Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Weekend Art Challenge Review 032718 — Out of the Box

Golden Guardian by Svetlin Velinov

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

Right off the bat, we start with some new design space: caring about the number of cards in exile. We've seen something similar in Warden of the Beyond by Isaiah Cartwright, but we've not seen it expanded like this. Already, we're onto some simple, but innovative space. I like that the card natively includes a way to get something in exile - much more important for an effect like this than Warden of the Beyond - and it even lets you continue to pump it (inefficiently) with the ability. The last ability lets you 'draw' cards from exile, which is very different. We've seen it only a few times in Magic, and it's been quite contentious each time. 

Now, I see the intent there: if you can't return the card, the first ability doesn't tutor anything. And if you use the first ability without any other synergies, then it becomes a 0/0 and dies, which is feel-bad, hence the ability that lets you exile more stuff to it. Every ability has a clear design intent behind it... but the result ends up a bit burdened down by the sheer number of abilities. We had a clear, exciting start with "power and toughness each equal to cards you own in exile" - the more you put on top of that, the more you distract from your 'surprise'! The best surprises are impactful, which means they're concentrated, uncluttered. 

If I were to try to fix Etherean as it is, I'd fold the last two abilities into one, making it cost exiling a card from your hand to get another card back. That way you save some space and end up with a more concentrated design. If I were to start with the same seed, I'd actually consider not bundling it with the tutor, but instead making it more like Boneyard Wurm. Is that the right move? Who knows! With great untouched design space also comes the issue of having to figure out the best way to design with it. Having so many possible directions for this ability is, however, definitely a good thing. Great work, Skye!

PS: I'm not a fan of being able to return anything from exile; even effects like Misthollow Griffin bug me. So far it's been kept safe by the fact that things that can leave exile typically only let themselves do so. This gets real dangerous. A lot of designers are alright with this, though.

You know, I thought this was what Basandra, Battle Seraph did, but it turns out it does basically the opposite. This is much more fitting to {R}{W}'s gameplan most of the time. And, somehow, I can't find anything like it! 

There's two kinds of innovation, I think: the kind where players go, "Wait, this hasn't been done before?" And the kind where they go, "Wait, HOW COULD THEY HAVE DONE THIS?" This falls firmly into the first category. It's such a great, clean design, and so flavorful, that I can't believe it hasn't been done before. A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one.

Does this count as 'out of the box', if it's almost 'expected'? I think so. Going out of the box doesn't just mean venturing into strange or startling spaces, just new, hopefully exciting ones. There's a lot of value in the shocking surprises, but there's also a lot of value in the subtle ones. Wonderful job, Larcent!

Okay, wow. This is a great counterpart to Larcent's Reynauld (above), which is why I picked it. Using the two kinds of innovation I outlined above, this is definitely the second kind. Players who see this will be shocked, startled, even skeptical of how it could possibly work! It also gives rules managers a big headache, which is just a bonus.

It reminds me very much of Spellweaver Volute, in that it tweaks how enchanting works. If we can enchant cards in graveyards, we can probably enchant cards in libraries, right? While this is an interesting idea, I'm not sure True Wish Compass is the best execution. Let's again look to Spellweaver Volute as an example: it enchanting a specific card in your graveyard matters, as it locks you into the choice. When you cast a sorcery, you have to pair it with the enchanted card, and then you have to attach Volute to another card, which means you need your next desired instant to be cast before your desired sorcery. Tricky! Spellweaver Volute is a card that really calls in skills with sequencing. My pal Tommy Occhipinti would probably like it.

On the other hand, does True Wish Compass really have to enchant the second card in a library? The way this card essentially works is that when you draw a card, it burns the next card, then moves down one more. In other words, it could be, "Whenever you draw a card, exile the top card of your library, etc. etc." I might be missing something here, but to me, this doesn't need to be an aura.

