Friday, September 22, 2017

Weekend Art Challenge 092217—Surk3

Click through to see the illustration and design requirements for your single  card submission, due Monday morning. Every submission warrants feedback, which you may use to revise your submission any number of times. I will aim to review the most recent submission from each designer.

Okay, last dino challenge for a while. Design a dinosaur card for this illustration. Bonus points if you use enrage, territorial, or another mechanic you think could have worked for Ixalan's dinosaurs.


  1. Wood Rex 3GG
    Creature - U
    If a creature you control was dealt damage this turn, ~ costs 2 less to cast.


    1. Enrage-finity! This is neat, although it seems better as a one off ability rather than something for the entire tribe.

    2. This plays in the "better after combat if This Thing happened" vein of design that bloodthirst and raid occupy. Rather than a creature upgrade or a spell effect, we get a cost discount.

      Discounts are less exciting to Jenny and Timmy but great for Spike. They tend to be dangerous, but a static discount like this (as opposed to a scaling discount like affinity or delve) is much safer. Triggering off of damage to your creatures is safer still because it's not something you can (normally) force (and if you do force it via Rile et al, you've spent mana doing so). Not only do you have to have a creature in play to make this possible, it has to attack and be blocked.

      So I'm not worried about this cost reduction getting out of hand. Is it too hard to make happen? IDK. If I were stuck on two-mana, I wouldn't block your bear with mine, because this mechanic could get you a Rex I can't handle, but I'd certainly block it with my 2/3. Would I block it with a 1/3? Probably not? Depends how common these cards are.

      Whether this mechanic shows up in the same set as raid is also a factor. Raid gives players a motivation to attack with doomed creatures and that allows you to bluff combat tricks. This mechanic pulls in the opposite direction, motivating less blocking. They also work dangerously well together: If you attack with anything you could be enabling a raid or a rex or both.

      I think this is a mechanic that could be printed some day, or is very close to one that could. I think it's got great flavor for a tribe that's all about protecting one another or vengeance, and I think that's a slight miss for dinosaurs relative to, say, an order of knights or a coven of witches.

    3. Given this mechanic, Wood Rex is solid. Might give it trample to feel fully uncommon, or make it 5G or 5/4 if common is an option.

  2. Horned Allosaur 3G
    Creature - Dinosaur (C)
    Ancient - When Horned Allosaur enters the battlefield you may have it fight target creature you don't control if Horned Allosaur was cast using mana from only basic lands.

    1. I imagine that ancient is a set of abilities that are turned on when your spell is cast using only basic lands (and not a set of insta-fight creatures that are turned on in various ways).

      In Limited, it will be very easy to cast Horned Allosaur on turn 4 or 5 and get its bonus, often killing a 2/2 or so for free. That's too strong for common, but merely good for uncommon (compares closely to Briarpack Alpha).

      I can imagine some very reasonable ancient cards:
      Ancient Squire {1}{G} 1/2 Ancient - +1/+1
      Ancient Cleric {1}{W} 2/2 Ancient - +2 life
      Ancient Wurm {4}{G}{G} 6/4 Ancient - +2/+2
      Ancient Kavu {3}{R} 2/2 Ancient - Deal 2

      Ancient is a fairly trivial hoop for low costs and a more significant hoop for high costs. It's also much more costly to build around in Constructed versus Limited (which often makes it hard to balance for both formats, but the cost-scale helps here).

      Great flavor for dinos. Call back to Imperiosaur.

    2. Also interesting in Ixalan because you don't get the bonus off gold. The difficulty is that I can't imagine this being a good mechanic for constructed without fetchlands/fixing that counts as basic lands.

  3. Cowed Therosaur 3WW
    Creature - Dinosaur (u)
    Skulk, vigilance
    There is always a greater power.

    1. Not really going for bonus points on this one, I think either skulk or vigilance would be awful "this is the dinosaur's mechanic", but as Serra Angels go, I think this is an interesting one, especially in a set that has a lot of dinosaurs. Of course, if it were going in Ixalan itsel, the set heavily clusters at the 3/3 mark, making this less unblockable and more gang-blockable, but it's a nice body to target tricks with, and I think it fits the art.

    2. Serra Angel > Cowed Therosaur > Glorifier of Dusk (strength-wise).

      Furtive Homunculus is a poor use of skulk where Fogwalker is not. Skulk creatures are at their best when their toughness is higher than their power, so that the ability isn't simply "this 2/2 can only be blocked by a 2/3." Cowed Therosaur would be a lot better at 4/5 and might even be better at 3/4. 3/5 would be awesome. At uncommon, I'd want that.

  4. Dawnasaur 2WW (R)
    Creature - Dinosaur
    Territorial - Whenever ~ attacks, if you control 8 or more lands, return target permanent card with CMC 3 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield

    1. It's slightly more common for white to resurrect CMC 2-, but 3 is close enough and has been done; Given the high threshold of territorial and the dinosaur-alignment, it's entirely appropriate here.
      I'd guess dev could push this slightly harder, but the design is solid.

  5. Stomping Tyrant
    Creature - Dinosaur - Rare
    Territorial - Whenever ~ attacks, if you control 8 or more lands, ~ deals damage equal to its power to target creature an opponent controls.

    1. I expect the 2-5 turns between you casting this and turning on its biteyness will be suspenseful in a good way. You probably win once it does turn on, but that's standard for a six-mana two-color rare with a conditional ability.


      I'm surprised there hasn't been a {RG} hybrid Rabid Bite yet. I guess we haven't done enough hybrid since that became green.

  6. Reckless Rex BGG
    Creature - Dinosaur (M)
    CARDNAME can't block.
    Whenever CARDNAME attacks, sacrifice two other permanents.

    1. There's a deep cut I've never seen before. Makes my design feel less mythic.

    2. High-risk, high-reward dino is a color-shifted Cosmic Larva. What would really sell me on this is if its cost felt more dino-y and could be upside.

      "Whenever ~ deals damage to an opponent or a creature an opponent controls, it also deals that much damage to each other creature you control."

      That's too easy to work around (by just not playing other creatures) but it at least theoretically gets you some enrage triggers. Also Raging Swordtooth just did it better.


      "Whenever ~ deals damage, it deals that much damage to you."


      "Whenever ~ deals damage, defending player creates a 3/3 dino token."

  7. Hunter in the Haze 2RG

    Creature Dinosour

    G discard a card at random: prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this turn

    G discard a card at random: prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this turn

    R discard a card at random: ~ deal damage to target creature equal to the damage prevented by ~ this turn


    1. This spellshaper doesn't have to type to cast its spells, but you also don't get to choose what you discard. I think that's a variant this mechanic would do well to explore. It's odd to make a dinosaur spellshaper, though.
      Fog is plenty green. Not very dino-y but a Haze Frog could do it.

      The second ability is the red half of a red-white or mono-white effect like Harm's Way. It's also presented like a parallel to the first ability, but the first stands alone where the second only works in conjunction with the first.

      I'd rather see
      {R}, Discard a card at random: ~ deals damage to target creature equal to the damage that target already dealt this turn.

      You wouldn't use both those abilities in the same turn, but you could use either depending on your opponent's attack and that would make their attack very tricky to plan.