Saturday, April 10, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 040921 - Strixhaven Cycle

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.

For this week, your task is to imagine a Strixhaven-style faction in an ally-color pair. Take a multicolor Strixhaven cycle-- like the Elder Dragons, the Deans, the uncommon legends, or the rare MDFCs with spells on the back-- and design your new faction's contribution to that cycle. Bonus points for getting across the flavor of what subjects your new faction likes to study.

Good luck and have fun!


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  2. Vinzin is the school of infomancy at Strixhaven. They maintain the schools primary newspaper, the Vinzin Gazette. Who knows what, who keeps what secrets, and how the facts get out are the purvey of the Vinzin.

    (For this I'm assuming that the front color order would be reversed from how it is for the dean cycle of enemies, so for example the {U}{W} dean mdfc would have {U} on the front}

    Ordin, Dean of Mukrakers {2}{B}
    Creature - Orc Advisor
    At the beginning of your upkeep, reveal the top card of your library and put it into your hand. Each player loses life equal to its mana value.
    "For the Vinzin, bad news is good news."


    Fal, Dean of Gumshoes {2}{U}{U}
    Creature - Djinn Scout
    Ward {1}

    Whenever one or more creatures you control deal combat damage to a player or planeswalker, scry X, where X number of creatures that dealt damage this way.


    1. UB as the journalism school is a very neat and fun idea! Design is solid too-- my only comment is that Fal's trigger would more likely scry a fixed number, since scrying more than 4 or so introduces a lot more decision complexity with diminishing returns.

  3. ^ curse you lack of edit button (had some bad formatting)

    well, the core design principle of the new strixhaven factions was to be *different* from the guilds of Ravnica. the way they did this was by embracing the core conflict of the enemy colors instead of finding their commonalities (golgari v witherbloom is the most clear example of this. Golgari is about the union of the cycle of life and death, while witherbloom is about the conflict of growing life or spending it)

    the problem becomes thus: the allied color pairs are, well, allied. how do we make conflict?
    well, maro makes this easy, by just saying "oi, just look at the enemy pair and use that as the basis behind the conflict" (see; selesnya week, and the other allied colour pair articles)
    so, i do not think I can take that route. instead, i will try to find a colour pair, find something they have in common that would work as a field of study, and then try to make the colours pull in different directions for said field of study.

    White Blue: The field of study that fits in here which can have good central conflicts (other than *LAW* spelled in AOL) is in my opinion: architecture/urban planning. The conflict would be whether the city, or the people of the city, should be the main focus.
    Core mechanical focus: Artifacts and enchantments.

    Blue Black: Stealing things is not a field of study, so, Other than forbidden physical things, forbidden information. Therefore: cryptography. Conflict on abusing hidden information for illegal activity, or for using it as a form of security against bad actors.
    Core mechanical focus: trickery/hidden information

    Black Red: Help

    Red Green: Red likes discovering new things, green likes nature, discovering new nature: Geography (in the mapping out new territory/adventuring way). Conflict would be mapping out your won things (green) v mapping out your opponents (red, think “the grass is greener on the other side”)
    Core mechanical focus: Topdecks, lands (optional)

    Green White: agriculture, conflict about being in tune in nature v feeding the masses
    Core mechanical focus: Lands matter (NOT landfall, djeez)

    While writing this sphiel, i ended up forming an idea for a Blue black card, so meet Dasneth, the founder of the Mantilla uni of Cryptography and Information technology:

    Dasneth Mantilla || 4UB
    Legendary Creature – Elder Dragon
    Flying, Hexproof
    At the beginning of your upkeep, exile the top two cards of your library face down
    Whenever an effect you control counters a spell, you may reveal any number of cards among those exiled with CARDNAME that share a card type with that spell. put the cards revealed this way into your hand.

    1. Great analysis! UB as the IT faction is an especially exciting idea.

      For BR how about sports / athletics? B and R are both interested in competition and pushing your limits, but R in a much more emotional way and B in a much more strategic way.

      "Counterspell tribal" is a fun idea for the Dasneth design but I see a few hitches. First, saving counters for after a 6-mana sorcery speed spell seems like a no-go. Second, it doesn't really justify the B portion of the color identity.

      Spitballing: What about flying, flash, and "whenever a card goes to an opponent's graveyard, if it was countered or discarded, you may reveal a card exiled with CARDNAME that shares a card type with that card and put it into your hand."

    2. Hmmm, br sports? That could work yeah. Think it’s far enough away from being just a pure “entertainment” sort of deal (which is already “covered” by rakdos, if you can say that)

      The counter spell thing was more of a flavor thing than anything else, as it felt like a good “flashy” way to represent hidden information. Do note that you only start getting cards after Dasneth has “encrypted” some, so you need to untap with it.
      I would justify the B portion of the identity by how it gets you card advantage. If this was blue, it would just draw you cards. Black is able to exile cards face down to get them later (see: necropotence, and any of the typical steal effects). The card Bane alley broker is an example of this. This way of generating card advantage is also meant to create tension in what is most beneficial to counter.

      I disagree on flash for the following silly reason: I don’t want my big dragon to jump in as a surprise blocker. Dasneth doesn’t like the touchies
      The hexproof is also a better representation for cryptography: you know the info is there, you just can’t touch it.

      I think I want to try and make a dragon for each of the allied pairs. So see you tomorrow

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  5. This was a very tough challenge. I did not enjoy any of my designs enough to submit.

  6. Attempt at complete Elder dragon cycle

    Ghentigen Fictilis || 2WU
    Legendary creature - Elder Dragon
    Flying, Vigilance
    Whenever CARDNAME attacks or blocks, you gain 1 life for each enchantment you control and you scry 1 for each artifact you control

    Crezznor Salto || 3BR
    Legendary creature - Elder Dragon
    Whenever a creature you control attacks, it deals 1 damage to any target and 1 damage to itself
    Pay 3 life: target creature gets flying and haste until end of turn. You can only activate this ability on your turn
    (Flavor note: this dragon’s wings are damaged/broken. But they use their magic to temporarily give flight, at a price)

    Bannrog Cografya || 4RG
    Legendary Creature - Elder Dragon
    CARDNAME has flying as long as it’s attacking
    You play with the top card of your library revealed
    Creatures you control get +X/+0, where X is the Mana value of the revealed card

    Hayasun Gortsaran || 2GW
    Legendary Creature - Elder Dragon
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield choose Target land you control
    For as long as CARDNAME is on the battlefield, it becomes a plant creature with indestructible and power and toughness equal to the number of lands you control. it’s still a land.