We're exploring some interesting space here, for sure, but out-of-the-box concepts also need to justify their weirdness; they need to have an explanation for why they're not using more traditional methods. I'm not sure this does. If I'm missing something, please let me know in the comments.

Still, Wobbles, this is a real interesting seed of an idea. I encourage you to try to revisit the concept!

Doug has been working on an idea like this for a while, apparently. It'll be my honor to review it!

So, we have a Vulpine Goliath that costs {1} more, which gives it the ability to become a land. There's a few problems I have with the cards execution currently. For one, why do I want my trampling 6/5 to become a land? It costs seven mana. If I cast it, I very likely don't need any more lands. For two, why do I want a creature to become a land, when I could just as easily have an Elvish Aberration, a card that seems pretty safe at common even outside of Masters-power-level sets. Next, why does the transformation trigger tap it? It's, again, turn 8 at this point, at least. It entering untapped seems pretty safe. Lastly, I'll nitpick the wording: Why not just have it be, "At the beginning of your upkeep, you may tap The Living Forest. If you do, transform it."

If this could transform at instant speed, it'd be a way to get something out of your big dude if it gets targeted by a kill spell or anything like that. It could also transform instead of dying, which again, at least gives it some value. Currently, it's trading in a 5GG 6/5 trampler for a land drop, on turn 8... I would never make that trade, honestly, as a 6/5 trampler is going to close the game out a lot better than a Forest. At the very least, I'd have some way to transform it back, just in case I do want that extra land at some point.

Now, the core concept of this card is quite interesting. A creature that becomes a Forest is good flavor, and could play well if it was an early drop. You can't get your 1/1 and your Forest as an Elvish Mystic, instead you gotta pick... that could be neat. As it is, the idea is there, but the execution is where the card stumbles.

Now this is an ambitious concept: a new type of basic land! I like the idea of approaching a new 'color' from a different angle, by having it care about a different quality than just color. Ideally, like the traditional colors, these new five 'colors' could carve out identities of their own, playstyles and the like. Another ideal is that they'd cover multiple types, just as the colors do.

That's where this land gets tricky. It's totally functional, but I think 'creatures with flying' is too narrow a subset for a new kind of mana. I'd encourage you to try to find 'new colors' that cover all of the types, and have a real mechanical identity and feel to them. If you designed a deck around that 'color', it should have a distinctive feel, just as the colors do... but it should also have variability, as just as not all monored decks are the same, so too should all 'sky' decks not be the same.

This is onto a real interesting idea, but it's not quite there yet. Any Artisans have ideas for their own subsets that might work with this idea? Feel free to suggest them in the comments!

I have to agree, Zachariah, this is pretty safe. Functional templating changes are nice and can certainly be out-of-the-box, but I'm not sure how 'surprising' a mechanic like this can be. It does get interesting when you consider whether cards could cost 'mana of any color' for abilities and casting costs, just like OGW did with {C}. I'd be more interested in that extension of this concept.

I do really like that this doesn't make you lock into a certain color, which does make digital Magic a lot easier, and can help in a few cases. However, I'm not sure it's worth a new symbol, more reminder text, and so on. How often does this problem come up?

Definitely a weird effect. The idea of turning lands into one-shot fixing is interesting, and changes the game dramatically. Does it change it for the better, though? You'll draw a land a little less than half the time, and when this comes out, each player will have roughly 4 lands... so that's about 8 mana total to spend, and 2 more mana each turn. Once you start running low on your 'bank', you're now having to wait around 2 turns to cast anything from 3 to 4 mana, which could make the game go really slow. Two mana might not be the right number, given that the land has to be sacrificed. 

I also am not a fan of the 4/4 {2}{G}{G} body on this. I think it's a little too aggressive, comes down a little too early. I'd prefer this to appear slightly later in the game on a slightly more subpar body; this, to me, should be more like Warp World or The Great Aurora, where it's just out of range of playability, so that it really is more about making the game weird than it is about the other parts of it.

