Friday, March 19, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 031921 - Strixhaven Teaser

Happy Friday 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.

Maro posted his rules-text teaser for Strixhaven! Pick one of his hints and design a card it might describe. For bonus points, pick two.

Good luck and have fun!


  1. Ballooning Ooze 1BBB
    Creature - Ooze (M)
    ~ has indestructible as long as you've activated one or more of its abilities this turn.
    Pay 10 life: ~ gets +10/+10 until end of turn. Activate this ability only once each turn.

    1. What's the rationale for separating indestructible from the rest of the activated ability?
      The way it is written an opponent can't respond to the activation with a kill spell.
      Also what's the thought process behind limiting the activation to once per turn? It's not exactly hard to get more than 20 life but it's also not trivial

    2. The rationale is as you said, to prevent players from getting totally blown out by paying 10 life only to get it killed by a lightning bolt.

      The once per turn thing is so it doesn't just one-shot people in commander, but if that's the intent then I guess that's fine.

    3. This is a fun and exciting design. "As long as you've activated" is neat tech and I agree with your reasons for using it. (Though note that it still doesn't avoid exile/bounce/minuses/sacrifice which together account for a lot of removal). Trading 1-for-1 in Commander is generally a losing proposition because there are other players to kill, so I bet it would be fine without the once-each-turn clause.

      FWIW, if I saw this in print I would wonder why it wasn't worded as, say, "pay 6 life: +6/+6 and indestructible UEOT" which would avoid more types of removal without the weird templating by making reactivating in response a more usable option. So I suspect that the actual pay-10-life ability in the set will have an effect that doesn't scale down so easily.

  2. Gregarious Gathering 2R
    Sorcery (C)
    Create a number of 1/1 red Goblin creature tokens with prowess equal to one plus the number of cards named ~ in your graveyard.
    A deck can have any number of cards named ~.

    I put prowess on the tokens so that these spells scale horizontally (more copies give more goblins) but also vertically (more copies pump existing goblins). It's conceivable that you won't just fill your deck with this card in standard. Playing some copies of tormenting voice/thrill of possibility gives you something to do on turn 2 that can pitch copies of this card to fuel future casts.

    1. I agree with prowess here as a way to add excitement-- I doubt it's the evergreen mechanic or even a returning mechanic but it would fit the magic-school theme well. At first I was concerned about the prowess triggers being a lot to track-- e.g. if you cast 2 copies of this in a turn you'd have 2 1/1s, 2 2/2s, and some number of 3/3s from the existing Goblins-- but the number of +1/+1s will be the same for all the tokens that aren't summoning sick, which are probably the only ones whose P/T you care about, so it actually works out well. Good choice for an "any number of cards" spell and a neat, Strixhaven-appropriate twist.

  3. Regulations || 3W
    Whenever an opponent activates an ability that isn’t a mana ability you may draw a card unless that player pays 1

    Pretty much an idea I already had. So bit of an ech for effort from me.

    Dominate || 3BB
    Choose one or more -
    • target player discards a card
    • target player loses 1 life and draws a card
    • target player sacrifices a creature
    • target player loses 3 life
    • target player returns a creature card from their graveyard to their hand.
    Each mode must target a different player

    1. Dominate gets at an issue I had with the Regna's Sanction cycle from Battlebond-- chosing which players get positive vs negative modes usually isn't that much of a choice even in multiplayer. In practice this is just a charm with 3 options for the opponent and 2 for you, which is neat but doesn't do enough to justify the "different player" text.

      Regulations is a smart implementation of a powerful idea-- if it didn't have the "unless" clause it would just be Runic Armasaur, but this way it can't be worse for the opponent than a mandatory "tax" on activation, which is easy to justify in white. I also appreciate the flavor and the parallels with Smothering Tithe.

    2. Yeah, dominate felt a bit awkward to make. But I don’t know if there is another good way of making “each mode chooses a different player” types of cards.

      I had also forgotten that runic armasaur existed. it was meant to parallel rhystic study mechanically. But in a way that was more white. White is traditionally the color that cares about generating a board presence out of what’s already on the battlefield, while blue is more about casting more spells. Hence why this card cares about what’s already on the battlefield.