Tuesday, September 12, 2017

CCDD 091217—imbue

Cool Card Design of the Day
9/12/2017 - Imbue is a mechanic where you cast a spell on a creature and that creature is imbued with the ability to cast that spell on itself once more.

It's sort of like rebound, but you've got a lot more flexibility when you get the second copy in exchange for losing flexibility on its target. Where rebound front-loads the cost for both copies, imbue splits up the cost so we can have shields-down moments.

I want to share with you the original template I used—on the right here—because it's shorter and cuter. Unfortunately, it's also rather more confusing, because paying to sacrifice one of your cards looks mighty suspicious and not all players understand exactly when an aura is unattached. So I switched over to the more explicit version you saw first.

Imbue doesn't need to be a multicolor mechanic, but it can be. Imbue Curiosity isn't so strong it needs to require two colors, but it's still a fair model how we might do that if the set wanted it.

Some of these want to act like instants and so they get flash. Others can start as sorceries and omit that.

The original intent was that you'd use the copy on a later turn, but there's not enough reason to prevent a player from using both halves at the same time.

This rare was tricky to design.

We can imbue non-creatures (though the design space seems small).

Design an imbue card in the comments below.


  1. I have strongest sense of deja "imbue"! Was this inspired by a weekend card creation challenge.

    Also, check out brokeboardgames.tumblr.com for board game discussions if your interested!

    1. The lack of a good comment search function kills me.

      Imbue Strength G
      Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
      Imbue 1G (If Imbue strength was cast from your hand, you may exile it imbuing the creature it targeted. As long as that cards is exiled, you may cast it for its Imbue cost targeting that creature.)

    2. I like that template! Simplifying a little more:

      Imbue Strength G
      Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
      Recur (If you cast CARDNAME from your hand, exile it. As long as it's exiled and you didn't cast it this turn, you can cast it with the same target.)

      Would also be interesting without the "this turn" clause, but maybe harder to balance.

  2. Ooh, interesting.

    I'm immediately thinking of alternative ways of templating this. I don't like the high preponderance of flash auras and auras that don't provide an ongoing effect, although I don't know if the alternatives would be better.

    I wonder about an instant with "Target creature gets blah. Keyword 1M (If you cast this from your hand, exile it as it resolves haunting/encoded on/etc that creature. You may cast it from exile for 1M.)"

    Or auras with effects that are permanent on the first casting, but give the same bonus until end of turn when they die.

    Or, as either instant or sorcery, make the second use a "when this dies, you may pay..." which makes it seem more naturally symmetric (although it does remove some decisions).

  3. Other designs that come to mind:

    Imbue "enchanted creature can't block", for R.
    Imbue "tap enchanted creature", for W.
    Imbue "enchanted creature is indestructible", for B (G?)
    Imbue "enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and has flying," for 1U or 1W. (This one could tell a kind of sad story.)
    Imbue "tap enchanted creature and it doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step" for 1U.

    As I go I'm realizing that the cost is kind of a constraint here. I'm wanting the second activation to be free so we can do more interesting things at Limited-relevant power levels. In particular the first two would likely only be playable if the back-end activation was free.

    1. They could be free.

      I'm curious about the sad story of flying.

    2. I dunno, maybe it's not so sad. I was just thinking of it as "oh yeah, I could fly once, now I get to fly one more time and then I'm done forever".

  4. Glimpse of Divinity W
    Enchantment - Aura (u)
    Enchant creature you control
    When CARDNAME enters or leaves the battlefield, enchanted creature gets flying, lifelink, and vigilance until end of turn.
    W, sacrifice CARDNAME: Sacrifice enchanted creature at the beginning of the end step.