But let's move past the numbers. (Our loyal Artisans can try to sort out the right numbers in the comments, if they like.) With some playtesting, this would make a great rare for the right set!

As you said, Teferi's Protection exists. You're pushing a little further out of the box here - with the idea that your graveyard, hand, library, and even players can phase out too - but it's very similar space, so it's unfortunately not as exciting or innovative the second go-around. 

In addition, Teferi's Protection also captures pretty similar flavor. With Planeswalk, you can force someone else to planeswalk, which is honestly a little weird - have we ever seen induced planeswalking in the lore like that, outside of automatic reflexes? Teferi's Protection, as a reactive instant, matches the lore of planeswalking better in some ways.

Still, there is innovation here, and it is an interesting concept to have a card that 'ignores' a player until their next turn starts, and it's a natural, intuitive concept that I think a lot of designers have tried to find a way to accomplish. Is this it? I'm not so sure. But it's the start of a nice idea!

Important to note is that Rkohn1357 included other designs that utilize purified mana in interesting ways. This is beyond just 'Omnath-ing' mana; purified mana can also be sought as a cost for spells and abilities, which is an intriguing, if quite parasitic, idea. As I noted in the comments, the parasitism is lessened by virtue of the fact that purified mana lingers between turns. But you still need a way to get purified mana for some of these cards, like Perfect Storm Elemental, to work. (I did like the fix you made, as it makes it work in any set.)

The best iteration you had in your comments, as I said, was Contact Weaver. In essence, this is a form of energy that can also be spent as mana. So, it'll have many of the same solutions: things that cost purified mana should make it, things can make purified mana without needing obvious ways to use it, and so on. Where you've innovated a bit is that purified mana doesn't need other cards to justify its existence.

Case in point, Mana Sanctum is essentially Mage-Ring Network, with some different numbers. While Mana Sanctum costs {4} to make a purified mana (remember that you need an extra mana to purify), Mage-Ring Network only costs {2}. On the other hand, purified mana can be spent without needing to tap Mana Sanctum, unlike Mage-Ring Network. Overall, it seems roughly balanced to me. 

The problem is, is this out-of-the-box enough? The idea of energy-as-mana is nice, but it's not too different from energy's designs. It gives minor extra functionality to the resource, but it doesn't produce gameplay significantly different from energy in the cards you've showcased. With cards like Perfect Storm Elemental, we approach something that begins to differentiate itself, given that cards can track spending purified mana, which can do some things elegantly that energy can't. For example, a card like Steamcore Weird that looks for purified mana instead of {R} could be interesting. But again, that could just be a creature that costs one energy when it enters the battlefield to do something.

I think 'storing mana between turns' has some potential to it, but I'm not sure this is the iteration that excites me the most, or is the most innovative. It is certainly onto something though. I really encourage you to test this out in play, see what you like about it, and try to improve upon it and differentiate it further from energy!

As you said, Pasteur, this isn't that out of the box. I chose what I felt was your most innovative design, but I'm still not sure this really counts as out-of-the-box. We've never seen Retrace on a permanent, so that is certainly new, and choosing to make them Auras was an interesting call, given their fragility. However, as we discussed, the intrigue of Retrace on Auras is that it makes the fragile Auras more resilient to enemy removal, while also reducing the play problems of Retrace...  but you've chosen to design Auras deliberately fragile, which only returns to the same play problems Retrace had with constant tough decisions, and minimizes how interesting Retrace is on an Aura that is intended to fall off sooner rather than later. I think the idea of 'Retrace on Auras' has potential to it, but I think the execution fell short of what your design goals were: reducing late-game land glut, spending more time outside the graveyard, and so on. 

