Friday, September 17, 2010

Day -12: Common Cycle

For those of you just tuning in, I'm preparing for the Great Designer Search 2 (announced here) by going through the challenges that participants went through in the first Great Designer Search. This submission of cards is the common cycle for the three five-card cycles challenge.

The common cycle needed to be simple and easy to understand while not being too swingy in Limited. I chose to design a new keyword mechanic for this cycle as an easy way keep them interesting, and I hadn't done one for the uncommon or rare cycles. Because this new keyword mechanic is supposed to permeate all sorts of cards in the imaginary set they're from and not just these five commons, I needed to have the five cards to apply the keyword in some way, but in one of the most basic ways. Here's what resulted:

It's Friday Night Magic, and you're in a Limited game where you're in topdeck mode. You have a few creatures out, but you really need to draw a bomb. You take your turn and draw a... 2/2 bear. Great. Oh, wait a minute. This one has boost. Most likely, it's going to be at least a 3/3 with trample. Hooray-ish!

Part of the restriction of this challenge is that an effect may be used on no more than one card. I had a blue card in the enchantment cycle that granted flying, so that was ruled out for this guy. First strike and vigilance was used in the red card and white card of that same cycle, respectively. I didn't want to use lifelink because of how this creature's power is variable and this card might become too swingy for Limited. That leaves protection (of the common creature keyword abilities for white). So, why not?

Another spin on the common blue large serpent

I used Nether Horror for reference on power level. Traded a point of power and added a drawback in exchange for having boost.

Even making this guy a 0/1, I'm still nervous whether this is overpowered. I changed its creature type from "Goblin Warrior" to "Human Warrior" just to make sure that Goblins wouldn't abuse this too much because of the nature of the creature type.

So, there's my cycle. Finally, here's the third version of one of the cards from my rare cycle of cards, thanks to the responses of MTG Color Pie and my friend Josh.

Up next, mythic rares. After that, I finally move on to the next challenge. I gotta pick up the pace if I want all this done before September 29th!




  1. I like the mechanic, but think it might be a little more powerful than you think. If you "blink" any of the creatures, have something like a Warp World go off, and they come back into play (or if they get flipped with a Warp World), suddenly they have a ton of +1/+1 counters on them. While it is an extreme case, it might depend on how far a certain set is pushing return effects from the graveyard. You might change the wording to "Whenever you cast this" instead of it being a ETB trigger.

    As for getting a +1/+1 counter for each permanent, that has to deal with playtesting and seeing what happens. That might be too powerful itself.

    But in all, great mechanic.

  2. Awesome mechanic idea indeed. My only concern would be the mana cost of the bears, but theres a few reasons those Wizards have an R&D department, right?

  3. Thanks, guys. I admit that I didn't think about blink effects or returning from the graveyard. I was thinking of "if this creature entered the battlefield late in the game, this might be pretty beefy." I'm lucky to have been saved by the fact that it could exist as long as the hypothetical environment accommodated for the mechanic.

    As @brent_cross pointed on via Twitter, the red, green, and white ones will have their counters piled up. And to think that I made the three colors that would get more creatures out than the other colors be the cheapest ones, mana cost-wise. Hmm.

    Yeah, the bears are costed aggressively. It was either "play it safe" with 2G or stay true to the usual 2/2 bear mana cost of 1G featuring an aspect of the set.

    I like the "When you cast this creature" clause instead of "When this creatures enters the battlefield" to control it. I think that's the ticket to modifying the mechanic to keep it from getting abused.