Friday, November 20, 2020

Weekend Design Challenge 112020 - Mechanic Entity

Hey 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.

For this week we have another Random-Card-inspired design challenge, and we got a spicy one: Storm Entity! Its rules text is pretty tame for a future-shifted card; the innovative part is that it tweaks the notoriously broken Storm mechanic. It stays close to Storm in its mechanical interpretation-- it is to Empty the Warrens what "Amass 1" is to Dragon Fodder-- while still making the effect a lot more balanced.

Your mission is to create another card that reinterprets or tweaks an existing mechanic without actually using that mechanic in the rules text. (Having it in the card name, as Storm Entity does, is fine and recommended.) Bonus points for choosing a mechanic that's high on the Storm Scale and addressing the issues that make it difficult to reprint as-is.

Good luck and have fun!


  1. Scanning down the list of mechanics with high storm counts. What is problematic as a mechanic but might well support an individual card.

    Let's try ripple. "When you cast this, reveal the top X cards of your library. May cast any cards with the same name for free. Rest to bottom." I loved the idea, but it was only possible in limited, and not very interesting even if you did do it.

    But it seems like an idea which could be fun on the right cards.

    Dancing Rats 1B
    Creature - Rat
    A deck can have any number of copies of CARDNAME.

    I like Relentelss Rats homages! But I'm still working out what goes in the XXXX. A direct analogue would be "look at the top four cards of your deck. Put any number of them called CARDNAME OTB". But I worry that's not actually that interesting. You either have a critical mass and soon dump 15+ creatures otb (which is probably too good, but also too boring) or you don't (and it doesn't really do anything). Maybe key X off the number of rats you control, so it ramps up in rat tribal? Or allow any rat card? Or put the cards into your hand, so you can keep the ball rolling as long as you keep paying for them?

    1. I love the artifcat that gives ripple to all cards.
      I am unsure if the mechanic can be salvaged outside draft, though.

      I would probably make XXXX a scaler indeed:
      Reveal the top X cards of your library where X is the number of rats you control. You may put a rat with cmc =< X in your hand. Then shuffle the revealed cards to the bottom of your library.

      I guess XXXX would be a named keyword and templated as:

      Reveal the top X cards of your library where X is the number of cardsubtype cards you control. Effect that scales off X.

      I am not sure it needs a relentless rat rider.

    2. I think we have to aim for constructed. Partly, people usually just don't get excited by limited-only mechanics. Partly you don't get rat tribal in limited so I'd need to throw it away and start with a new idea. And if it's constructed, it's not ripple unless you have "can have any number". Maybe that means the card just doesn't work, but I don't think I have time to come up with a different one so I'll just do what I can with this one for now.

      I was indeed thinking something very like what you wrote. Except that CMC only really needs to be capped if it goes OTB, digging for an expensive rat to hand seems ok (especially since there aren't any massively overpowered rats).

      But it's not ripple unless you're likely to hit a chain reaction. But working with different rat cards, not just one, makes it a lot more a part of a deck, not just one thing.

      Hm. Maybe the right answer is to increase both the CMC, card effect, and ripple number somewhat, so hitting even one dup is worthwhile, and going infinite is a big deal if it happens. And do "one OTB" so they chain, but the triggers don't stack, so if the chain has a chance to peter out (so it matters if you get to do it more than once). And if the card is towards the upper tier of rat cards, it means you WANT to choose this if you can only choose one. But if you don't hit a dup, choosing the best rat card you did hit works well enough as a reward, and is even better if there's a particular card you want.

      So the numbers would have to be tuned so it's reasonable to play a deck that has a significant chance of getting a successful ripple. But there's a real trade off (e.g. if the card costs 4+, you don't want too many of them).

      But rats aren't known for medium or large cards. Maybe it has to be a ratfolk?

    3. Oh yeah, and I should also consider rarity, it would be nice if it CAN be played in limited. But if the ripple is big enough to hit in constructed, then making it common might mean you can always find more than you need in limited which isn't very interesting. But if it's uncommon you might not find enough. But maybe uncommon, with a common rat in the same set, is enough?

    4. The more I think about it, the more I think it is a risky proposition. However if you go with it, then you need indeed to template it with something "like when you cast cardname..."

    5. OK, maybe this is impossible, but lets go for the best combination I've come up with so far. I aimed for stats that would make a "chain react all through your deck" deck possible, but not automatic, and succeeding was strong but not completely instant win, and hitting even one extra copy was a worthwhile reward. I'm not sure that was possible to find, but I liked the journey.

      Dancing Rats 3B
      Creature - Rat
      When CARDNAME ETBs, you may reveal the top 6 cards of your deck, put a rat creature card from among them OTB. Put the rest back on the bottom of your library in any order.
      A deck can have any number of copies of CARDNAME.

    6. It's an exciting design for sure! But I doubt it can be balanced as-is. Thrumming Stone plus Relentless Rats was already a deck, and this turns that into a single-card combo that reliably churns out a lethal army of 3/3s on turn 4.

      Without the last ability I think it would make a great Rat tribal card, though. Rippling for any Rat is a really fun take on an otherwise narrow mechanic!

  2. Decyphered Plans {1}{U}{B}
    Draw two cards. Your opponent mills two cards.
    While ~ is in your gaveyard, you may return an unblocked creature you control to your hand. If you do you, return ~ to your hand.

    1. Cipher is a smart choice and reimplementing it as return-to-hand-from-graveyard is a neat tweak. I also appreciate the ninjutsu-like aspect, though the tempo hit from activating this is quite steep. I would've liked to see the second ability on an card that the original cipher couldn't support for mechanical reasons, e.g. a counterspell or permanent spell. Overall, though, a very promising design!

  3. Carbon Copy (uncommon)
    Choose a type of counter on target creature. Then choose one or both–
    • Put a counter of that type on each creature you control.
    • Put a counter of that type on each creature you don't control.

    Proliferate, obvs.

    1. I did not think proliferate needed boosting, but I would love to play with this.

    2. Proliferate that goes from 0 to 1 is a fun idea. I agree that it doesn't come across as super-necessary, but there are still some exciting things that can be done with it, especially now that we have keyword counters.

      BW doesn't seem like quite the right color pair for this-- I'd say BG or monocolor. And it would be nice if it could target any number of permanents, like proliferate does!