Tuesday, April 4, 2017

CCDD 040417—Repurpose

Cool Card Design of the Day
4/4/2017 - What if you had a spell with a static effect, that you could upgrade to a variable effect at the cost of a card instead of mana? Repurpose is loosely inspired by the Shoal cycle.

Spells with {X} in the cost are considered too complex for common and it's certainly true that repurpose will expend some comprehension complexity, but it won't raise the same questions as Blaze because it tells you exactly what X is, rather than implicitly expecting the player to choose its value.

At common, these are intentionally balanced so that you generally want to play these straight up, and only want to repurpose them when you really need the greater effect; Paying two cards for a single spell—even if the combined effect is under-costed in terms of mana—isn't something you want to do often. Madness decks excepted, obviously.

If you hadn't noticed it before, the strange ability on Morphomancer's Monster will have called your attention to the fact that all of these cards are being careful not to allow a player to automatically win the game just by repurposing something huge like Draco. (Though Growth and Monster push this envelope further than the rest, and probably too far.)

Our rares also try not to be auto-wins, just not as hard:

I tried to keep all the cards repurpose 2 for consistency, but making 2 saprolings, this one was just too weak with a high mana cost and too abuseable with an appropriately low mana cost.

Any mechanic that asks you to discard cards is going to appeal more to spike than tammy. My hope is that the possibility of a huge effects will help timmy appreciate at least the rares. And I think some jennies will enjoy the more obscure combinations this discard-enabler makes possible.

What do you think? Too complex for common? Too rarely useful?
Design a repurpose card.


  1. I think the concept is solid, but the execution could be improved. I don't think X is necessary at all here. Note that referencing CMC is typically considered to be a redflag at common.

    Ooze Fuel 2G
    Sorcery (Uncommon)
    Repurpose (You may discard a card as you cast this spell. If you do, change its text by replacing all numbers with the discarded card's converted mana cost.)
    Create a 3/3 green Ooze creature token.

    This implementation gets rid of the X, but does prohibit using it for +1/+1 or -1/-1 counters.

    1. That text is four lines, rather than three, but that's still very workable, and this is easier to comprehend. Replacing text is still hinky on the rules back-end but fine on the front-end.

  2. One way to keep this from being too swingy and broken is to make effects that last longer for X, rather than go bigger for X.

    Castle Armory
    Artifact - Uncommon
    Repurpose 2
    CARDNAME enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters.
    T: Move a +1/+1 counter from CARDNAME onto target creature.

    Creature - Human Bard - Uncommon
    Repurpose 1
    CARDNAME enters the battlefield with X worldly counters.
    3U, Remove a worldly counter from CARDNAME: Draw a card.

    Central Castle
    Land - Uncommon
    Repurpose 0
    CARDNAME enters the battlefield with X worldly counters.
    T: Add 1 to your mana pool.
    T, Remove a worldly counter from CARDNAME: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.

    Realmgorger Dragon
    Creature - Dragon - Rare
    Repurpose 3
    CARDNAME enters the battlefield with C worldly counters.
    T, remove a worldly counter from CARDNAME: Deal 3 damage to target creature or player.

  3. You could take a cute from lightning storm:

    Big Shock R
    Repurpose (As an additional cost to cast ~ you may discard a card and put X +1/+1 counters on this spell where X is that cards converted mana cost)
    Big Shock deals damage to target creature equal to 2 plus the number of +1/+1 counters on this spell as it resolves.

    1. That works, but it's weird, and I don't see what it solves. Also, I actively don't want the variable amount to add to the static amount.

      A cute lightning storm