Friday, June 8, 2018

Weekend Design Challenge 060818 - No Judge Free For All

While Inanimate and I catch up with our backlog of play-along GDS challenges (we're getting there, I promise), we're taking a week off from judging. Got a cool idea for a card you want feedback from the Artisan community on? Drop it below in the comments, and then offer someone else some feedback. No one's doing a formal judging this week, but I might pop in on Sunday to offer some feedback.

Have fun, and enjoy the weekend.


  1. Just some card designs I have in my files. Some of these I made for the design trial (Iker, Sparkwhipper, Soul's Judgment)

    Iker, Disciple of Life´s Wheel (Mythic)
    Legendary Planeswalker - Iker
    +2: Create a 1/1 green Saproling creature token. You may pay {G}. If you do, create another one of those tokens.
    +2: Sacrifice a creature. If you do, add {B}{B}.
    -8: You get an emblem with ¨Once each turn, you may sacrifice a creature rather than pay the mana cost for a creature spell that you cast.¨

    Snappy Sparkwhipper (Uncommon)
    Creature - Vedalken Wizard
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, it deals 1 damage to target creature. Untap that creature.

    Soul´s Judgment (Rare)
    Exile target creature. At the end of turn, return that creature to the battlefield under its owner´s control, or put it into its owner´s graveyard.

    Samortelm of Alara (Mythic)
    Legendary Planeswalker - Samortelm
    +1: Add {G}{W}{U}, {W}{U}{B}, {U}{B}{R}, {B}{R}{G}, or {R}{G}{W}
    -3: Deal X damage to any target, where X is equal to the number of basic land types among lands you control.
    -7: You get an emblem with ¨Spells you cast have cascade¨.

    Magma Missile (Common)
    Kicker - Discard a basic Mountain card.
    ~ deals 2 damage to any target. If ~ was kicked, it deals 3 damage to that target instead.

    1. The Sparkwhipper is a neat way to contravene the Kiki-Jiki/Splinter Twin interaction. I like how lenticular it is. Nice card!

    2. Samortelm's +1 is kind of silly since it costs 5c to begin with. Maybe 3 mana in any combination of colors instead?

    3. Magma Missile will cause players to mana screw themselves. How about something like:

      Magma Missile (Common)
      ~ deals 2 damage to any target. If you control six or more Mountains, it deals 3 damage to that target instead.

    4. Really, really liking the Sparkwhipper and Soul's Judgement. They both act like strong modal spells without being obvious/saying "choose one".

      Iker's +1 is interesting with the optional mana payment, and I like how the 1st and 2nd abilities are tied together. However, I think the 2nd ability should be a may since you may just want to add 2 loyalty and do nothing (not even make a creature with the 1st ability), but that's a minor nit-pick.

      I will also agree with Jay about Magma Missile, though I think it's a cool idea.

    5. iker seems really easy to loop you might want to exile the sacrifice

    6. Samortelm adds those combinations of colors because he/she/it is from Alara.

      Fair feedback on Magma Missile. I designed it for more experienced players, but I should keep new players in mind even when doing so. Either they would manascrew themselves, or they would never use the kicker ability until the very late game (which is somewhat close to the intended play pattern, they would likely just wait much longer than experienced players).

      What do you mean that Iker is easy to loop Weinberger? You can only use one of his abilities each turn, so I don't see what you mean.

  2. A card I never got a chance to put up in the GDS3:

    Puffing Rootwalla
    Creature - Lizard - Rare
    GG: Put two +1/+1 counters on ~. Activate this ability only once each turn.
    At the beginning of each end step, remove a +1/+1 counter from ~.

    1. That's awesome, but a little bookkeepingy.

    2. Ah, it's unusual to want to activate your Rootwalla every turn. Nice.
      Have they done one with vigilance?

    3. Nope, that’s interesting! What rarity? My gut says it’d have to be uncommon (it’s very mathy on both p/t and mana left over) but you could make an argument it’d be a fine common.