If we're trying to fix late-game glut and Retrace's play problems, perhaps we could give the Dreads something like, "As long as CARDNAME is in your graveyard and you control six or more lands, CARDNAME has retrace"? Wordy, and it leads me to believe that perhaps just removing Retrace entirely and making it an activated ability would be better. I'd certainly welcome improving-Auras while simultaneously reducing late-game-land-glut as an innovative design!

Reuben, this is still quite out-of-the-box, but I do have to ding you some points for just fixing Evoke. 😛 Of course, I never said that your design had to be entirely new, just that it had to be out-of-the-box, an innovative and surprising design. I think that while the core gameplay (as you noted) is the same as Evoke for this card, you've used innovative design techniques to improve upon the issues that surround Evoke greatly.

So, let's talk about the out-of-the-box part: the frame treatment. Magic is starting to really embrace weird frames, with Vehicles, Aftermath, Sagas, and so on. As custom designers, frame treatments are quite difficult for us to utilize, but they are a valuable and still relatively unexplored territory of design that designers should be conscious of. While our frame treatments might have to stay in the ream of crappy mockups, we're amateur designers, and crappy mockups are the lifeblood of playtesting game designers across the globe!

Onto the specifics of this frame treatment. With Incarnate, you're cleverly exploiting the fact that a sorcery can't exist on the battlefield, to make it clear that if this is on the battlefield, it's in creature-mode. While some players set down spells they're casting on the battlefield, I think that it'll be clear 99% of the time when this is a creature, and when it isn't. This frame treatment isn't just a templating change, either - it has functional differences that, as you noted, improve gameplay.

In terms of the actual card, you've designed a 'fixed' Mulldrifter. That's great. We know that the numbers work out on this - at uncommon, as you have done - and that the gameplay is solid. A familiar design with an innovative improved execution, it all adds up to a solid entry!

I'd love to hear about any frame treatment ideas our Artisans have. Let us know in the comments!

Enzio, I myself have been thinking about the design space that Monarch has opened up, and the idea of temporary conditions is something I too think is absolutely intriguing. You've captured a great flavor with this mechanic, and you've paired it with an intriguing but exciting common. While I still do think that this struggles to differentiate itself from Monarch enough currently, given that both involve damaging an opponent and drawing a card as a reward, I think that this is a fine place to start playtesting. I really encourage you, however, to pursue different rewards, and perhaps even different means of ending the feud. Monarch is just the beginning of this design space, and it's very easy to hug closely to the foothold it's given us in this area, but we have to push further. Try to brainstorm alternate ways to push the game forward while also dealing conclusive 'hits', and alternate rewards that all decks would appreciate.

Any Artisans have ideas on different triggers and rewards for the feud?

As I commented, this is certainly some out-of-the-box templating that significantly cleans up cards where multiple activated abilities are present, but it's still quite tough to read, and certainly too much complexity, and too many lines of text, for common. The major problem is that not many cards really need this execution, or benefit greatly from it. While you do have fun designs here that use their symmetry to great advantage, I'm not sure this technology is needed often enough to justify its use. Consider how often charms show up, then extend that line of reasoning: how often should we expect to see charms on sticks, or on legs?

Overall, I think there's a great ambition here, real creativity and spark, but the idea had a lot less design space than expected. But again, it's very clear that you tackled this challenge from a unique and exciting angle, and you poured a lot of effort into probing the design space in some intriguing ways, such as Fae or Foe. I'm eager to see future entries from you!

My goodness, that is a lot of reminder text. It's very easy to miss the rules text at the bottom there, but, well, it's there! I think that reminder text could be cleaned up, similarly to Sagas, but yeah, as it is it's too much.

As we were discussing, this mechanic has been tried before, and wasn't met well in playtesting. It reduces game variance considerably, even with just one set card. However, we're in a new frontier of Magic: as you noted, the entire point of Commander is reducing game variance with the Commander, so perhaps there's room for build-around prememorized cards that serve as the backbone of fun decks, and are weak and narrow outside of the decks that utilize them cleverly. If that's your design goal, though, starting with this Ring isn't the best move, to be honest. I said I'd be reviewing Ring of Blind Eternities, but I decided against it because it just did not capture your design goal.

