Tuesday, February 25, 2020

CCDD 022520 - Reality Pillar

What do you do with a fun static ability that isn't worth a whole card? You could put it on a card anyway and cost it aggressively, but that might make it too swingy-- oppressive when it works, disappointing when it doesn't. You could put it on a creature, but that might change how it reads and plays. Or you could staple it to other kinds of effects. Cantrips are a popular example (e.g. Blood Sun) but depending on the context there might be better choices. With today's card I ended up taking an unusual approach.

Making this design idea into a mana rock was inspired by the format I wanted the effect for: Commander. Most Commander decks will want the ramp and color-fixing at least a little, even though 4 mana is twice the normal cost. That gives me room (I figured) to tack on a higher-variance effect without skewing the card's costing too much one way or the other. When I went looking for existing examples I realized that Altar of the Pantheon and Heraldic Banner use similar tricks, though they're supporting specific set themes rather than random one-off text boxes.


  1. I had a similar simple design:

    Cardname annot be returned to its owner's hand.

    I envisioned it being used in a set where there is additional costs of returning card to your hand, or on harmful black cards (in that case it would be cannot be sacrificed or returned to its owner's hand).

    Making it general is interesting, and this is a card that would see play in commander, espetially in voltron commanders.

    Does the ability belong to colorless though?
    Which color / combination of colors should be getting this?
    I do not know why, but it feels primary red secondary green and white and decidiously black (see above).

    1. The bounce prevention/exile prevention feels white to me because it's defensive and rules-setting, but white definitely can't color fix and I don't know if letting it add 1 would be OK. WG maybe?

    2. If anything I'd say the effect is primary in G. Enemy colors are U (bounce) and B (exile), plus it fits the G themes of "naturally resilient, resists weird magic" and "you have to deal with my creatures fairly". W secondary is plausible. R is a poor fit, I think-- reactive / resilient are not its things. But for such a random one-off effect I wasn't in a hurry to assign it any color identity at all.

    3. Depends on how you interpret "bouncing". It is indeed in blue, but I have a feeling that there are lots of flavors of it, and it does not feel very consistent.

      Your argumentation however is very solid and it has convinced me of the error of my initial judgement.

  2. This is a really cool design. There's a lot of ways to tweak it too; you could make it add C or split up the exile/bounce prevention to lower the mana cost. (I think it's probably in its best form now, just noting how many dials are on here.)