    4. Do you think a French vanilla Rootwalla with vigilance alone is exciting enough to be rare?

    5. I feel that would be on the higher-end of uncommon or the low end of rare. It does add complexity to the board both on offense and on defense. Then again the added complexity is limited (it's only once each turn and only on Rootwalla itself).

  3. I'm a behind on the Dominaria story, but it's seems like the fact that Liliana has killed at least three demons warrants a card.

    Liliana, Demon Slayer {2}{B}{B}
    Planeswalker-Liliana (m)
    0: Each player discards a card. Put a loyalty counter on Liliana for each card discard this way.
    -3: Destroy target creature. If it’s a Demon, put five loyalty counters on Liliana.
    -10: You get an emblem with “Your life total cannot be reduced below the number of cards in your hand.”
    3 loyalty

    1. I love the 0 ability, and the flavor is seeping on the 2nd and 3rd abilities. As far as gameplay, I feel like the ultimate is a bit too powerful as it could lead to unfun gamestates, and the 2nd ability is maybe in danger of being a little too swingy, but it seems fine to me.

    2. The ultimate wins against most non-black decks. (but in the bad "the game didn't actually end way"). I felt like it should represent the power/freedom/immortality Liliana secures once all her demons are defeated. Hmm.

    3. The judges didn’t like my Kaya ultimate (“Kaya can’t be attacked”) but perhaps something similar is warranted here? “Search your library for any number of Liliana planeswalkers and put them into your hand” could be neat perhaps?

    4. I see a few interesting and subtle issues here. First off the -3 +5 ability should probably just be a +2 destroy up to one target demon. The 0 ability is cool in commander but quickly becomes unplayable anywhere else. Also, Liliana has never had the destroy target creature part of the black color pie, it’s always been sacrifice or -1/-1 based. Finally, the ultimate doesn’t win you the game, it just insures you that you don’t lose it which is way worse for gameplay.
      I feel like she needs some more Liliana abilities. Zombies, swamps, graveyard recursion. If you want a Timmy ultimate just put a rise of the dark realms type effect as her ultimate.

    5. @marc "Destroy larger demon" is too narrow for the small ability on a card. Maybe split the ability in two and have a 4 ability planeswalkers?
      +2: Destroy target demon
      0: Discard
      -2: Destroy target creature

      Typically black gets kill a creature with a slight benefit at 4 mana above common.

      Also not sure about the ultimate. Even if it was just ensnaring bridge, it's pretty annoying. Maybe

      Target opponent creates a 5/5 flying black demon creature token with "You can't win the game and your opponent can't lose the game."?

    6. That's what I was going with on the +2 but I wouldn't make it destroy target demon. I'd make it destroy up to one target demon. The discard is too narrow a lot of the time and will make it impossible to plus most of the time.

      I get that black can destroy target creature, but Liliana doesn't. Planeswalkers tend to embody specific parts of their color pie, not the entirety of it. Liliana has never had a blanket "destroy target creature" and I'd stick with the philosophy that she probably shouldn't. You could make it "-X/-X based on the number of swamps you control" and i'd have no problem with it. There's also never been a destroy target creature on a 4 mana black planeswalker.

    7. Liliana, Demon Slayer {1}{B}{B}
      Planeswalker-Liliana (m)
      +1: Each player discards a card. Put a loyalty counter on Liliana for each Demon card discarded this way.
      -1: Each player sacrifices a creature. Put three loyalty counters on Liliana for each Demon sacrificed this way.
      -10: Search your library for any number of Liliana planeswalker cards with different names, put them OTB, then shuffle your library.
      3 loyalty

    8. This is currently more powerful than liliana of the vale, and basically the same abilities with flavor effects.

  4. This is an idea I've been messing with for a while. Looking for some feedback:

    Ambitious Strike - {B/R}
    Sorcery - R
    If {R} was spent to cast this spell, deal 1 damage to target creature. If {B} was spent to cast this spell, destroy target damaged creature.
    Flashback {B/R} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

    1. I'm not sure I'd change anything about this. It's the rare set that wants hybrid and flashback and not aftermath or fuse, but in a vacuum: Sweet.