Skypride's Boon really demands a deck with flying creatures, and is a safe, fair backbone of such a deck. Still, when this comes out every game with the deck, consistently, does that make the game less fun? In Commander, the importance of the command zone concept is that the decks are singleton - the idea is that the variance is balanced out, so that though the Commander shows up, the cards that surround them are different more often, thus evening out and producing fun games. In a format like Standard, Prememorized might reduce games to boring consistency. The problem with designing cards like Skypride's Boon is also that the decks using it would likewise end up same-y. They're going to want to be aggressive, {W}{U}, flying decks.

I encourage you to playtest this, with your design goals firmly in mind. Many designers have thought of this keyword, even Mark Rosewater, and it's a natural, intuitive, intriguing concept. Innovation means breaking rules, and I think this is a rule that could be broken, if broken right. I think you should try to figure out how to do it right! You're certainly on a good path to do so, if not at the final destination yet. 

Any Artisans have ideas on how to improve upon Prememorized? Any card ideas for it come to mind? Feel free to post them in the comments!

This is indeed interesting. I think it's telling that you leave this to stand on its own merits, as it can do so. We've got a pushed flying 2/2 for {1}{W}, that drops a +1/+1 counter when it enters, but with a natural downside: enemies can flicker it. Doing so, however, retriggers its ability, providing a natural punisher-esque ability. What makes this even more interesting is that the player themselves can flicker this repeatedly, making it into "{2}: Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature you control." When attacking with this, the enemy can shut it down, or you can use this ability as a protective barrier, as well. Lots of decisions going on with this. I'd bump it up to rare given the complexity in play, and the weirdness of that activated ability.

This isn't the most 'out there' design, but it is out of the box in how it approaches a punisher mechanic! I like it! Nice work, Lee.

So, reverse-Surge! We've seen cards trigger off the first spell cast each turn, but never a card reward itself for being the first spell cast in a turn. It's something new to be sure, but is it 'out of the box'? Hm... I don't think so, to be honest. This isn't a particularly surprising or innovative effect. A design isn't out-of-the-box just because it's never before done. Being out-of-the-box requires some real innovation and surprise, and I don't get much of that from this.

Now, my primary worry with this is that it's a lot easier to be the first spell cast in a turn than the second spell cast in a turn. To cast two spells in one turn is naturally self-limiting (since you only draw one card per turn normally), and happens less often. But any spell you cast can be the first spell in a turn, which makes it quite trivial. If there was some tough choices to make regarding sequencing - for example, if the card really wants to be the second spell cast in a turn - then it'd make it a compelling decision. But there isn't.

Unfortunately for Burst of Insight, I think it goes in the opposite direction. Drawing cards is something you prefer to do before casting other spells, to give you more information for your turn, and to give you more potential spells to cast. This reduces the 'leadoff' question to a pretty simple one: do you want to get a discount of {2} and discard a card by doing so? It's not as much about the 'first spell' thing any more, which is a shame.

I think this keyword could have some fun to it, but it really needs the right designs; and while Burst of Insight is alright, I don't think it does the keyword justice. I'd love to see some iteration on this design, Dvoraen, and I encourage other Artisans to try to come up with some cards that meet my stringent requirements: ones where the sequencing really matters.

This is probably silver-border, but oh well!

In essence, this shuts off combat for a turn, and lets your opponents block on your behalf. This would be great in a political set, or in Commander. At the very worst, it buys you a turn against attacks - but if it's after attacks, it lets you call upon other players to block for you. That could be pretty bad for you unless you negotiate the deals beforehand or really trust your foes.

I will note that this is pretty comparable to Moment of Silence. Is it worth {3}{U} more? I don't think so... I'd say that this probably wants to be like, {W}{U}, and maybe even become a cantrip to really justify it. As an instant, it's just so ephemeral and situational that it's a tough sell at {3}{W}{U}.

