Monday, May 1, 2017

Weekend Art Challenge Review 050117—RadoJavor

Weekend Art Challenge Review
Here's the challenge we're reviewing today.

I assume the intention is that losing the flip lets your opponent choose a target to ping. I further imagine that you're supposed to be able to choose each time the coin is flipped.

Most often, you'll get to deal 2 or 3 damage as you like, and your opponent will get to deal 3 or 2 as she like. That compares very badly with Char (which doesn't stand up as well as it used to), but if we ignore Dev concerns (or imagine this costs {R}), I can imagine crafting a board state where I'd be okay playing this; It sometimes works as a catch-up card, killing a couple toughness worth of opposing creatures and costing you 'just' a few life.

Still, the randomness and downside of Bedlam's Gamble will turn off the vast majority of players. It doesn't feel like a slam dunk for the art, but I could imagine a set with a nautical theme using this art for this card (if it couldn't show a tavern brawl full of pirates).

Broadside has trample! This slow Searing Spear lets you deal its excess damage to your target's owner. You can also just deal all 3 damage to their face, provided they have a creature you can target.

That works well with this flavor, since cannons often fired ammunition other than cannonballs, with the intent of killing crewman or shredding sails.

It stands out like a sore thumb that Death at Sea doesn't say "Whenever a creature dies." It's also kind of curious that we bother with counters, when the activated ability could be part of the triggered ability. It makes flavor sense, but I'm not sure it's worth the effort unless the set has proliferate or similar. I also wonder if this could cost 1 life instead of 2, since it's limited by creature deaths, but that's a Dev concern; Why do we have to pay life to bury our dead?
Whenever a creature dies, you may pay {1}{B}. If you do, draw a card.

Ow, my board complexity. Suppose a state with 3 attackers blocked by 3 defenders. Do you cast Exchange of Broadsides? You can assign your 3 shocks AAA, AAB, AAC, ABC, ABB, ACC, BBC, BBB, BBA, CCC, CCA, or CCB. Your opponent has the same 12 choices. That's 144 permutations to consider casting this in a pretty normal situation.

Compare with this effect: "Each attacking or blocking creature gets +2/+0 until EOT." That's the same except we can't direct damage wherever we please, and we don't get to first first strike all the X/2s (and X/1s, and probably an X/4). That's a tricky card to play itself, because it's symmetrical.

Broadsides rewards you for having a bunch of disposable goblins, 2cc 1/3s and 3cc 2/3s, which is something red can do. I was worried this card was better on defense because you can assign multiple blockers to a single attacker, but this counts unblocked attackers too, so it's good on offense too.

My last concern is that some players might not understand that creatures assigned lethal damage during the first line of this card don't die before executing the second line.

Great flavor.

Explosive Revolution is Rakdos Charm so big, it's a reverse-Soulblast. I can alpha attack into your strong defensive line, let you eat my team, and then let your team eat you. I can also just play this in a creature-less deck. That's definitely where this shines brightest. Is that a good thing for a red card? I think since we're trying to give red some control cards, it is, at least in general. This particular card might be too effective for the ultra-fog strategy. Still, I love elegance of the idea, and could see it as a planeswalker ultimate or something.

Appropriate use of this art. I quite like the idea of marrying these effects. I wonder if it's worth going one step further:
Target creature you control deals its power in damage to target creature you don't control and target opponent.

Whoa. That's a lot of Rabid Bites. This would make a sweet rare at {3}{R}{R} or so. And I mean "or so" because this card's surprisingly hard to evaluate. On the one hand, "one rabid bite for each of your creatures" seems obviously absurd. On the other hand, this isn't a win condition and can at best destroy all your opponent's creatures. The fact that it's not symetrical like Day of Judgment or Chain Reaction is how we know it should cost at least as much as the standard 4-5 mana, even though it's useless when you have no creatures on board.

This effect is sexy. Even if power weren't a concern, Opening Salvo wants to be a rare just to help sell the set (at least for Limited play). Great flavor, perfect for this art.

I'm very curious to see how this plays relative to Prey Upon. Despite being an instant, its timing is actually more strict, but the ability to cast it after blockers are declared could be significant in the right situation. I think? Tempted to simplify it to a saboteur effect, to feel greener (but then it needs an upside).

Good flavor.

That's a very texty keyword, so it's going to have to justify itself. When you plunder, you get the chance to cast a card for free, and that chance is increased according to the number of times you've plundered (and decreased by the number of cards you've cast while plundering). It's mostly impossible to manipulate your chances, since the card is coming from your opponent's deck. As written, you can cast cards anyone plundered if your plunder value is high enough, but it would be easy to limit everyone to their own plunder stack.

Raiding Party looks pretty weak. Indeed, I don't think Limited players would run this at common unless they were already at critical mass to plunder. While we could well see plunder 1 as a 0.25-mana bonus on cards already worth running, I would expect to see plunder 1 on repeatable effects but plunder 2 or 3 on sorceries and instants (and 4+ on a few rares). I'm not sure about that, because the bonus of getting a free casting combined with the requirement of having plundered sufficient cards makes plunder a bit tricky to evaluate.

Still, there's something neat here, and if we could cut the reminder text in half, I'm sure it would be of use. Does plunder break if we let it interact with any exiled cards?
Plunder N (Exile the top N cards of an opponent’s library, then you may cast without paying its mana cost a card you exiled with converted mana cost less than or equal to the number of cards you've exiled.)
That's still pretty long. Wobbles' take was good too:
Plunder (Exile the top card of an opponent's library. You may cast that card. If you don't, create a Gold artifact token with "Sacrifice Gold: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.".)

Ship Fight needs a bit of template-massaging to work (because the vehicle you're animating isn't a creature at the time you would need to choose it as a target) but that's no problem. For a set with vehicles, the ability to animate one so it can attack, and get a kill out of the deal (vehicles tend to be huge after all) seems like a solid variant for Prey Upon.

I think the flavor is that we got the ship mad enough to fight without a crew? Great use of the art.

Ships' End has double-affinity for islands, and then some. Like, it's way better than Murder in your black-blue deck, and a little worse in your non-blue Limited deck. I love how having blue upgrades this from a sorcery to an instant, but I wish the end result weren't so strong. The cost reduction is huge. In a set that uses twobrid, a cost of {2U}{B}{B} would work.

If we could find some upside, we could just lock in the standard {1}{B}{B} rate: Wanted to suggest "Destroy target creature or vehicle." ala Daring Demolition but we don't need to call out vehicles if we can give it flash, because then we can kill the vehicles while they're animated. Maybe:
"Destroy target creature. If it's a vehicle, destroy each creature that crewed it this turn. You may cast ~ as if had flash if you spend {U} to cast it."

Good stuff, Artisans!

Now we know that naval combat is Jund.

Thanks to Axxle for rendering the cards.


  1. Opening Salvo is supposed to work like Master of the Wild Hunt, not Gruesome Slaughter.

    I'm open to suggestions on better wording. I struggled for a while with it, and maybe that means it ought to be rare, but "A Soul's Fire, but where multiple small guys get to dogpile on one big guy" doesn't seem like it needs to be rare gameplay-wise.

    1. My mistake. That is likely how Magic would've templated it. But I agree the template could be clearer.

      "Choose target creature. Tap any number of untapped creatures you control. Those creatures deal their power in damage to the chosen creature."

      "~ deals X damage to target creature where X is the total power of untapped creatures you control. Tap those creatures."

    2. Oh, and now that I know how the card works, it's a good power level for uncommon and could probably even cost less. Flavor's better too.