    2. I love this! This begs to be a cycle.

    3. I like it, but it still kind of feels aftermathy to me. I mean, I know it's more versatile, but I wonder which play pattern will occur more regularly?

  5. Grandmaster Oboro
    Legendary Creature - Ninja Advisor
    Deathtouch, first strike, myriad
    All creature cards in your hand have ninjutsu with costs equal to their casting cost.

    Resonance Cascade Initiator
    Legendary Artifact
    At the beginning of your upkeep, exile a number of cards from the top of your library equal to the number of your cards exiled this game.
    Resonance Cascade Initiator has all the activated abilities of all your cards in exile.

    Enchantment - Curse
    Enchant player
    When a source would deal damage to enchanted player, that source gains lifelink until end of turn.

    Those are cute. The next one is horrendous, but I'm hoping to work it into someone's new favorite EDH commander. Any help would be appreciated.

    Vigean Gigapon, Nursery Leviathan
    Legendary Land Creature - Turtle Plant Mutant
    Graft 0
    Vigean Gigapon, Nursery Leviathan enters the battlefield tapped.
    Vigean Gigapon, Nursery Leviathan doesn’t untap if it has any counters on it.
    T: Add U or G.
    XGU, T: Put X +1/+1 counters on Vigean Gigapon, Nursery Leviathan.

    This one as well, I'm hoping to find something that ties these abilities together a little better.

    Sybarites of Demondream
    Legendary Creature - Demon Illusion
    The Sybarites of Demondream costs R less to cast for each red creature that dealt combat damage this turn.
    The Sybarites of Demondream costs B less to cast for each black creature that dealt combat damage this turn.
    1(B/R)(B/R): Create a 2/1 Ignis Illusion red and black creature token. You may activate this ability when The Sybarites of Demondream is in your command zone.

    1. Oboro (might consider name change, since Oboro is a moonfolk cloud palace Oboro, Palace in the Clouds): Myriad and Ninjutsu seem very cool together, if a tad mana intensive. I think the Deathtouch/First Strike is so close to unblockable, it may just as well be, then at least it's not an all-star blocker too.

      Scapegoat is a pretty interesting curse. I'm slightly worried that the lifelink is too strong, and basically makes it impossible for the cursed player to ever dig themselves out of the hole you put them in. Also, wording needs tweaking (right now it's worded half as a trigger, half as a replacement effect), perhaps "Sources that deal damage to enchanted player have lifelink"?

      Vigean has some cool ideas going on, but needs more focus. I would either go with land that can make itself a creature, or land that can put +1/+1 counters for Graft on itself, but ditch the creature bit.
      Beware long names and typelines, because neither fit on an actual card (Magic Set Editor or similar tools help with this).

      Sybarites's cost reduction + activated ability go together very well. Do wonder why it's an illusion (no illusion mechanics), and if you want the cost reduction to work on any creature or only your own creatures.
      Slight tweak to save card space: "~ costs R less to cast for each red creature that dealt combat damage this turn, and B less to cast for each black creature that dealt combat damage this turn"

  6. Been toying around with other ways to represent ranged combat other than " tap: deal x damage". Came up with:

    Aim 2 (whenever ~ attacks, you may play a projectile with cost 2 or less without paying it's cost)

    With cards like:

    Instant - projectile
    Deal 1 damage to a target.
    Draw a card.

    Most projectiles would be cheap controls, with trick arrows and such allowing for a variety of effects.

    Flashbang arrow
    Instant - projectile
    Tap target creature.
    Draw a card.

    1. What do you lose by opening it up?
      Aim 2 (whenever ~ attacks, you may cast a sorcery or instant spell with cost 2 or less without paying its cost)

    2. Probably a change in rarity but it is nice to have cards be open ended. I dislike cards that can't sac themselves or negative effects you can't target your own creatures with. I know a lot of changes in Magic have been done due to digital.

