Tuesday, August 14, 2018

CCDD 081418 — Limit Break

Cool Card Design of the Day
Time for me to take charge! Today's design was inspired by me wondering, what could creatures do with charge counters?

Leading the charge for our designs of the day, meet Follower of the Rings: 

Wow! For one time, and one time only, it can use its ability for just {U}. It can be used way earlier than when you have six mana available... or you can save it for when you have eight, to make an explosive turn where you can make two creatures unblockable at once! It's fun that it lets people have a taste of powerful late-game abilities in the early-game, just once. And it has plenty of design space, even at common, as one can see below:

Limit Break

I was musing on charge counters because I briefly considered a "remove a counter to use this one-time ability" keyword for a project. The benefits of a charge counter is that the tracking of this counter doesn't change the stats of the creature, so the emphasis is entirely on the ability. Also, the flavor of creatures holding charges is just cool. However, I wasn't a fan of one-time use, as it just didn't feel exciting enough! This lead me to the design you see before you. 

Also, the weird wording - reducing by up to {8} - was because I wanted to avoid saying "paying only its colorless mana cost" or something else uglier... and because {8} just looks really cool in a text box. Just ask the Invoker cycle, they know what's up!

Hope you all enjoy. Would love to see your thoughts and feedback in the comments. In addition, anyone got any designs that can take advantage of the full {8} discount? Would also love to see those! 


  1. That's a pretty sweet idea and I'd be excited to see what it does at higher rarities. Does the wording of "that counter" prevent any shenanigans with adding more counters or can we have cards in the set that add charge counters to creatures?

    {8} does look cool in a textbox, but I think that whatever cost you end up putting there almost certainly has to be used in the set somewhere. If you can get that to work, cool. An ability with a cost of 8CC (or similar) really is going to be essentially one-shot though. {5} might be more reasonable.

    As far as the cards themselves, a 2B 1/4 feels weird to me. Also the red version seems like the weakest of the bunch by a large margin.

  2. "U, Remove a charge counter from ~ or 5U:"

    I don't think reducing the cost by 8 is appropriate unless the ability costs 8. Just set it up as a trade off instead.

    1. Yeah, I've come to realize the same. I think I was being way too cutesy. I like this suggestion!

  3. I quite like the idea of an expensive activated ability that's cheaper once.

    I'm confused by this statement: "or you can save it for when you have eight, to make an explosive turn where you can make two creatures unblockable at once!" No matter how I interpret the mechanic's intent, I can't math it (and so I'm less sure about the mechanic's intent).

    I can't help but wonder if these don't all want to use energy counters so that my Ampryn Paladin dying doesn't 'waste' its charge when I have another ready to go.

    1. Follower of the Rings {3}{U}
      2/2 Human Wizard
      When ~ ETB, gain EE.
      5U or EEU: Unblock a thing.

      Follower of the Rings {3}{U}
      2/2 Human Wizard
      When ~ ETB, unblock a thing.
      5U: Unblock a thing.

    2. That was from an earlier iteration when it was {4}{U}{U}! My apologies!

      I've been hearing the comments about energy a lot. It's a good call. Unfortunately, it isn't as easy to write out as the first version.

      The second version is what Reuben Covington has suggested. It's alright, but it doesn't capture the full intrigue of the mechanic. I do like that it mitigates the problems of other ETB cards in that you don't feel too bad if you have to cast it at a poor time, because the ability lets you re-use the effect.

    3. So, when I spend my charge counter, I get an {8} total discount to that creature's activations for the turn. So when the base activation cost is 4UU, I can activate it once for UU, a second time for UU, and a third time for 4UU?

      Might be tricky to template that clearly. On the other hand:

      Follower of the Rings {3}{U}
      2/2 Human Wizard
      ~ ETB with a charge counter on it.
      Remove a charge counter from ~: Add {8} to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to activate abilities of creatures you control.
      {5}{U}: Unblock a thing.

      Needs to limit it to creatures in this class, possibly by type, possibly by still having charge counters on them?