Monday, March 30, 2020

CCDD 033020 - Eager Brute

I was a big fan of the Monarch mechanic (as seen on Palace Sentinels) when it showed up in the second Conspiracy set. Being able to assign statuses to players opens up a cool new region of design space. Finding effects that fit nicely there was harder than it seemed, though. Here's an example of one that I'm reasonably happy with.

Friday, March 27, 2020

CCDD 032720 - Read the Ancient Scrolls

Here's a common meant to show off a mechanic. This time around the model is Divination.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

CCDD 032520 - Advance Guard

A recent brainstorming project of mine: figure out what kinds of abilities would be interesting on Savannah Lions (2/1s for W, like Venerable Knight). One idea that occurred to me was a strategic one: these kinds of creatures usually feature in "weenie" decks that want to cast and attack with multiple creatures early on, getting value out of Glorious Anthem effects and the like. Maybe there could be an ability that pushes players in the other direction?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

CCDD 032420 - Virus

This started out as mostly a joke card, but trying to capture the logic of "flatten the curve" / "social distancing" in a reasonable text box turned out to be an interesting challenge.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

CCDD 032220 - A Little Something Extra

Combat tricks are a bad value proposition in many ways. They aren't consistently worth a card, they're vulnerable to instant-speed removal, and so on. What's more, they aren't even all that tricky. Because they cost mana they're at least somewhat telegraphed, and easy to play around once they're suspected. What would it take to work around that problem? Here's one idea.

Friday, March 20, 2020

CCDD 032020 - Friendly Chatterbox

There's a well-known design trap where adding "bad" abilities to an otherwise fine card can make it read a lot worse-- like the difference between Gutter Skulk and Tavern Swindler. Today's card is a little bit that way at first glance, but I'm hopeful that the ability is actually more relevant than it seems.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

CCDD 031920 - Curse of Frustration

Dominion's "Curse" mechanic, where you add junk cards to a deck (usually the opponent's), is a cool and powerful design tool that online CCGs like Hearthstone have also picked up. Unfortunately it's logistically impossible for paper Magic. This is the nearest I could responsibly get to implementing it with existing design tech.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

CCDD 031720 - Ghost Soldier

I was thinking about another design problem when this weird combination of abilities suddenly occurred to me. In hindsight it reminds me of Debt of Loyalty, but I'm pretty sure that wasn't what I had in mind.

Monday, March 16, 2020

CCDD 031620 - You're Nothing Without It

A while back I was brainstorming ideas for making artifact / enchantment removal more appealing. Naturalize is a good card when it has relevant targets, but it often doesn't, so it tends to want either alternate modes (e.g. Return to Nature) or some kind of upside. Here's one flavorful way I found of adding upside.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

CCDD 031420 - Fearless Challenger

As seen on cards like Tromokratis and Loyal Pegasus, blocking restrictions are a surprisingly powerful part of Magic's templating toolbox. You can use them to express almost any condition about the allocation of blockers (which has an exponential number of possibilities) or about the game state more generally. Historically Magic design hasn't gone very deep into this territory. Here's an example of a simple-ish, interesting application.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

CCDD 031220 - As Nature Intended

Nothing too fancy here, just an interesting way to interact with artifacts and enchantments. The tech is pretty common (Sudden Disappearance is the closest analogue, and there are several other mass-flicker effects for creatures only) but using it reactively against opponents' strategies seems novel.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

CCDD 031120 - Eidren, Unblemished

Most of the actual Magic I play these days is casual Commander, and designing cool Commanders is a special hobby of mine. Our playgroup has a running joke about how boringly powerful one player's Golgari decks are, so I thought I'd look for some fresh build-around design space in black-green.

Monday, March 9, 2020

CCDD 030920 - Stare Down

Here's a conditional counterspell that's kind of the opposite of Mana Leak and company: potentially oppressive in the late game but much less reliable early on.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

CCDD 030720 - Wall Runner

This design started out as part of a brainstorming session for blue evasion mechanics. The idea wasn't enough to support a named keyword but it ended up in an interesting spot: kind of like a tamer, blue-flavored version of menace.

Friday, March 6, 2020

CCDD 030620 - Ticking Bomb

"Red can't destroy creatures" is a well-accepted part of the color pie, but cards like Haphazard Bombardment and Shifting Shadow show that certain kinds of designs can get around that. By playing up red's random, unreliable, risky nature they turn what would otherwise be a color pie break into an acceptable color pie bend. Today's design is another attempt to play around in that space.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

CCDD 030420 - Painful Psychosis

There are only so many effects that scale naturally with "pay X life", like Toxic Deluge and Fire Covenant. I think I found one that Magic hasn't done yet.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

CCDD 030320 - Great Wall

This design was inspired by Star Realms, which has a category of "Base" cards (think "planeswalkers without loyalty abilities") that have to be destroyed before you can be attacked. It's as if a planeswalker had the static ability "creatures can't attack you." But because of how combat works in Star Realms it's actually more than that-- damage to a base heals at end of turn. The easiest way to implement that in Magic was to make it a creature, even though it often acts more like an enchantment (Moat) or a planeswalker (Gideon Jura).

Monday, March 2, 2020

CCDD 030220 - Watch Your Plan Unfold

I don't have relatively complex thoughts about competitive EDH vs. the kind of commander I play. Win or lose, I want to do the thing my deck was designed to do (herein after referred to as "Do the Thing", and in competitive EDH, I generally don't get to do the thing. Here's a card that forces the issue.