    3. @Jay, one is flavor (a poor reason, I know), but the second is control. I'm worried about development having to keep in mind that an entire keyword allows all cheap instant/ sorceries to be played for free.

      I haven't play tested much, but I imagine it'd be able to be broken pretty easily.

    4. I think those are very valid reasons, especially the latter. Not only because of development, but also because not all instants and sorceries make sense as projectiles (How do you sling Charge at something?)
      Unfortunately that does make the mechanic rather parasitic, and makes it require a heavy investment in the set it's in (you need both Aim and Projectile cards; Projectile cards are also functional without Aim cards however, so that's good).

    5. I really like the idea of this but it seems like one of those things you'd want to backdate to make tons of projectiles exist. It wouldn't be impossible but I feel like the update isn't necessarily worth the mechanical gain.

      There's something I've been looking at that seems like it could fit in some form here. What if you make projectiles tokens (like treasure) that tap sac to do one damage to target player that cards can give you extra effects on. (you could have it give other effects, like vigilance or first strike instead of doing damage.)

      Then you could have a creature show up with two projectile tokens and have AIM - When ~ attacks you may sacrifice a projectile token, tap target creature.

    6. like painful clues. Lol. I'd be interested to see which method plays better.

  7. A couple of concepts I'd love some feedback on.

    First, a plane I've come up with revolves around wild exponential growth, in size, fecundity (both birth and disease), and power. It's a living plane and it's pregnant. (What? Makes total sense.)

    So trying to figure out ways to present this at common and with small creatures on the early part of the mana curve. I came up with a cycle of creatures that call their partners, but not immediately to try to balance it.


    Partnered Gull - 1U (Common)
    Creature - Bird
    At the start of your next upkeep after CARDNAME enters the battlefield, create a 1/1 blue Bird creature token with flying.

    So there'd be a color appropriate version of each of these. The token in each case is an exact copy of the original creature and comes into play your next upkeep.

    In wackier design concepts, I keep on iterating a Rakdos planeswalker. I have become obsessed with the idea of trying to make a B/R planeswalker powerful and playable even as the color combination defies the need for these cards to "protect" themselves. So I currently have the concept of the demonic planeswalker as a "recurring villain" in mind.

    Fulmer, Rebel Hellspawn 3BR
    -2: Until your next turn, all creatures lose hexproof and indestructible, damage cannot be prevented, and players can't gain life.
    -3: CARDNAME becomes a 5/5 red and black Demon creature with haste, menace, and deathtouch
    -5: You get an emblem, "Pay 7 life: Return target Fulmer card from your graveyard to the battlefield."
    Loyalty: 5

    So is it clear that when you activate his second ability, he becomes a demon and loses his planeswalker status, and he remains that way while he's on the battlefield?

    Is there ever a reason why you would even bother with his first ability? Should I just go with something more basic in damage/destruction? Is it incompatible with his emblem, which maybe encourages you to play with black life drain?

    And is he interesting?

    1. Hmm, I must admit that I did not notice that he doesn't turn back to a Planeswalker when you do the -3.

      For your common, is looks a bit wordy / complex for the rarity and the effect. I think that an imprtant aspect to consider is that the delayed trigger may cause memory issues at common, because players can get confused if several of these cards are played or flickered. I think that directly indicating "at the beginning of your next upkeep, [effect]" works the same as your design.

      I'm intrigued about the plane though, what other things you had in mind?

    2. Using "At the start of your next upkeep" on your partnered cards has a number of implications. It gives players something to forget and feel awful when they do, so it better be well-justified. It makes answering a creature during your very next turn even more valuable than usual. If the goal is to just to reduce the power slightly, probably just raise the cost or make getting the token conditional somehow.

    3. They're drafting Kaladesh block on Arena this weekend and that reminded me how they managed a common token creating creature cycle in Aether Revolt by tying it to attacking and gatekeeping with energy.

      If the trigger were "The first time CARDNAME attacks ..." would that cause rules headaches/confusion once ideas like flickering/bouncing get involved for newer players?

