled by different players, as this card wants me to do, where do I put the card? On my creature? On yours? In the red zone?), and player confusion (what does surviving creature mean? Which creature is being referred to at what point in the rules text?). Takklemaggot approves.


Well, on that (somewhat harsh, critical) note, I'm really happy with how this exercise turned out. Art is a great place to start when designing a card, but inspiration can come from so many other sources. Well done Artisans.


  1. Thanks for the unique challenge, zeff! I was fiddling with some alternative ways to make green messing with time still feel green, and this was my favorite result:

    Eternal Summer 1G
    At the beginning of your next turn, draw a card. During that turn, you may play an additional land, and opponents can’t cast spells.

    1. That looks much better, although delayed effects like that are something to keep an eye on, especially if there's nothing happening immediately. What would happen if it had rebound and did the same effect this turn as well?

    2. "Two Explores" sounds pretty good to me. Maybe 2G?

      You can imagine a setting where Green has a foothold on Rebound to show life and nature re-blossoming from a desolated, dessicated, or industrialized environment. Growth, by repeated inches.

      Mossdog Grasswhistle 2G
      Put a 2/2 Plant Wolf creature token onto the battlefield. It has "this creature gets +1/+1 for each Plant creature you control."

      Reclaim from Stone 1G
      Put target card from your graveyard on top of your library.

      Sylvan Struggle 1G
      Target creature you control fights another target creature.

  2. Thanks for running this novel challenge, Zefferal. Lots of really cool designs came of it.

    1. My pleasure. We had a nice spread of card types, colors, and rarities this week (although not having to design to art helps with that)

  3. I think Behind Blue Eyes can work if you can't get PWs with crazy + abilities, so limiting it to CMC 5- is another solution. If costing 4 and getting PWs worth 4- turns out to be a good power level for it, that would be pretty. (But I have no idea what's fair b/c it's so weird.)

    1. My big concern is just the sheer amount of utility you get out of having four of these (plus recursion effects) and a huge selection of singleton PWs in any color for whatever effect you need at that particular moment. If you're able to consistently make this work with an immediate ultimate of your choice, that sets off my (admittedly less-than-keen) developer sense. It would require a lot of playtesting, but I could see it being a very fun effect if the right knobs were turned and levels calibrated.

    2. Also, am I the only one that got my stupid CSI joke?

    3. Does it go deeper than the trenchcoat and Jace-as-detective?

      The X = deaths-this-turn bit could allow you to get a planeswalker ready to ultimate (or two if you get enough creatures killed and mana, and have two copies), but I have trouble imagining a player building up an engine where they can cast Behind Blue Eyes multiple times with enough loyalty each time to do anything degenerate, because protecting a combo that can not only sacrifice a bunch of creatures every turn, but generate a bunch would be very difficult.

    4. Just that all CSI shoes have a who song for their opening credits

  4. I quite like eternal summer. I agree extra turns are almost always blue, but it makes sense that occasionally another colour gets an in-colour version of the ability. We've not seen one in green, but "extra card, extra land, extra untap phase" are all green things so it made sense to me.

    1. I'm strongly in favor of getting out of the mindset that all the game's core resources except Life and Mana belong to blue exclusively: Cards, Turns, Spells.

  5. +1 million for using "Paper Boats". So good.