This is a great and cute idea, though!

Making weird Auras is a classic way to get some out-of-the-box designs. Look at Future Sight! 

This one is very weird, but it has a real explanation for its weird typeline: in one 'mode', it lingers, and in the other 'mode', it dissipates. Sometimes, you really need protection from a spell, so it's worth using this on a spell rather than a permanent.

In addition, there are some weighty rules questions with this. For example, let's say I choose a creature spell which goes from the stack to the battlefield. Does this stay on? I'd think not, since it moved between zones, but that's a question players will struggle with.

Is this worth the complexity and weirdness and usage-of-protection? That comes down to how often people would pick spells over permanents. If they never do it, this should just say 'permanent'. If they do it frequently, this might be worth it. I certainly can't imagine a way to do this as just an Enchantment without memory issues.

I wish tie-dye border was an option, but alas!

This is an interesting concept, but it has some big play concerns. What happens if my opponent doesn't have the cards needed to make a Brawl or Pauper deck? Do they just lose? If they do have the cards, we have to wait for them to assemble a new deck before your very eyes. Ouch! In addition, this doesn't let you redesign your deck, which might not be clear to players before you begin. In other words, by committing to Brawl or Pauper at the start of the game (hah, now I get the name), you get the power with this card to make others commit too. That's very interesting, but not clear enough, I think.

Lastly, we're already getting weird enough with the text; do we need the monohybrid mana costs? I think they distract from the compelling weirdness of the card.

If this took place in a Casual Commitment-topia, where everybody always had the cards on them to make Brawl and Pauper decks out of their current deck, and deckbuilding was very quick, I think this would be a really funny and exciting design. As it is, I think this is a card where the joke is more fun than the play value, unfortunately.

Jay Treat noted this is 'more of a poem than a card', that its value isn't in being fun enough to print, but in the concept, the issue it raises. So, let's explore that concept: card counting.

Many games have card-counting built into their strategy, and indeed, it's important to Magic too. In other games, such as Dominion, remembering the contents of your deck is even more valuable, as sequencing is so much more important, and you go through decks more often. Knowing whether you can buy a certain card next turn, or if you don't have enough cards in your deck left that produce resources to do so, can again make or break a game.

However, most games of Magic don't involve card counting. Magic, with its 60 card decks and the infrequency with which players near 'decking out', doesn't often come down to counting cards. Especially in casual, where the concept of counting cards is often unknown. It took me a long time playing Dominion to realize that could even be a facet of strategy... and I still don't do it!

Why don't I do it? Because it's stressful. It's mentally exhausting to be tracking all these probabilities and counts, consulting your graveyard and your hand and what's in play, to be calculating multiple possibilities and accounting for each... it taxes a player considerably to do so, if they even think to.

The issues with fun were raised, so let's focus on the 'poetic' aspect of the card: as the name implies, it's a skill-tester for a skill that many Magic games aren't concerned with, but that is an actual skill. If I were to put on my beret and goatee, and start interpreting this poem's meaning, I'd say that it's a lesson, an exaggerated hyperbolic example of a philosophy Jay Treat has on how to design out of the box.

You see, one approach to out-of-the-box design is finding new things to care about that were already integral to the game. For example, Landfall makes players care about land drops in a way that few other cards in the history of Magic ever did. Likewise, Raid shined a spotlight on the simple action of 'a creature attacking', making it into much more interesting of a mind game. Both spotlighted previously 'invisible' aspects of the game, and tested essential skills (deck composition, bluffing in combat, casting spells second main, etc.) that might have gone unnoticed by players.

I'd love to see some cards inspired by this 'poem' in the comments: what invisible skills involved with, and aspects of, Magic's gameplay can we shine a light on?

Good work, everyone!