      I'm just trying like heck not to to a basic ETB trigger with these to keep casting costs lower.

      Amarant, if you want to see my brainstorming I've got a blogger page here (thought it hasn't been updated in a while because I've been focusing on GDS3):

      If you go back a page or two, you can see me brainstorming an idea for "burgeoning enchantments" only to see them show up in Dominaria as sagas. It's funny.

    4. Thanks for the link, I've checked the latest entry :) Another possible way to do one-time effects (delayed) is using counters. Example:

      Calling Gull - {1}{U} (Common)
      Creature - Bird
      CARDNAME enters the battlefield with a time counter on it.
      At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a time counter from CARDNAME. If you do, create a 1/1 blue Bird creature token with flying.

      But makes the card very wordy. Not sure if it complies with NWO as commons are not my forte (yet). The good thing is that you could change the condition to make a token anything, like attacking, blocking, dying, etc.

    5. Unfortunately, this is a set with a hefty amount of +1/+1 counters, so I don't want to cause confusion with the possibility of creatures having more than one counter type.

      BUT! You did give me an idea for players getting a type of counter that gets spent to make creature tokens, which fits perfectly into the set's themes. So thanks for the inspiration. I just have to start brainstorming that now.

    6. Also, LOL! Today they spoiled an artifact in the Core set that has an unkeyworded version of my Reave mechanic I've been playing with. Check out Desecrated Tomb. (And here I've been worrying it's way too weird.)

  8. OK OK, so I've had a few ideas that would be nice to discuss with the artisans :) feel free to comment in any:

    1) Control magics with downside

    You only like me for my body {4}{U}{U}
    Enchantment — Aura (U)
    Enchant creature.
    Enchanted creature loses all abilities and creature types.
    You control enchanted creature.

    You only like me for my brains {3}{U}{U}
    Enchantment — Aura (U)
    Enchant creature.
    Enchanted creature has base power and toughness 0/2.
    You control enchanted creature.

    2) A quirky card I came up with

    Galvanic Repository {5}
    Artifact (M)
    Whenever you cast a spell, if that spell contained X in its cost, you may pay {1}. If you do, put a charge counter on ~.
    Whenever you cast a spell with X in its cost, you may have X become the number of charge counters on ~ instead.

    3) The mechanic I didn't submit for last week's challenge
    Well, to be honest, I didn't submit anything last week. I came with two ideas that seemed fun, so I wanted to ask for one approach here:
    How would you tackle climate (or seasons) as mechanics?
    I wanted to make a mechanic called Rainfall. This is what I came with:

    "Put a rain counter on each player. At the beginning of each player’s draw step, if it’s raining, that player removes a rain counter on them and draws a card. At the beginning of each end step, if there are no rain counters on any player, rain stops."

    The flavor is that when it rains, it helps you concentrate and thus draws each player cards. I wanted to make it so that it would rain until the end of your next turn (because you don't draw the extra card first) but it feels really wordy.

    1. I like the Control Magics. Given their downside, can probably cost a bit less.

    2. I think having cards that rotate represent the seasons very well. Something like a quad Kamigawa flip card but it would look horrible on paper, if this is facing up it is a summer creature, etc.

    3. Thnk you for your feedback!

      @Jay: I would also think they could cost less. Particularly the one that changes P/T because it still a big downside in Limited, notwithstanding it's a 2-for-1. Maybe {3}{U}{U} for the one that makes them Vanilla and {2}{U}{U} for the one that makes it 0/2?
      @Doug: yeah! I think it would not look fine either. How about restricting it to two seasons and using transform cards?

  9. Funnily enough I was toying with another design distraction this week, my own versions of the guild mechanics. So far:

    Golgari "Carron-eater (At the beginning of your upkeep, you may exile a creature card from your graveyard. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on Golgari Rotworm.)"

