Friday, June 5, 2020

Weekend Design Challenge 060620 - Core 2021 Teaser

Hello Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

It's preview season again! As teased on Maro's blog, each of the bullet points below is a new card appearing in Core Set 2021. Design a card that fits one of these descriptions. For bonus points, design a card that fits two.

• A brand new planeswalker (from a plane we’ve visited)
• A card that lets you draw half of your library.
• A +1/+1 tribal lord for a creature type that’s never had one. (A creature type with over fifty cards already in print.)
• A character with a Vanguard card and a legendary creature card gets a second of the latter.
• A card with thirty-one different options.
• A card that gains all activated abilities of a certain subset of cards in a place it’s never done it before.
• A card that uses a nonevergreen named ability over twenty years old.
• A card with the words “battlefield”, “cast”, “creature”, “converted mana cost”, “end of turn”, “exile”, “graveyard” and “mana cost”.
• An aura inspired from a cycle from Urza’s Saga block
• A nonevergreen enchantment subtype returns

Good luck and have fun!


  1. Barrin, Mentor of Titans 3U
    Legendary Creature - Human Wizard
    T: Untap another target creature.
    T: Target planeswalker's controller may activate one of its loyalty abilities once this turn as though none of its loyalty abilities have been activated this turn.

    1. Good choice of character! I also like the symmetry between the two abilities. The second one is doing most of the work of selling the card, though. A better Chain Veil in the command zone is exciting even though it only supports mono-blue/colorless planeswalkers. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if Play Design pushed the power level on this a little, considering the power level of legendary creatures we've seen recently.

      Very solid design all around. Intended as a rare I assume?

  2. Venomous Arachnarch 3GG
    Creature - Spider

    Reach (This creature can block creatures with flying.)
    Deathtouch (Any amount of damage this deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.)
    Other Spider creatures you control get +1/+1.
    Whenever another Spider creature you control attacks, it gains deathtouch until end of turn.


    1. Spiders are a great choice of tribe to design a lord for, and Venomous Arachnarch ticks the boxes. The base body is a solid rate, and on top of that we get the +1/+1 bonus and additional gravy to encourage playing the tribe.

      But I'm thinking there might be some room for improvement in the way this design fits together. First of all, reach is about blocking and a lot of the classic Spider flavor is about blocking, but the tribal ability bonus only triggers on attack. Second, spiders tend to be defensively oriented 3-5 mana creatures and this lord doesn't do much to enhance their competitive impact. By that, I mean the +1/+1 and attack-deathtouch don't contribute much to a typical Spider gameplan. In place of the attack-deathtouch it would be nice to see an ability like "at the beginning of your upkeep, if you weren't attacked since your last turn, create a 1/2 Spider token".

      Overall, though, I like this a lot. I assume it's meant to be rare?

    2. I completely agree with pretty much all points! I think that the bind Spiders put you in is that they have indeed primarily existed as blockers, but blocking is not the most fun thing creatures can do.

      So I figured it might be a fun moment to use a tribal lord (side note: what's the non-gendered version of this term?) to widen what a tribe can do, instead of deepening what it's already good at. Actual spiders burrow, use venom -- they're aggressive! I figured it might be a time to introduce some of that.

      And I do like the way this flips the usual calculus of combat with spiders: usually, you're very happy to block a 2/4 with an X/3 or up. Now you might have to let some through! Suddenly Spiders are doing damage to people's faces! Living the dream!

      Anyhow, yes, it's definitely a Rare at this power level. Could one shrink the CMC and P/T to get it to uncommon, leaving the abilities all there? I leave that question for better developers than me.