Sunday, February 21, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 021921 - Command

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 Tuesday. (Apologies for the delayed posting this week!)

Design a three-color Command (modal choose-two-of-four instant or sorcery spell). For bonus points, don't reuse any modes that have already appeared in a Command.

Good luck and have fun!

21 comments:

  1. Grixis Command {3}{U}{B}{B}{R}
    Instant - Rare
    Loose 3 life and choose two:
    * Deal 3 damage to any target. You gain 6 life.
    * Return target creature for your graveyard to the battlefield. It gains haste. Exile it at the end of your turn of if it would die.
    * Search your library for a card and put it into your hand.
    * Discard a card, CARDNAME deals damage equal to its mana value to target creature.

    I don't love it, but it will do for now.

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    1. Nice. I agree there's rough edges, but it feels Grixis-y. I like the way "lose three life" might just fit on the first line :)

      I toyed with an even fancier rider on Narset of having each mode having a different way of exiling something, and adding "cast cards exiled with THIS this turn" but it was just always going to be complicated and wordy :)

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    2. I like the idea of a big-effect command, and Grixis in particular feels like a fun callback to the power of Cruel Ultimatum.

      I disagree with some of the choices here, though:
      - The loss of 3 life doesn't add much to the card, especially because of the mode that gets it right back.
      - Even when balanced against lose-3, the "deal-3, gain-6" reads weirdly.
      - Color identity is iffy: modes are solidly B, B, B, R with no U.
      - Last mode seems like a bad deal compared to the others. (I do like the synergy of tutor for a huge spell + discard it, though. To add another layer of synergy, maybe the Corpse Dance ability could be made the last mode and not target, so players could discard + reanimate what they discarded?)

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    3. Indeed. I liked the idea of adding an upfront cost to the command.

      Your last suggestion seems so evident. Perhaps the first one should be scry 3, draw one?

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  2. Narset's Command {1}{W}{U}{R}
    Instant
    Choose two:
    * Exile target noncreature card from a graveyard. You may play it this turn.
    * Target creature gets +4/+0 and gains trample UEOT.
    * Target creature gains indestructible UEOT.
    * Gain two life and draw a card.

    I loved Narset's flavour, so was a possibility for a strong three-colour flavour. It could be followed by commands from other khans, or from other planeswalkers :)

    I did my best to find abilities that felt fitting to Narset's style of curiousity and study and supreme kung-fu, so allowed the card to be a little more involved than it might otherwise have been. I tried to make sure the abilities fit within the colours, but felt appropriate to Narset rather than strictly W/W/U/R modes, e.g. the first mode is {RU}/w or something.

    I tried to make it feel like something Narset might do in battle, deftly gaining a variety of different synergistic advantages.

    It's not perfect. The first mode might be too much. It would be nice to have another mode that referenced noncreature spells, maybe countering or copying them, but nothing seemed appropriate. Two modes have "and". But each mode felt appropriate, like something you'd want at the right moment even if you didn't want it all the time, so I stuck with the design.

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    1. From your (own) graveyard sounds more Narset-y for the first ability. For one of them I would have loved a damage prevention and reflection since that is Narset to the core.

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    2. I don't think the first ability is overpowered, since it would take a lot of mana to use (although it can get fetchlands back). I don't think there's any precedent for casting a noncreature spell from an opponent's graveyard. I'm not sure if it would be a jeskai or black ability. Hedonist's Trove gets back any card, and Spelltwine/Dire Fleet Daredevil are narrower blue/red cards.

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    3. Oh yes, damage redirection would have been perfect, that's very much Narset's style of kung-fu

      With the first ability, I know what you mean, but I thought it was nice that it could either deny the opponent a flashback spell (white) or recur your own spell (U/R) or both, which felt Narset. And of existing Narset cards, she does "opponents can't cast noncreature cards" and "copy target instant/sorcery", so "cast" felt in-flavour. But the old version probably is too busy, not clear enough what its main focus is.

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    4. While logically it does make sense to have these abilities separately, but combine them and you are threading into black territory and that is one place I would not go with Narset. The sum of the parts make it black/dimir to my mind.

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    5. Ah, I see! I was thinking about recurring someone else's sorceries as U, but you think it's more B. That makes sense.

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    6. These are all reasonable effects, except maybe the first one (the fact that it exiles neither itself nor the other spell is what sends it over the edge). Color identities are U(/R/W??), R, W, UW-- good. And all on-theme for Narset, which I like. Having two modes that target single creatures feels a bit lackluster though, and I'm guessing those would be the weak links here-- I like the damage-reflection proposal as a way to make that part of the card more interesting.

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    1. Sedris' Command 2UBR
      Instant (R)
      Choose two:
      - Create a 1/1 black Skeleton creature token with indestructible and haste.
      - Draw three cards, then discard two cards.
      - Add B for each creature card in your graveyard.
      - Whenever a creature you control attacks this turn, it gets +2/+0 until end of turn.


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    2. Nice! The only mode that seems a bit out of place is the first one due to the indestructible part. I would prefer it to be until end of turn. Also I wonder if for power reasons the second and third mode should be flipped, or if it makes a feelbad moment when you discard two creatures and dont get extra mana for them.

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    3. Thanks! I could very easily see the first ability being "Create two 1/1 black Skeleton creature tokens. They gain indestructible and haste until end of turn."

      If the card is overpowered, I think I'd rather try adjusting some of the other knobs on the card before changing the order of the abilities.

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    4. That's a neat, flavorful token to create, and the second and third modes seem on-flavor too. Color identity is B(R?), U(R?), B, R-- good-- and I like the range of options. Putting card advantage / selection and mana generation on the same card earns a raised eyebrow from me but it's probably fine. Any particular reason why the last mode isn't "creatures you control get +2/+0 until end of turn"?

      Seems very solid overall.

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    5. Thanks. Since it's Sedris' command, I wanted the last ability to synergize with unearth.

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  4. Bolas Command UBBBR
    Instant
    Choose two:
    * Gain control of a creature. Untap it. Put a haste counter on it.
    * Whenever a source deals damage to a player this turn, they discard a card.
    * Excess damage dealt this turn is dealt to permanents' owners instead.
    * Deal damage to target creature or planeswalker equal to the number of cards in all players' hands.

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    1. I think the third phrase could be "you have trample until end of turn". I agree it is a great combo with the previous ability, bu it does not feel very Grixis. I would look for a different third ability, personally, even though the use of the second and third abilities were the most exciting here.

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    2. Lots of love for Grixis this week! The modes are UR, B, R, R, which checks out (though given the BBB in the cost I'd like to see a bit more B in the text box somewhere). The synergy between the modes is neat. I tend to think Commands work better as flexible utility effects that appeal to Spikes, but the story this card tells is certainly eye-catching. The combination of the last two modes might be a bit much in Commander since it's often 20+ to the face there. Also, I disagree with the use of a haste counter in the first mode-- it's not normally different from granting haste until end of turn. Overall, though, lots of cool ideas here!

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