Wednesday, May 2, 2018

CCDD 050218 - Nemesis Aura

I've been contemplating flavor for a new set, and I wanted to find a mechanic that played up an arch-rivalry. One of the things I came up with wasn't enough to be a full-blown mechanic, but might make for an interesting card.

This is an aura that you can either play on your own creature to give them the stat boost, or on your opponents to give them a rivalry to overcome. In essence, it turns a creature into a Pokemon, rewarding the player that knocks it out with a card.

I like the flexibility here, but it's fairly bland, and for the life of me, it's so generic I can't figure out which colors it belongs in. It could be a cycle, but I think it plays better if its forced to be either an boon or a challenge for your creatures. Let's lose the choice.

This version makes your opponent's creatures formidable, but I imagine it ends in a tremendous amount of feel-bad moments. I assume most players will be able to understand the card's purpose based on flavor and mechanics, but most would still be (rightfully) hesitant to give an all-upside enchantment to an opponents creature.

I liked the flavor better in green (although this could still be a cycle), and decided to force the enchantment to live on your creature. Even though the immediate upside is still going to an opponent, the aura lives on your creature, which is definitely going to read better. It also adds modularity to the card, caring about killing all creatures with counters, regardless of where those counters originated. This is good and bad. More utility, but lost some of our flavor here. We also ended up with eight lines of rules text, which ain't great.

For the final iteration, I decided to use some Meddling Mage tech. Still eight lines, but the story is told very clearly. This is a distinct rivalry between this creature and another. Neither player gains any immediate bonus, but your opponent is put on a clock to figure this out before a fight ends this rivalry permanently.


  1. The last is definitely the best because, as conditional as it is, it's all upside (and it's a condition green can force).
    All the other are just worse than Bequethal / Casting of Bones / Fate Foretold.

  2. The problem that I have with Nemesis Aura is that you don't have a lot of control over when the chosen creature dies. The opponent might just decide not to block the enchanted creature with it. I would prefer it if it had a built-in option to force a confrontation. Maybe:

    Nemesis Aura 1GG
    Enchantment - Aura
    Enchant creature
    When ~ enters the battlefield, choose a creature card name.
    2GG: When target creature with the chosen name dies this turn, put two +1/+1 counters on enchanted creature and draw two cards, then sacrifice Nemesis Aura. You may have enchanted creature fight that creature.

    1. I definitely wanted to make it a little mini-game, so I didn't put the kill condition on the card. Green will have trouble doing this without a fight enabler, but that's ok. It also functions as evasion if you get it on a big creature and name a smaller blocker. Playtesting may show that this is too narrow, but I don't think its improved by letting the card do it all.

    2. I agree, the fight spell + nemesis combo seems a little too hard. What if it just cared about the other card dying?

      Whenever a creature with the chosen name dies, put two +1/+1 counters on enchanted creature and draw a card.

      Also, once you've gone to the trouble of choosing a name, sacrificing it seems like an unnecessary power level cap. If you can mow down multiples of a 4x or tokens, let players go big! It also makes the design less similar to just enchanting your opponents creature.

  3. A space I was experimenting with to have a similar feel (though the feel I was trying to invoke more specifically was feeling like you were bluffing or outplaying your rival) was secretly naming a creature. An example was something like
    Sheriff Woody 2w
    Vendetta (As this creature enters the battlefield, secretly choose a creature an opponent controls. You may reveal the chosen creature at any time.)
    Exile target attacking or blocking creature if it's the chosen creature.

    I didn't keep going in this direction because as a larger mechanic it had some gameplay issues (tracking a lot of them would be annoying, the gameplay gets strange as creatures enter and leave the battlefield among other things. It's been a while so Im foggy on specifics, but I'd deliberated deeply on it back then) and the flavor in practice felt more underhanded, like some sort of espionage more than a one on one duel where you had to guess your rival's moves. But as a standalone card or cycle in a set, I think the secretly choosing is a very fun minigame that you could apply to this concept. It does invoke a different feel though, so perhaps not.

    1. Secretly choosing is fun, but definitely playing in a different flavor of mechanical space. It also may sound better than it plays. So often a player has just one or two creatures on their board anyway, particularly when a three-drop lands, so a lot of the idea of bluffing won't come to fruition in a significant number of games.

    2. There were a lot of gameplay problems to be had about it as a set mechanic. I do think it can work fine as a standalone card, but that wasn't originally what I'd come up with it for. As said, it was more interesting to think about than anything, and thinking about it a lot made the problems pretty clear.

  4. I think the white version isn't going to work flavorfully. There's absolutely no 'nemesis' flavor in paying 1 W to enchant your guy then using a removal spell on it to draw 2 cards (which seems to me the only useful scenario for the card). I think there's some cool room to play with the last idea (loose templating follows).

    I Will Defeat My Rival (R)
    Enchantment - Aura
    Enchant Creature
    As this enters the battlefield, choose a creature card name.
    Enchanted creature has "T: Fight target creature with the chosen name."
    2GG: Name a new creature card.

  5. Cultivated Palet G
    Enchantment - Aura U
    Enchant Creature
    As Cultivated Palet enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.
    Enchanted creature gains deathtouch and has indestructible to creatures of chosen type.
    Whenever a creature of the chosen type an opponent controls dies put two +1/+1 counters on enchanted creature.

    1. Is 'indestructible to' a take on 'hexproof from'? Not exactly sure how that one functions.

    2. I'm not sure indestructible to X works since it's not preventing damage.
      Deathtouch against X might work.
      Were both intended?