Some real amazing submissions here. It was absolutely delightful seeing so many unorthodox and intriguing designs. My head is swirling from all of your creativity!


  1. Clearly the wording of what I am trying to get across with this mechanic still is not playing correctly. The purpose for the living forest is to activate it from your hand, what is the correct way to word this? The original design I had made was play as your land drop but was hard to tell if that even worked within the rules. 0: Activate this ability, while CARDNAME is in your hand and only during your upkeep. Put CARDNAME into play tapped and transformed. You cannot play lands this turn. Does that work?

    1. I am very sorry! I misinterpreted it completely because of that.

      What you're looking for is the following:

      "Reveal ~ from your hand: Put ~ from your hand onto the battlefield tapped and transformed. You can't play other lands this turn. Activate this ability only during your upkeep."

      I'll review it again later with this consideration in mind!

    2. At one point I had that clause. Magic wording is weird for activating things in different zones. That probably is the cleanest way to do this but I still liked the wording play as your land drop but might not even work in the rules.

    3. I read it the way you intended (although I missed it used up your land drop).

      I think there's a decent design space in "creature or land" as a way of smoothing out decks. It's pretty similar to being "creature or monocolour rampant growth", compare the alara creatures that did "forestcycling/plainscycling" etc.

      OTOH, maybe this should be more like awaken, instead of DFC (which is fiddly, ideally DFC are exciting, not utility), it should be a land that you can cast as a creature and put +1/+1 counters on, or a 0/0 creature you can play as a tapped forest.

      That way you can turn a creature into a forest without needing to remember which mode it's in, and without searching out a basic land from your deck, etc. Like a man-land, but once only.

    4. My suspicion regarding modal land/spell cards is that they will always be templated as spells, because otherwise players end up mana screwing themselves. It would have been really natural to put something like this in Zendikar block:

      Shocking Peak (uncommon)
      CARDNAME enters the battlefield tapped.
      When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, you may pay {3}{R} and sacrifice it. If you do, it deals 2 damage to any target.
      T: Add {R}.

      But too many players would count this as one of their 17 lands, whereas Fiery Fall gets counted as a spell.

    5. Exactly right, it gets tricky if you can sacrifice the land. Additionally, players will want to hold 'spell lands' in hand which might end up manascrewing themselves doubly so.

    6. I'd rather make a land that can later transform into a creature.

  2. Mortal Adversary was worded as such so that you could enchant a bolt and then make it do nothing OR enchant a creature and super pacify it. Basically a Pacify/Counterspell. My understanding of how auras falling off is that if a spell resolves and becomes a permanent, the aura stays on because while the card changed what it is its still a legal enchant target

    1. I now recognize it should probably have been "You , spells and permanents you control" so it woudl stop countermagic

    2. Right! I was focusing mostly on the spell mode in my evaluation as that's the weirdest bit. As I noted, most of the time this is going to be used as a Pacifism, so evaluating how often we use it as a Counterspell is important in determining whether the weirdness is worth it.

      And yes, it remains a legal target, but it changed zones, no? A creature changing zones causes an enchantment to fall off, so shouldn't this fall off when the spell resolves into a permanent, too?

  3. "one approach to out-of-the-box design is finding new things to care about that were already integral to the game. For example, Landfall makes players care about land drops in a way that few other cards in the history of Magic ever did"

    Ah, that's a good way of putting it! Yes, Jay's submission does exactly that. Maybe something less ambitious, say, "name a card, opponent tells you whether it's in their library, you check, if they're wrong, X"?

  4. I’ve been batting around Zachariah’s concept, in my head named “pure” mana, for a while now. Once colorless mana became a thing, pure mana seemed like the next natural step. However, functionally it just works as a sixth color of mana. The only way currently to make “purple mana” IS by making a mana of any color. So you sort of run into the issues MaRo has talked about regarding the concept of purple cards in Planar Chaos.

