Thursday, August 31, 2017

CCDD 083117—Breakwood Falconer

Cool Card Design of the Day
8/31/2017 - Tuesday I questioned whether Deeproot Champion was the best use of that rules text.
Today, I found a green creature in my CCDD folder with a noncreature spell trigger. Is one more justified than the other? Let's talk about that.

Prowess is a blue, red, and white mechanic (though white would barely have it if not for Tarkir's Jeskai clan). Black doesn't get it because it doesn't care. It would fit as well as white, but they just haven't had reason to use it there (and part of prowess' purpose is to help differentiate blue from black). Green doesn't get prowess because green does care: about creatures. Creatures-Matter is green's most pervasive mechanical theme, and that conflicts directly with caring about noncreature spells. (The only green card that cares about noncreature spells before Ixalan does so solely because it cares about every card you play.)

The only salient difference between Deeproot Champion and Breakwood Falconer is the effect enabled by the noncreature trigger. Green absolutely gets +1/+1 counters and grows creatures indefinitely, and it absolutely loves fighting. Fighting is more uniquely green than +1/+1 counters are, as all colors can grow their creatures via counters (even if green does it more regularly).

Deeproot Champion's ability closely mimics prowess. It's functionally identical the turn you cast your noncreature spell, but this creature gets to keep its stat bonus where regular prowess creatures revert to the generally puny state when the turn ends. It's uber-prowess. It takes the essence of prowess and turns it up to 11. Breakwood Falconer's ability shares the same trigger, but does something else entirely. It doesn't boost power or toughness at all, instead it gives you a spell effect that only green can offer (red can do it, but not well enough to lend it out).

The question is, does any of that make a difference? If green shouldn't trigger on noncreature spells, does it even matter what the effect is? I'm not sure it does, but let me share (what I remember) my mindset was when I made Falconer: It wouldn't make much flavor sense if the Falconer fought whenever you summon a creature, instead it's taking advantage of your actions. In gameplay, this will trigger when you cast Giant Growth (though it'll resolve first, which isn't awesome) or Rampant Growth or Naturalize, green's most common types of noncreature spells. Or Prey Upon. That makes sense, right? More than uber-prowess?

On the other hand, an uber-prowess trigger resolves before that Giant Growth or Prey Upon resolves…


  1. Quiron Dryad is a precedent for this card, and I think it works. Especially with green merfolk in the set that want to feel a bit like a blue card without requiring blue. Green's all about growth and can use basically any trigger to grow a creature. Green seemed like a fine home for perma-prowess.

    1. I meant to mention Quirion Dryad because that is relevant precedence, thank you.

  2. I had the same reaction to you about Deeproot Champion. I think this really wanted to be a UG gold card, as it feels weird to omit either color. I wouldn't like this any more in Mono-Blue.

    1. Set skeleton constraints, maybe?

      There's already a green/blue merfolk shaman at mythic (which could just as easily be blue imho, but is probably better as multicolor for Commander usage).