Friday, July 30, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 073021 - Online Mechanics

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.

This week's challenge is to design a card that uses one of the new online-only mechanics (seek, perpetually, or conjure) to create interesting gameplay decisions that wouldn't be available in paper Magic. For bonus points, use two those mechanics.

Good luck and have fun!


  1. Tax Racketeer 2W
    Creature - Human Rogue 2/2
    At the beginning of your upkeep, if an opponent controls more lands than you, seek three basic land cards.
    1, T: Exile any number of cards from your hand face down. Put that many cards from the top of your library into your hand. Then put the exiled cards on top of your library in a random order.
    Whenever you shuffle your library, shuffle Tax Racketeer into it.

    1. I enjoy the flavour of the activated ability together with the shuffle clause. It's like fudging the numbers until you get caught or try to push your luck.

      The seek ability seems entirely unrelated to it. Additionally, the only reason it needs to be seek instead of search + shuffle is because of the shuffle static. Balance-wise, three free cards a turn is also way overtuned.

    2. Isao's analysis is spot on. That last ability is a really cool way to punish Brainstorm + shuffle shenanigans, regardless of the seek effect. That in turn means the second ability in principle can't turn the land advantage from the first ability into three free draws. And seek is how the first ability avoids running afoul of the third.

      As a concept and a callback to Land Tax's questionable card advantage I love it, but I'm not sold on the gameplay here. The first ability is exorbitantly powerful with the right setup, the second is very decision-intensive and the third hoses you in many situations that have nothing to do with the first two. In other words, it's swingy in a way that will drive it toward broken uses and away from fair ones.

  2. Hereditary Ooze {1}{G}{G}
    Creature - Ooze (Rare)
    When ~ dies, conjure a copy of it into your library, then mill a card. The copy gains all perpetual changes of ~.

    1. Hm, on reflection the conjure doesn't really add much here other than flavour (might as well shuffle itself back in).

    2. The use of perpetual here is really cool. I agree that conjure is low-impact in this case (conjure-into-library is more relevant in games like Hearthstone with smaller deck sizes) but it seems worth it just for the flavor. Not sold on the milling part, though-- is that just a hack to prevent this from becoming an anti-decking tool?

  3. I don’t enjoy most of the online only cards thus far. And I can’t help it but try to think of ways to make some of them work in vanilla magic.
    But that’s not what this challenge calls for.

    Scalding confluence || {3}{U}{R}
    Chose three, you may chose the same mode more than once —
    • Conjure a lightning bolt into your hand
    • scry 2, draw a card, then discard a card
    • target creature perpetually gains -4/-0

    This started off as a twist on that one playtest card that turned your hand into lightning bolts for the turn. But making a mono-red card that just, gives you a bunch of lightning bolts seemed a bit too dangerous in my opinion.

    1. First and last ability are great. You've hit on a key perk of perpetually in that it can be used to represent effects that would take a whole card as an aura, and therefore couldn't easily be made multi-target or optional before. That's a more important aspect of the mechanic than the fact that it persists across zone changes. And drawing Lightning Bolts just sounds like great fun.

      The second effect isn't to my liking, though. It seems a) less powerful than the others and b) awkward and decision-intensive. Maybe it could be "draw 2, then discard at random"? Or "impulse, then discard"?

    2. Yeah, there wasn’t too much thought put into the second effect from my side. I sort of just stumbled into it and was happy with an effect that felt “{UR}”. Impulse + discard (well, that feels a bit too powerful, so anticipate + discard) is a much better fit. And while wordier, is as you said, not as decision-intensive.