    1. There are so many cards that make "a mana of any color," that I think giving it its symbol is reasonable (in a set that does a lot of that).
      Costs that require this uber-mana really aren't possible without it; I'm not convinced they're worth doing even with it, but I'm not sure they aren't either.

    2. From a design perspective, it's appealing to be able to make 5 color cards that cost less than 5 mana.

      Triaphilia (uncommon)
      { A }
      Choose one
      - Deal 3 damage to any target.
      - Gain 3 life.
      - Target creature gets +3/+3 until end of turn.

      ^ Though this really wants to be a 3 color design. I suppose 5 color spells can also just be more powerful versions of spells:

      Feel the Colors (common)
      2 { A }
      Draw 3 cards.

      In limited I could imagine this being hard to support though - or to support without having every deck be able to play every card (ie splash good cards like a normal 5 color deck in Limited). Possibly an opposing theme could be mono color? With lots of strong CC cards that would be hard to splash.

    3. In theory, I think they want to feel five-color…

      Triaphilia (uncommon)
      { A }
      Choose one
      - Gain 3 life.
      - Draw a card.
      - Target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn.
      - Deal 3 damage to any target.
      - Target creature gets +3/+3 until end of turn.

      Feel the Colors (uncommon)
      2 { A }
      Gain 2 life, draw a card, each opponent discards a card, ~ deals 2 damage to each creature, and creatures you control get +1/+1 until EOT.

      …but I think that'll very quickly prove prohibitive, so in practice, yeah.

  5. What happens when you blink Flight of Thoughts?

    1. Same thing that happens if you blink a nonpermanent face-down card.

    2. Fair. Not sure that’s super intuitive the same way that a manifested sorcery is - a face up sorcery on the battlefield is never supposed to be there, while this card often is.

  6. I'm still going over how to clean things up with Etherian. I think it has two simpler paths, either the tutor path or the p/t plan.
    I could either make it exile up to two cards and have p/t equal to cards in exile
    Or exile one card and put a card into your hand when it dies. That was too similar to Clone Shell for me, so I moved onto the Psychatog version.

  7. Riffing on my design.

    Knife to a Gun Fight
    Sorcery (R)
    Before starting the next game this match, each player removes from their decks all copies beyond the first of all nonbasic land cards in their deck. Each player may then put a legendary creature or planeswalker from their deck in the command zone. If they do, that player is a commander for the remainder of the game (it may be cast from the command zone for its mana cost, plus an additional 2 for each time it was cast this game. If it would leave the battlefield, its owner may put it in their command zone.)

  8. Sky mana reminds me of a half-baked idea I was considering for Muraganda seven years ago. I was trying to give mana other qualities and since it was a tribal set, there was lizard mana, bird mana, beast mana, etc. I think I handled that they way that mana generated by snow-covered lands is inherently snow mana; my lands must have been Tribal Land—Lizard and the like. Weird. Not sure how I rewarded it. If you cast this Lizard spell with Lizard mana, it gets a +1/+1 counter?

  9. Planeswalk {7}
    Sorcery (m)
    Replace your library with another legal deck.
    (Good luck sorting them out after the game ends.)

    1. Actually, that should be an instant. For flavor.

    2. Gold. Well, colorless, but figuratively gold.

  10. Big fan of Reuben's design. Innovative frames are another space I'm very interested in. I think the best execution of this idea is using transformers, though I may think that because I concepted a mechanic like this for a spells matter set. The big thing imo with the current frame is that I feel like it reads too much like a creature (well, because it is one partially) when it normally isn't. Maybe it's not an issue, but first glance at the card is a little tough to grasp it's a spell normally, that you can kick into a creature. This is another reason I like dfc to solve this. If you want to keep using this frame idea, I recommend doing what vehicles did to make it a little more clear they aren't creatures-- a more stand our frame and, more specifically, a different colored stat box to draw attention to it and let us know those stats aren't normal.