Friday, December 18, 2020

Weekend Design Challenge 121820 - Foretelling Foretell

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.

So, this Kaldheim commander just got spoiled:

We don't know what foretell is yet, except that it's a keyword associated with a mana cost. Decide what foretell should do and design an uncommon card with that version of foretell. (If foretell gets revealed before the weekend's up, make your version do something different.) For bonus points, make it a multicolor card in a color pair other than WU.

Good luck and have fun!

[UPDATE 1/1/21: Congrats to everyone who posted-- this was an exceptionally strong batch of design ideas! And a special shout-out to Jenesis who came very close to the actual printed mechanic.]


  1. Crackle of Thunder (uncommon)
    Foretell 1R (Rather than cast this card from your hand, you may pay 1R and exile it. Then, if you control four or more foretold cards, cast the one that was least recently foretold without paying its mana cost.)
    Crackle of Thunder deals 2 damage to any target.

    An archetype glue uncommon that lets you progress your 'foretold pile' for a fairly cheap cost. There are other ways to template this effect.

    1. Btw, trying to address the reason for the death of suspend, here: the bookkeeping of time counters on upkeep.

    2. I feel like this design could do more to communicate why foretell is interesting or good. Will most Foretell costs be cheaper than the standard mana cost of cards? Is it hard to cost cards with foretell to balance the two different costs?
      I think it's a neat idea, and could be an interesting way to do a UR spells archetype.

    3. From what's on this card, I agree with Perry-- it's not clear what Foretell is good for. It requires a critical mass of Foretell cards, it delays the spell, it doesn't give a discount, and at the end you just get the spell back out. I feel like I must be missing something here.

      I really like the idea of a "foretell queue", though-- it's a neat way to reimplement suspend, as you said, and it's also an interesting tradeoff in that it's telegraphing your plan to the opponent. One option would be to have the spell have its effects twice-- once when foretold, once when it comes off the queue, kind of like rebound. Another option would be to make foretelling cost less, or draw you a card. Either way, it would be great if *any* spell could be put on the foretell queue for its mana cost with no additional benefit, so that the 4-spells requirement felt less parasitic.

    4. The card above specifies the mechanic, but indeed it doesn't showcase it. There ought to be a large design space though.

      As Ipaulsen says, it can work like rebound, be free, or give another effect. Other cards can interact with your foretell queue, or even the opponent's.

  2. Foretell {X} ({X}, Exile this card from your hand. You may cast the card later from exile.)
    This doesn't actually do anything on its own, but cards with the mechanic could have greater effects if they were foretold. Another option would be to have Krosan Tusker style triggered abilities when a card is foretold. I was thinking about putting "Draw a card" as part of the ability a la cycling but I thought that would make the ability hard to cost.

    Stalking Death 3BB
    Creature-Wolf Spirit
    Foretell 2
    When ~ enters the battlefield, if it was foretold, each opponent sacrifices a creature.

    Sort of a riff on Pharika's Spawn. I started off with more of a Nekratal style ETB, but felt like there wasn't any cost to revealing information from Foretelling.

    1. There's only so many ways to do an ability activated from hand. The card can stay in hand, go to graveyard, exile or get shuffled into the library.
      Something being foretold is presumably going to be cast eventually so making it cast-able from exile seems like the natural thing to do.
      I'd say this is playing more in the space of kicker than adventure though.

    2. You say adventure; I say morph, or aftermath, or echo, or pay-as-you-go kicker. :-) So many mechanics are set up like that and I really like the design of this one. IMO it really is the most like morph out of anything-- especially the new designs that emphasize "turned face up" triggers-- but with none of morph's arbitrary restrictions (3 mana up front, instant speed to turn face up, exists as a 2/2, mostly has to be a creature). That's a huge potential region of design space you've opened up.

      Stalking Wolf isn't the most exciting vehicle for this vision of foretold-- on an uncommon you could probably afford to add more complexity or power-- but it's a solid design and very representative of how I'd expect the mechanic to work.

  3. Omen of the Valkyries 2WB
    Sorcery (U)
    Foretell 2 (2, Exile this card from your hand: You may cast this card from exile. When you do, its mana cost is reduced by its foretell cost. Foretell only any time you could cast a sorcery.)
    Each opponent loses 4 life and you gain 4 life.

    My original concept was "Ominous War Drums" and a multicolor Overrun effect, but alas those are apparently rare+ only these days. Instead, have some gain-4-life, which seems to be an archetype theme?

    Some notes:
    -Foretell uses the printed cost, so there's no additional tracking beyond knowing what's in your foretell pile. It still synergizes with Ranar by giving you the discount for free.
    -All foretell costs are generic, letting you get around temporary mana/color screw by popping it into exile until such time as you can cast it.
    -This card (when foretold) is cheap, letting you hold it until you can cast it alongside a card that cares about whether you gained life this turn. It's also a situational effect that can gain or lose value as the game progresses into later turns.

    1. This version of foretell just straight-up lets you split the spell's cost over two turns. That's a nice clean intuitive design, and the emerge-like reminder text is nifty. Great mechanic design.

      The one thing I'd like to see is a downside to foretelling the spell as opposed to straight-up casting it-- maybe "You may cast this card from exile on a future turn"? It would actually shorten the reminder text since the sorcery restriction would then be mostly redundant.

      Lose-4/gain-4 is a pretty simple (and underpowered?) effect for uncommon, but it's a clever choice for the archetype you mentioned since the reduced cost will often let you cast it on the same turn as a lifegain-matters card. I could totally see this as the WB signpost uncommon.

