Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The GDS3 Design Test I Didn't Submit

Months ago now, I walked through the 10 cards that I submitted for the Design Test and my process. Today, I'd like to share with you my alternate set. The group I compared with the one I did submit and just barely decided against.

Three of the ten cards from my alternate set are the same as my actual submission: Echidna's Pup, Recall with Purpose, and Illusive Vagabond. Here are the other seven:

While I'm very happy with Bucket List, there's an alternate universe where this is the card advantage spell I gave to Izzet players. I love that you literally draft cards with your opponent on the spot. Functionally, you simply get the 2nd, 4th, and 6th best cards on top of your deck, which is totally worth the cost, but it will also feel bad losing your 1st and 3rd best cards. I think Day at the Market only truly appeals to Spike Drafters.

Fiona, Bioneer was my favorite planeswalker design of the week and I was sad not to be able to include her.

Another of my signature hot glue gun designs I was super happy with. Glory of the Skies is a very white, very blue, and very splashy enchantment.

While I don't think this is a masterful design, Tibalt, Tormentor was my second favorite PW of the week. I think it represents the character very well, and I'm a little bit enamored with the way it has two minus abilities that cantrip and no ultimate (again, given the character's story).

I'm pleased to have discovered that there's a much cleaner template for Pet Fight in Savage Punch. Anyhow, I like the idea of a cycle of hybrid cards where you either get a synergistic bonus for spending both colors to cast it, and color-fixing to help you get the second color if not.

The reason I made so many hot-glue gun cards is because those are staples of gold design and when you can find one that feels right, it really clicks. Poisonous Overgrowth is pretty 'meh.' Bought the Farm wasn't great but it was better.

I just wasn't feeling inspired on my green-white designs that week. Patrol isn't meant to appeal to Spike or the average expert player. It's meant to appeal to casual players, Vorthos, and a few Tammies. I like the flavor, and worst case it's an easy cantrip.

In the end, I felt like the weak cards in this submission were weaker than the strong cards were stronger.


  1. I love Day at the Market and Poisonous Overgrowth. Patrol is also very cute.

    Glory of the Skies I think would have been a very risky rare to submit - your rares are where you’re able to push the furthest, and to have skipped doing so to staple Levitation to a Glorious Anthem might not have been well-received.

    Would love to hear more about the cantripping minuses on tibalt and why you like them as much as you do. They feel a bit out of place to me, as they don’t relate to the rest of the card & it’s theming. (I do think it’d be good for gameplay, though...maybe that’s what you meant?)

    Agree that you made the right choice in your actual submission, especially since you made top 8. (results oriented thinking! Woo!)

    1. That card draw makes those abilities relevant even when there are few or no -1/-1 counters in play. Thematically, they are either information Tibalt has tortured out of your enemies, or simply sadistic inspiration.

    2. Can BR draw cards without a downside like life loss/sac for B or discarding first for R

  2. "GU planeswalker that copies stuff" is by far the most common design I've seen submitted of all the challenge 3's I've read.

    For a long time, my BR card worked very similarly to Pet Fight. The reason it changed was because of my research into the previous contests (specifically GDS1). In it, a designer got criticized for using this "colors spent to cast on hybrid card" idea, and the judge very specifically stated that it was confusing and unpopular with players. I have made many cards, even entire sets, using this mechanic, but that comment really made me think again. It might be a mechanic that excites us designers more than the players at large.

    Patrol is one of my favorite designs I've seen in a while, the exact kind of cute card that I love to make and love to play with.

  3. Day at the Market is a great pick for #1, but it's one of those "gets much better as an instant but doesn't need to be one" card advantage spells. That's a nitpick on an otherwise catchy design.

    Fiona does some cool cool things at a reasonable text size. I like the + and ult but even though the - is connected between them, part of me wants something that /doesn't/ copy. Probably moot. I'd want to play with this for sure!

  4. Ooh, I like some of the ideas here, even if they didn't come together quite as well as your main submission

    I love the "copy when you deal damage" ultimate, I wish that were an emblem or an enchantment, or maybe a sorcery.

    I like several of the glue gun designs, skies and overgrowth, although I agree if you have a non-glue-gun design it was probably a better submission.

    I love the flavour of Patrol, but it feels a bit sad you only get a card even if you've already whiffed on the creature. Is there any way to make it more symmetric, to give you a chance to cast opponent's creature? Or let you look at more than 1, and get the creature into your hand? Maybe it makes it too complicated.