Friday, August 23, 2019

Weekend Design Challenge - Flipwalkers

Good afternoon, Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design parameters. With those as your guidelines, design a custom magic card. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs, and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. If I have time over the course of next week, I will try to offer some of my own feedback.


This weekend, let's design some Origins-style flip-walkers.


  • Pick a character from the PW roster that doesn't have a flip-walker.
  • Create a legendary creature that transforms into a Planeswalker.
  • The card should encapsulate their "origin" moment of sparking into Planeswalker.
  • Bonus points for making something that could make an interesting commander.
Good luck, have fun, and I'll see you all Monday.

29 comments:

  1. Let's go with a known origin story.

    Domri the Guildless 1R
    Creature- Human Scout
    2/1
    Whenever CARDNAME attacks, add G to your mana pool at the beginning of the next main phase.
    Tap a green creature you control: Exile CARDNAME, then return him to the battlefield transformed under his owner's control.
    //
    Domri of the Gruul
    [3]
    +1: Until your next turn, whenever a creature deals damage to CARDNAME, you may have target creature you control fight that creature.
    -1: Draw a card if you control a creature with power 4 or greater.
    -6: Create four 4/4 red and green Beast creature tokens with trample.

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    1. Errata: "Tap an _untapped_ green creature you control"

      Also, I'm wondering if the minus ability should be "for each creature you control". That would probably demand some more careful balancing, though.

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    2. What about "draw a card for each creature with power 4 or greater you control"?

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    3. Yeah, that's a reasonable option. Probably wants to be -2 in that case.

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    4. I love this. Mono-R into Gruul is super flavorful, as is the beast-companion flip condition.
      This is relatively easy to flip, so I'm glad that most of the walker abilities are pretty situational. I wish there was slightly more connect between the G generation on side 1 and anything on side 2, but the overall flavor carries it.

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  2. Kaya, Righteous Killer {1}{W}{B}
    Legendary Creature - Human Assassin
    2/2
    Deathtouch, lifelink
    When ~ dies, if a creature dealt damage by her this turn died, exile her, then return her to the battlefield transformed.
    //
    Kaya, Spectral Slayer
    [3]
    +1: You gain 1 life for each creature card target player owns in exile.
    -1: Exile target creature card from a graveyard. Create a 1/1 white and black Spirit creature token with flying.
    -3: ~ deals 3 damage to target creature and you gain 3 life.

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    1. Flavor and mechanics feel very Kaya. Nice work.

      May I suggest 3/1 base stats to make it more likely that she actually dies in combat? It would be a letdown to have her assassinate a bunch of chump blockers without transforming.

      I'm not sold on the +1 since most of the time it requires using the -1 to do anything. Contrast that with Kaya, Orzhov Usurper, who had an ultimate that cared about what was exiled combined with two other abilities that could easily feed it.

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    2. I feel like having her front side actually being useful on its own is actually more interesting than always wanting to flip it? Also concerned 3/1 lifelink with the value backside might be a tad on the strong side.

      As for the +1, how about "You gain 1 life plus 1 life for each creature that died this turn"?

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    3. Oh yeah, that's a cool idea for +1. Fits great with her flip trigger.

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    4. Very nice package, overall. I think three mana might be a little too aggressive for a kill spell that nets you 2 life and a PW. But dying having killed an enemy is a great spark trigger.

      As far as the PW side, I like the revised +1 a lot more. The -1 is nice in theory, but I'm not sure what business a character notorious for killing ghosts has creating more of them.
      -3 is fine. This is a very Spikey card overall. I wish there was a little more in the way of Jenny or Tammy appeal. Efficient and functional, but nothing there that makes me want to run a WB Kaya deck, as opposed to including her in a WB deck.

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  3. Tezzeret, Seeker Initiate UB
    Legendary Creature - Human Artifacer
    When Tezzeret enters the battlefield, create a legendary artifact token named Codex Etherium.
    If Tezzeret would die, exile him and return him to the battlefield transformed instead.
    3/1
    //
    Tezzeret, Master of the Infinite Consortum
    Legendary Planeswalker - Tezzeret (UB)
    +1:Target artifact becomes a creature with base power and toughness 5/5.
    -1:Target artifact creature you control fights target creature you don't control.
    -5:Sacrifice all artifacts you control. Target player loses 5 life for each artifact sacrificed this way.
    3

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    1. Death trigger doesn't seem all that appropriate here. Maybe "when he deals combat damage to a player"?

      I love the way that the useless Codex combines a story beat with a mechanical hint at how to use the 'walker abilities.

      I'm guessing the ultimate would play better if it said "any number of artifacts".

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    2. https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/feature/seekers-fall-part-2-2009-01-27

      Tezz sparks when he gets stabbed in the chest.

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    3. I know part of the story of the codex was that it was a fraud, but it still feels kind of weird to have an artifact token that does absolutely nothing at all. It might be a bit confusing for some players.

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    4. The token does nothing, but I think there would be context in the set around the card so that players would know why it does nothing.

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    5. And, of course, the purpose of token is immediate once you flip Tezzeret, and that's extremely easy to do.

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    6. That front side is flavorful to a fault. It's ok for mythic rare cards to be somewhat confusing on their face. Making a legendary junk artifact token might be pushing that a little hard.

      I'm no Play Designer, but that back half looks mega broken. for 2 mana, after he chump blocks or recklessly attacks and likely trades, you immediately get at least 1 5/5. Next turn he basically picks off your opponents best creature, swings for 5? The PW package seems incredibly aggressively tuned. He also needs something to do if you ever don't have an artifact on the battlefield.