    Dimir "Blackmail (Dimir Confidant can't be blocked or targeted unless a player discards a card to do so)"

    Selesyna: "Landspeaker ({t}, tap another untapped creature you control: Target land you control becomes a 4/4 green and white elemental creature until end of turn.)"

    Gruul "Challenge (Creatures can't block other attacking creatures with lower power if they could block Gruul Spearleader instead.)"

    Azorius "Interdict (Players can't attack you unless they pay {1})"

    Izzet "Chain reaction (When you cast this, flip a coin. If you win the flip, put a copy of this spell onto the stack and repeat the process.)"

    Rakdos Torchmonger "Nihilism – when Rakdos Torchmonger dies, it deals 1 damage to target opponent for each creature you control that died this turn."

    Boros Brightbeam "Legion — If you control three or more creatures, it deals 4 damage to that target instead."

    Orzhov "Spook (When this creature dies you may exile it haunting target creature. That creature gets +1/+1 if you control it, else -1/-1.) "

    See linked cards for caveats, some of these are not usable as is but I enjoyed the basic concepts.

    Still working on Simic. Maybe just "This enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on. When this enters the battlefield put a +1/+1 counter on each other creature you control with a +1/+1 counter on it"?

    1. Carrion-Eater is promising.

    2. Thank you! I liked the idea, but really wasn't sure, it seemed too much like it might just boil down to "put +1/+1 counters everywhere".

    3. For nihilism, I've noticed that effects that count how many creatures die often have disappointing outcomes. Sometimes you can have multiple creatures die, but that seems to be more of an exception. You really have to build around it, which makes it difficult to have the effect in lots of places. Fortunately your torchmonger is guaranteed to do at least 1 damage. But I'd be wary about designing cards that could end up blanking. Now maybe if it was attuned for how many cards went into the graveyard that turn, then it could combo with self-discard as well and red/black spells.

    4. Neat! This came up on twitter the other day:

      Backstab (This creature assigns combat damage to players equal to its toughness rather than its power.)

      Beserker (This creature is indestructible as long as it has attacked this turn)

      Supercharge (If an instant or sorcery you control would deal damage or scry, add 1 to the amount of damage it would deal or cards you would scry.)

      Supplicate - As this enters the battlefield, tap a creature you control. If you do, X

      Foolhardy - If this creature dies while attacking, do X.

      Decompose (You may exile a creature card from your graveyard as you cast this spell)
      X. If you decomposed as you cast this spell, do X+.

    5. The golgari and rakdos mechanics are similar between our two ideas.

      Interdict feels rough, particularly as a mechanic that appears on multiple cards. Propaganda effects just crush go wide style decks.

  10. Fair Bear WW

    Creature — Kor Soldier

    Costs cannot be reduced.

    Players can't cast spells using alternate costs.

    Mana costs must be paid with mana.


    1. Hey wait a dang minute, this looks mighty familiar...! I got eliminated for this! Lmao.

  11. Opening Ploy-2WW
    If CARDNAME is in your opening hand, you may reveal it and you play first.
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield create a 3/3 white knight creature token with vigilance.

    I really like the conspiracy card that lets you go first, is it worth it to be down one card to guarantee you go first, the spell is somewhat useful, wonder how many players without white mana would play this.

  12. Here's a random idea I had (potentially for GDS Challenge #4). I feel like the new 'any target' wording can make this wording better, but I'm not exactly sure how:

    Hailfire Volley
    CARDNAME deals 3 damage to each creature, player, and planeswalker except for up to X targets.

    1. I don't think you need the up to language but currently if you cast this card with a single target, and that target dies it doesn't do anything. I'm not entirely sure that's avoidable for this effect.

      Hailfire Volly
      Choose X creatures, players or planeswalkers. Deal 3 damage to each other creature, player and planeswalker.

    2. How about something like:

      Prevent the next 3 damage that would be dealt to up to X creatures you control.
      Deal 3 damage to each creature, player, and planeswalker.

      Not sure I worded this one correctly either, but some 'preventing' effects don't target (i.e. Shining Shoal), so there's probably a way to work that in.