Tuesday, October 3, 2017

CCDD 100317—Unrelenting

Cool Card Design of the Day
10/3/2017 - This idea went through 7 revisions before I settled on this version. Originally, it was "when this dies, you can cast a copy of it from your hand for free." That seemed too limiting, so I let you scour the top of your library too. To save on words, to make it a cost, and to make both options viable, I had you exile those cards. The result is an uncertain sort of undying/persist that plays better in multiples (or with Arc-Slogger).

So if you've got a copy of Great Bear in hand when your first dies, you can play it for free. If you don't, or if you'd rather risk getting nothing for the chance of card advantage, you can exile 7 cards from your deck and hope to find a copy there.

As you start filling your exile zone, caring about its contents becomes natural.

There are a bunch of ways to self-mill that could make an effect like this nuts.

If we're going to encourage players to mill themselves so much, we probably owe them at least a few ways to re-fill their deck. I originally let this shuffle any number, but since getting things out of exile is usually a big no-no, I thought we'd start small and limit you to 3.

It may be that 7 is too many cards for a keyword to mill you for, especially one that's stronger in multiples. 7 may also be too few cards to look through to find a duplicate card. Messing with exile this much might be a deal-breaker too. There are multiple reasons unrelenting could be a non-starter, but I do like the mechanic's potential for deck-building, for dramatic moments, and for new design space.

Design an unrelenting card in the comments.


  1. Nightmare Winder
    Creature - Wurm Horror - MR
    Unrelenting 7
    ~'s power and toughness are each equal to the number of cards you own in exile.

    1. On one hand, no unrelenting card wants to be mythic rare because you generally want all 4 copies. On the other hand, assuming you can get 4 of these, it sure feels mythic: It dies immediately on its own, which makes you put 7 cards into exile, hopefully pull one of these out and have a 6/6 that might come back as a 12/12 or so. Even better if you're self-exiling otherwise.

  2. Huh. I like this idea.

    But it seems to fall afoul of R&D's restriction that you should never be able to get back cards of yours that your opponents have exiled. Is that a problem?

    I wonder if it could be from graveyard instead of exile, or if confusion with the currently dying card makes that unviable.

    I do like the versions that count extra exiled cards.

    Or move the trigger around so it's, when this is exiled, you may put it onto the battlefield, and when it dies, you may exile a card from your hand or cards from your library. Admittedly that makes all the unrelenting cards combo with each other which might be good but might be way too strong/parasitic/hard to balance/out of pie.

    This is better if you have many copies, does it do anything at all if you only have one? I wasn't sure if I missed something. You described it as like undying or persist that was stronger with multiples, I wonder if there's a variant that does work on a single creature but gets better if you have more in your deck?

    1. You need at least two copies to have a chance at free creatures. If your only goal is to empty you deck or fill exile, one helps.

      I considered making them all Misthollow Griffins, but that's definitely too much.

  3. I like this, but 7 cards (or 14, 21) feels like it would be a serious dampener in limited, especially since mechanics that focus on exile like Sword Skeleton really make it a "second graveyard" in a way I wouldn't want to push. A tribal iteration, where type=vampire and search = the mana worth of the current card:

    Unflappable Heir 1B
    Creature - Vampire
    Scion (When CARDNAME dies, exile it and put the top four cards of your library or a card from your hand into the graveyard. Then, you may put a Vampire card from your graveyard with mana worth 2 or less onto the battlefield.)

    This lets you play nicely with other GY mechanics in the set!

    1. Playing with the graveyard seems like a necessity. We can use limitations to prevent a card from choosing itself. That's a very different story, but still fun. 'Scion' makes me think we should go up in cmc.

    2. Swanlike Convert 1BB
      Creature - Human
      Scion 6 (When ~ dies, exile it and put the top 6 cards of your library or a card from your hand into your graveyard. Then you may put a Vampire card with mana worth 6 or less from your graveyard onto the battlefield).

      Not sure if the milling should scale or be locked in around 4. This is obviously a pushed case but hopefully straightforward as far as flavor goes. This works like it seems to against Wrath effects right? Could also be "Vampire Scion" a la "Slivercycling", with different cards die-growing into different types. A Commander product with Wurm Scion, Vampire Scion, etc? Locked into cmc≤6 across a horizontal cycle?

    3. Yeah.
      Could work.
      Probably even remove "or a card from your hand" at this point.

  4. I like having random death triggers, that sends like it would lead to fun moments. I share your concerns that you mentioned about exiling a ton of cards.

    Skeletal Deputy 1W
    Creature - Lawful Skeleton (C)
    Dead Draw (When this creature dies, reveal the top two cards of your library. Then you may put those cards into your graveyard or back on top of your library in any order.)
    If the cards you reveal off the dead draw share a color, return Skeletal Deputy from the graveyard to the battlefield tapped.

    1. "You can cast this card while scrying it."

    2. Scry X for Y (Look at the top X cards of your library. You may reveal a Y card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the top or bottom of your library in any order)

    3. Making scry evergreen was such a good move. I think it makes mechanics like explore easier to evaluate, and hopefully means we could have stuff like your scry version too.

      I also like this which is way too wordy but a general awesome fallback plan to the standard:
      Search X for Y (Look at the top X cards of your library. You may reveal a Y card from among them and put it into your hand. If you do, put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order. Otherwise, put the rest on the top or bottom of your library in any order.)

    4. Attempt at shorter wording:

      Reveal the top X cards of your library. Put all Y cards revealed this way into your hand. If you put a card into your hand this way, put the rest into your graveyard. Otherwise, put any number into your graveyard and the rest on top in any order.

    5. Varying what you do with the rest is cute; probably not worth the extra text & complication.