      I'm not sure if the Codex was indestructible or not, but maybe making it a 2/2 or 3/3 indestructible instead of 5/5 as a + ability is a little more reasonable. He needs to either be able to generate artifacts, or do something not contingent on having some.

      There's some good stuff to start with there, but like all PWs, this needs a good amount of tinkering and playtesting to make sure its fun and works as expected.

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  4. Tamiyo, Eager Scholar
    3U
    Legendary Creature - Moonfolk Wizard
    Flying
    2U, return a land you control to its owner's hand: draw a card.
    Whenever you draw a card, if you have nine or more cards in hand, you may exile ~ and return her to the battlefield transformed.
    2/2
    //
    Tamiyo the Storykeeper
    Legendary Planeswalker - Tamiyo
    (color identity: blue)
    +1: You may cast an instant or sorcery card from your hand with converted mana cost less than or equal to the amount of loyalty counters on ~ without paying its mana cost.
    -1: Draw a card for each loyalty counter on ~.
    -8: You may cast up to 8 instant or sorcery cards from your hand or graveyard without paying their mana costs.
    Loyalty: 3

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    1. The front side is very resonant with Tamiyo's identity and the moonfolk in general, and the combination of ability and trigger plays well-- nicely done. As far as Commanders go Kefnet the Mindful gestures at the same theme, but getting this 'walker is a much better reward for U than having a random 5/5 flyer to attack and block with

      That being said, Tamiyo has never particularly cared about instants and sorceries, and there's a good design reason for that-- namely, not wanting to step on other blue planeswalkers' toes. I think the back half of Tamiyo should respect that more. Maybe the +1 could be "Untap up to X target permanents, where X is the number of loyalty counters on CARDNAME"?

      One other minor note-- historically 'walker abilities have shied away from counting loyalty counters except on +0 abilities, because it's not obvious whether you should use the number from before or after activating the ability.

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    2. Amazing creature side. This Tamiyo hits the scientist aspects, the moonfolk aspects, plus makes a nice nod to Jushi Apprentice. Lpaulsen hit most of the major points as far as the pw side of things goes. The impulse to give her something to do with all those cards you just drew is correct, but calling out instants or sorceries is a misstep. Maybe play in the minor emblem space for the + or middle ability? Alternatively, a static ability tied to hand size? There's a few places to go here.

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  6. I'm not too terribly familiar with Narset's background other than knowing she's a monk as much as a mage and that she's on the autistic spectrum. Her focus in blue seems to be much less on card draw than in seeking out the right card from your library and is all about control decks.

    Narset, Adept Analyst 1UW
    Legendary Creature -- Human Monk
    First strike
    Whenever Narset attacks, scry 1.
    At the beginning of each end step, if you've looked at at least three cards in your library this turn, you may exile CARDNAME, then return her to the battlefield transformed under her owner's control
    3/2
    //
    Narset, Patient Perfectionist
    Legendary Plainswalker - Narset
    +1: Scry 2 and gain 2 life. If you put both of these cards on the bottom of your library, Scry 2 again and gain 2 life.
    -3: Look at the top three cards of your library. You may reveal one and put it in your hand. If you do, it costs 2 less to cast this turn. Put any remaining cards on the bottom of your library in any order.
    -6. You get an emblem: "Whenever you put cards on the bottom of your library, draw that many cards."
    Starting Loyalty: 4.

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    1. Hmm ... make the scry trigger on baby Narset trigger on block as well. That way you can cast scry instants at the end of your opponents' turn and flip her. Assuming she doesn't get killed.

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    2. Actually read her background a bit and made some tweaks and hopefully made her a slightly better commander choice.

      Narset, Ojutai's Adept - 1UW
      Legendary Creature -- Human Monk
      First strike, vigilance
      Whenever Narset attacks or blocks, scry 1.
      At the beginning of each end step, if you've looked at at least three cards in your library this turn, you may exile CARDNAME, then return her to the battlefield transformed under her owner's control
      2/2
      //
      Narset, Delver of the Hidden
      Legendary Plainswalker - Narset
      +1: Scry 2 and gain 2 life. If you put both of these cards on the bottom of your library, Scry 2 and gain 2 life.
      -3: Look at the top three cards of your library. You may reveal a non-land card and put it in your hand. It may be cast as an instant until your next turn. Put any unrevealed cards on the bottom of your library in any order.
      -6. You get an emblem: "Whenever you put cards on the bottom of your library, draw that many cards."
      Starting Loyalty: 4.

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    3. "Scry-matters" is a cool Commander theme but I'm not sure a Narset flip-walker is a good fit for it mechanically. This version in particular asks you to commit very heavily to the theme just to flip her, which sounds frustrating. I suggest going for a simpler interpretation of Narset's identity, e.g. the "noncreature cards matter" theme that she's had historically.

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    4. I made the trigger looking at cards in your library rather than "scry" to flip her to make sure several blue classes of cards can trigger it. Just a single cast of Anticipate will do it. Any fetch lands or tutors will trigger it. I didn't even realize it at the time, but casting Dragonlord Ojutai flips her! (Let's just pretend that was intentional)

      There are currently 126 cards available to UW (including colorless) that have you look at the top X cards of your library. There are actually 200 cards that let you search your library in these colors (I didn't realize that, but it also includes fetchlands in colors you aren't playing so not all of them are valid)

      Unfortunately there's the matter that I've never played commander or built my own commander decks, so I'm not sure how much card sorting and tutoring a blue player would go for. It strikes me you would want a lot since you won't have access to much ramp if you're not playing green. But I'm not sure how frequently you'd be able to flip her in a single game.

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    5. Correction, damaging a player with Dragonlord Ojutai flips her.

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