    2. I was trying to avoid the situation where you forecast something at the opponent's end of turn and then immediately untap and cast it. It didn't fit the flavor to me. Would you believe it's really hard to find examples for this kind of effect? Zof Consumption was my base.

      Thanks again for the feedback! It's nice to be back.

  4. I think i will do as most other people here and do a suspend variant, but imo, this mechanic smells a little of forecast.

    Wisdom of War | 3WU
    Sorcery (uncommon)
    You Draw 2 cards and gain 3 life
    Whenever you attack with four or more creatures, if you foretold [Cardname], you may cast it from exile without paying its mana cost
    foretell 1WU (pay 1WU, exile [Cardname] from your hand)

    im also, like other people, guessing that fortelling is cheaper than actually casting the spell.

    the trigger for foretelling a spell is not meant to always be "attack with 4 creatures", its meant to be rather flexible in what would trigger a spell. was thinking:
    White: Triggers from going wide/life gain
    Blue: Triggers from casting spells/card draw/mill
    Black: Triggers from graveyard stuff/sacrifice/life loss
    Red: Triggers from non-combat damage/Discarding of cards/actions taken by opponent
    Green: Triggers from big creatures/Ramp/From not casting spells?
    also, the attack with 4 synergises with Ranar.

    the trigger is also intended to work as a balance for constructed V limited. in constructed you are more likely to be able to consistently utilize any given trigger than in limited, more so in older formats.

    The trigger also allows for counterplay by your opponent, as the foretell telegraphs something that you will do (it has been foretold, heheheh), and this might help introduce strategic complexities to newer players (by pretty much spelling it out for them)

    1. The casting-restriction implementation is a very fun idea with the potential to be a memorable mechanic. The trick when implementing it, though, is to close the loophole where you can foretell it just before satisfying the restriction. If players can do that, it leaves the opponents no room for counterplay and removes a lot of the drama of the design. So the restriction might have to say "if you foretold CARDNAME before this turn" or something like that, similar to the discussion on Jenesis's design.

    2. Yeah, i was thinking of that. but i felt that the base mechanic would become a bit wordy with that inclusion.
      I should probably have written (you may only foretell whenever you could cast a sorcery), but Ranar cares about foretelling each turn. so some other timing restrictions could be:
      (you may only foretell whenever you could cast this spell)
      (you may foretell During your upkeep (i think this one is awkward, but slightly flavorful))

      what about having the "if you foretold CARDNAME before this turn" be a part of some of the activation triggers? so: "Whenever you attack with four or more creatures, if you foretold CARDNAME before this turn, you ..."
      this would allow some cards to have the more immediate foretell (ab-)use, while others allow for counter play if it makes sense for the card. (this also would allow red to keep it's impulsive nature of "i foretell that i will punch you in the face right now")

  5. I think foretell will be a double faced mechanic. You fortell by casting the front side, then the back side is the fortold one, castable from exile.

    1. That's a great idea! Care to post an example?

    2. Omen of pestilence B
      Sorcery - Rare (Omen side)
      Target creature gets -1/-1
      Fortell - 2B (You may cast this card for its fortell cost. If you do, exile it. You can cast its prophecy side from exile.)

      Fated Pestilence XB
      Sorcery (Prophecy side)
      Deal X damage to each player, to each planeswalker and each creature.

    3. Cool! It makes me think of adventure or aftermath but has the advantage of not being so cramped. Having a clear front side is nice too. Making the player pay up-front for the option to do more later causes it to play very distinctively. There's a risk of that leading to feel-bad gameplay but I like how interesting the choice is.

  6. I'm going to go for a champion kind-of mechanic.

    Spirit of Freezing Wind 4UU
    Creature - Spirit (U)
    Foretell 2UU (2UU: Exile this card from your hand and choose a creature you control. Whenever the chosen creature deals combat damage to a player or leaves the battlefield, put this card onto the battlefield from exile.)

    1. I like the idea! It seems hard for an opponent to deal with this though, if they don't have a creature with the right p/t to block your creature without killing it they won't be able to prevent you from getting the foretold spell back. What if you drew a card when you foretold a spell and only got to cast it if the creature dealt combat damage to a player? It prevents blowouts from the creature being removed but gives the opponent a way to do something to prevent the foretold spell.

      Also I think casting the the foretold spell instead of putting it onto the battlefield doesn't make a huge difference on creatures, but would allow foretell to go on nonpermanent spells.

    2. All very true points, although making it draw a card creates a different sort of blowout, a huge tempo swing when your opponent is behind on board and can't stop the chosen creature from hitting them.

      I'm not sure if there's a good way to solve all the problems. It may be alright to leave that part as is, at least if they block the chosen creature you essentially have to sac it to get the foretold creature.

    3. This is like craftedlava's idea with a simplified trigger, and I like it for similar reasons. There are also similar challenges implementing it. If you aren't careful to close loopholes-- like players foretelling the card just before their creature deals damage or dies-- then the interaction you're going for won't happen. "Or dies" is a challenge in other ways; there's a risk of creating bad play patterns, e.g. board stalls where players don't want to attack for fear of triggering foretold spells. One other note is that "may put this onto the battlefield" would more likely be "may cast this without paying its mana cost" since that works for instant/sorcery cards too.

      Those are mostly implementation details, though; I like the concept a lot.