Sunday, January 13, 2013

Daily Card Redesign #13: Circle of Protection Cycle

Daily Card Redesign is a daily Magic: The Gathering design exercise where I randomly choose a card for the scenario of it being killed late during its own set's development, and I design a replacement card that uses the same art, is the same color, is the same rarity, and has a name that, alphabetically, keeps it within the same collector number for the set.

I click "Random Button" in Gatherer and get this:

Er... each card in the Circle of Protection cycle is literally only different by a single color word. I can't do ANYTHING to change Circle of Protection: Blue without it being inconsistent with the rest of the cycle. In this case, I'll just be redoing the whole cycle! ...It's really just redesigning a single card but changing the color word for five different cards.

O.K., so I've gotta design a cycle that would make sense for each of the pieces of art provided and whose name falls between Castle and Consecrate. Since circles are so prominent within each card's art, it's a safe bet that I'm going to have "Circle" be at the beginning of each card's name. We'll see.

The most un-helpful piece of art in this cycle for me is Circle of Protection: Black. Check it out:

Using a Thesaurus, it seems the best I can do to refer to this and the rest of the cycle is circle after all. I mean, if I'm going to use the word "circlet," I might as well say "circle" and not kid myself. But wait. I can use the word "Ring" after the first word if I use some kind of other word that refers to the effect of the cards in this cycle. For example, "protection," etc. So, let's wait until I determine the effect.

Heh, "Color Ring: Blue" is terrible. "Circumvention Ring?" ...bah, anyway...

O.K., so I've got two paths here. Obviously, since there are five of these in white, they each have to refer to a different color. Currently, the Circle of Protection cycle is used to protect you from colors. I can continue down the path. However, what if the cycle was actually all about benefiting you for using those colors? That's a different path.

But wait! What if there's art in the cycle that would be weird as a card that gives you benefits for playing that color? Hmm...

Hmm... Circle of Protection: Red is the one that seems to embrace playing with red spells the most. Circle of Protection: Blue is the one that seems least likely to play with blue. Even with that said, though, blue is the color of thinking and contemplation. Perhaps that's what the wizard in the art is doing. O.K., then! All good!

But is it appropriate for white to have all these cards that play nice with other colors? Seems like it's stealing some of green's slice of the color pie. Green enables you to be able to play with any color of mana, which indirectly encourages you to play multiple colors.

Oh, boy! Now I gotta study Beta. Which is a good thing. I'm learning more and more things about Magic: The Gathering and its design by doing these daily exercises. BRB

O.K., so apparently, white's really all about protecting itself in Beta. There's five-card Ward cycle that does the same thing that the Circle of Protections do, except for creatures. Because of that mirror, I'm not going to rock that boat. Besides, I'm running out of time, and I'm having a bit of an off day.

So, I'm just going to stop writing what I'm thinking and just design this already. Oh, and I changed my mind on the protection angle.

I always liked the idea of associating Aeromancy, Hydromancy, Necromancy, Pyromancy, and Geomancy into the appropriate colors in a cycle, and here I get to do that. The "Circle" angle makes it seem fitting in that it's sort of like a "cult" thing. Like you're subscribing to that circle of magic.

Aeromancy in white grants flying of course.
Hydromancy granting hexproof, effectively, is illustrated by the art with the wizard within the confines of that stone circle.
Necromancy with regenerate is like reviving the creature, anyway.
Pyromancy is fire magic, so this grants "firebreathing."
Geomancy was the one that was a bit of a stretch, but trample just goes with green creatures so well. Go, go, Craw Wurm!

There. Done!


  1. I like these! One of my favorite things to do with cycles is have them on a cost scale. One costs 1, one costs 2, etc. My only issue is that colors don't help each other this early in the game. Ice Age is where allied colors start helping each other. Enemy colors giving beneficial effects doesn't happen until later. Apocalypse, maybe?

  2. Cards combined enemy colors as early as The Dark, with Electric Eel, Dark Heart of the Wood, Elves of Deep Shadow, and Wormwood Treefolk just off the top of my head. The tech still did not exist in Alpha, so your point stands, just being contrarian.

    Allied colors also helped each other out from the get-go, with cards like Sedge Troll. Though Alpha is bad for examples, it also contains Sunglasses of Urza, and all the dual lands treated color equally.

    This seems like the kind of wonky cycle that would have been in the first core set, with the exception of a couple pieces of design tech that did not show up for a long time.

    Notably, cycles in alpha all bent their mana costs to match, even if their power level was widely divergent. (See: Ancestral Recall vs Healing Salve.)

    Also, "can't target" did not exist yet, as the concept of targeting was nebulous at best. The first card to grant shroudishness was in Legends, Spectral Cloak. I probably would not have gone with targeting as the blue part of this cycle as a result.

    1. Heh, the wonkiness of the cycle may just be some bad designing on my part. As Evan Jones pointed out to me, there's nothing really white about this except for the Aeromancy one.

      Actually, I had an idea for how to make this a truly white cycle yet still feel like it's relating to those other colors. Perhaps I'll do a mini blog post revisiting this.