Thursday, September 1, 2016

Weekend Art Challenge Review 082616 - Kyndir

Weekend Art Challenge Review
Design a card that that puts your opponent on a clock to either answer it or trump it.

Once this hits the field, the only real answer to it to trump it with bigger creatures. Evasion and hexproof have burned Wizards before, where players hated the feeling of helplessness and inevitability. (Invisible Stalker is an oft-cited example). This isn't quite as much a pain to deal with, but the format would need to have enough answers at common in each color to keep this from being the unfun card that defines the format.

Having rules text after the modes bullet list is not ideal from a new-player-parsing-a-card-perspective, though I'm not sure it's much less confusing having that line above the choices. I'm a big fan of the design overall. If there were a +1/+1 counters matter element to a set, I'd like this at rare and the recursion ability as a set-keyword.

That is an efficient package that definitely puts your opponent on a clock. He's not difficult to answer, but often risky to answer with a group of creatures. I'm not sure that vigilance is contributing much to the design here, other than making it look even more like it belongs to Selesnya, but lifelink and super-trample cover the White and Green bases pretty thoroughly. Vigilance might just be overkill on a card like this.

Another strong beater that puts your opponent on a clock. They can chump block him endlessly, but unless they can amass enough damage to knock you out before they run out of things to block with, you'll be sitting pretty. Indestructible is more or less fair game for any color as tertiary, but it's pretty rare to see it on a non-white, non-artifact that's not clearly part of a cycle.

Simic is one of the harder combos to design for, and often GU cards just read a little weird. This guy definitely sets up a clock, as you can attack blindly with your birds knowing you'll get a fresh batch, and use it to set up your draws a little more consistently. This creates inevitability but is subtle about it. I'm a fan, although three mana for effectively 6 points of power is probably low. The aesthetics of all threes is nice, but this has some knobs that need turning.

I am actually surprised that this is not already a card, although if it was I would probably run it in every deck I ever played. The closest is Mayael's Aria. If we go back to Visions, Aku Djinn did this in reverse. I wish the art lent itself a little better to the mechanic, but otherwise no complaints at all. 

My Johnny mind just exploded imagining all the ways I would abuse this. I'm not sure if the relevance of three counters is referencing the stone calendar in the art or arbitrary, but I'm not sure that it necessarily helps the design. Two counters seems powerful, and three seems oppressive. It probably depends on context, and development will adjust as necessary.

Finally we have a token generator that would be bonkers in tandem with a lot of the above designs but seems relatively fair on its own. This is actually more of a white design, as W gets the lots-of-small-tokens (which is why we haven't seen much in the way of Saprolings in the past decade), while Green gets them a little beefier, especially in multiples. As a Black enchantment it could require the exile of a creature from a GY as a condition to the trigger. Green did this with Awakening Zone most recently, I believe, but that was more of an Eldrazi enabler. In limited this definitely can put your opponents on a serious clock, but I imagine it's a little too slow to pull the same trick in constructed.


Excellent job Artisans. Some great designs here, many of which I fully expect to see as printed cards some day. This week's follow-up exercise: Since the hulking werewolf in the picture stole some of the focus from the monolith, imagine a world where these are common features of the plane, like the cryptoliths or hedrons. What does having one of them in the art mean mechanically? Show me a card.

See you all tomorrow!


  1. I like the idea of protective totems scattered across a setting that creatures naturally gravitate towards.

    Create a Ward artifact token attached to target creature with "If attached creature would die, sacrifice this and remove all damage from it."

    Not nearly as easy to tag on as Investigate, but you could probably still staple it to a number of effects.

  2. Mwonvuli Loper {1}{G}
    Creature-Werewolf (cmn)
    *: ~ gets +3/+3 until EOT. Activate this ability only once each turn. (You may pay * with any mana from a sacred permanent.)

  3. Good challenge. Lots of good designs. Thanks for the review, Zefferal.