Thursday, October 20, 2016

Midweek Art Challenge Review 101716—piotrmtekien

Design a vehicle card for Kaladesh or Aether Revolt. Bonus points if it's common

Aether Collector has a relatively low power:crew ratio, but it also nets you energy, potentially every turn thanks to evasion. And it's not like 4/4 flying creatures are anything to turn your nose up at. Combining energy and vehicles in the first set they're introduced would spoil some innovation, but I'd honestly be surprised not to see something like this in Aether Revolt.

Solid common. Flavor's good too: Why wouldn't you use an airborne vehicle to gather aether while it's up there?

At +1 power compared to the previous card, Aether-Gate Airship is just barely good enough for uncommon (I mean, Perfected Form is kinda okay), but its activated ability is conditionally very good, making this very solidly uncommon. Because you can crew a vehicle at any time, this Airship lets you save it and any creature of substantial size from any fate, as long as you keep {1}{U}{U} up. This also ties directly into the white-blue flicker/bounce archetype to benefit from ETB effects over and over again.

Kaladesh used colored-mana activations on artifacts to help keep colors important and archetypes cohesive while increasing the number of artifacts, but it left them off vehicles because we want the first time players see vehicles to be unrestricted. For Aether Revolt, though, I could certainly see a cycle of CMA vehicles. Looks good. (Though I wonder if the cost shouldn't be {1}{W}{U} or {2}{U}.)

I can totally imagine an airship being used to retrieve agents in the field.

Blimp is a clean and simple common vehicle. On offense, it can upgrade a couple 1/1s or a 2/2 to have flying and be safe from trading. On defense, it can block almost anything. This is a cleaner reminder to players that vehicles can block than Renegade Freighter. Subtler too, which is good and bad.

This feels like a slow blimp, appropriate to the art. Nice.

Because you can crew a vehicle any number of times each turn, Fumigation Airship gives all your 2/Xs the ability to throw damage at attackers, making attacking you nearly impossible if you've got enough of them.

This would slow games down tremendously, and would need to be uncommon if not rare. If this Airship could only deal damage once per turn, when it attacks or blocks, say, it would be much less oppressive. Being a repeatable source of direct damage, and thus card advantage, it would still be uncommon. Compare to Skysovereign at mythic.

I tossed this one in there because I haven't designed any vehicles yet, and how can a designer turn down tech like that? The idea is that this is comparable to an Ornithopter, giving you +2 power in exchange for requiring a bear to turn on at all. Still good in artifact-matters decks.

It's a bit odd from a perspective that doesn't care about artifacts, but upgrading a ground 2/2 to a flying 2/2 isn't entirely worthless.

Lead Zeppelin can be played in any deck, and is decently useful anywhere (for Limited, which is the default metric for all commons), but wants to be played in a black deck, which is another nice way to divvy up colorless artifacts into colored archetypes.

It uses monstrous tech to help you remember whether you've done it or not, which is lovely, and really pushes this vehicle's value to black mages. The flavor's not great, but the pun is.

Hard to imagine a 6/6 flyer at common, but with crew 5, Rusty Sky Freighter is conceivable.

It wouldn't cost just {1}—and needn't, since you'll have plenty of mana at the point where you've made that many creatures—but that's Dev's concern. Dead simple, but attractive. Cool cool.

Safehouse Dirigible doesn't quite have "Creatures you control have hexproof" because you have to tap them and you have to have 2 power of untapped creatures to do it, but since you can crew a vehicle multiple times, at instant speed, and a vehicle can crew itself, this Dirigible comes mighty close to the first half of Asceticism. If we're okay with that, this would definitely be rare. I'd want to fix it; One solution is to add a cost:
"Whenever another creature crews ~, you may pay N. If you do, that creature gains hexproof until EOT."

Compare Sky Privateer to Standard-All-Star Smuggler's Copter: Instead of looting, it straight up draws you a card.

You'd have to make this 1 power, crew 5, or {6} before that becomes reasonable at uncommon. It could never be common. It's simple, exciting, and flavorful, regardless.

Skywhaler is exactly what you need to kill a Long-Finned Skywhale, which is more than Skywhaler's Shot can say.

I'm a little scared about 3 power of first strike for crew 1, but otherwise this is simple, purposeful, and awesome flavor.

Updated to {5} 5/5

Another simple, flavorful common vehicle. Nice.

I do wish Surveying Zeppelin had a lower crew value to increase the chance vigilance is actually relevant.

Troop Transport makes creatures by attacking. It doesn't deal damage on its own, but the ability to make a good number of tokens is enticing enough. Definitely uncommon for that reason.

Is it meant to have flying? If so, it should be able to attack for a long time (and provide its own crew in just two turns).

Great work, Artisans! It's still hard to evaluate the power of vehicles precisely because we have so little experience with them, but most of these seem ready to print, given the knowledge we do have.

Thanks for participating! And thanks to Jenesis for rendering the cards.

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