Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Daily Card Redesign #15: Collective Voyage

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.

Nice, a Commander product card! This card is part of the  join forces ability word cycle of rares. 

So, I should do something green would do but doesn't get lands from the library. Well, green's also about creatures, and there's some folks there in the art, too. Perhaps each person is assembling a party of adventurous folks? Like a Dungeons and Dragons group being sought from the world? ...Except I wont' do anything related to creatures, because the white card in the cycle, Alliance of Arms, already makes creature tokens.

O.K.... what else can we NOT do? Blue has everyone drawing cards. Typical. Black "hurts" everybody by milling them. Red does something weird and allows everybody to pump up a single dragon. Good things that people would enjoy that can't be done: creatures, lands, drawing cards. Bad things that can't be done: milling.

What are some good things and bad things that green does that aren't the above? List:
  • +1/+1 counters on creatures. Keep in mind we can't do temporary growth effects like Giant Growth (or anything that only lasts until end of turn) because only one player would benefit during the turn, which means the intended joining of forces would be discouraged. But you know what? Making every creature bigger might not be as exciting. If there's as stalemate of creatures, and they all get bigger, then it's an even greater stalemate - unless one player can attack for lethal in one swing. ...and other things. Bah.
  • Life gain! I don't really see it in action in the art, but perhaps a clever name can tie the flavor into it. Well, there's Bountiful Harvest that keys off of lands making stuff you can eat. Maybe mana can turn into life somehow.
  • Enabling your mana producers to be able to produce any color of mana.
  • Turning your lands into creatures. Not really indicative in the art. Unless... those people in the art USED to be lands! (unbelievable stretch)
  • Having creatures fight each other. ...This doesn't match the art.
  • Destroying certain kinds of permanents. Seems messy to implement as rules text and not really reflective of what's going on in the art.
  • Ooh, perhaps resetting life totals to the mana paid. But then perhaps some would just pay 0 for X, and try to end the game. Lame.
  • Caring about enchantments! ...Hmm. Could that lead to an imbalance when there's a deck with this card focused on enchantments and other decks that aren't? Reminds me of Sovereigns of Lost Alara and Eldrazi Conscription. Yeah, better not do this.
  • Granting creatures green abilities by placing some kind of counter on them? Hmm. But it's gotta be scalable easily, because the mechanic wants you to pay more and more mana.
  • Returning cards from the graveyard back to hand. Ack, that pesky maximum hand limit makes the awesomeness of returning cards back to the hand not as awesome since they'll just be dumped back into the graveyard. ...Perhaps that's O.K. After all, seven cards in hand is nothin to sneeze at.
I had this down to either life gain or returning cards back into the hand. But with life gain, it didn't seem to do much for players except give more opportunity for those who are close to death. If nobody was close to death, then it just extends the length of the game, because everybody would gain this life.

When you compare the other rewards, you get better gameplay. With the creature tokens, there's many possibilities. The decisions to block, attack, pump them, give them abilities, etc. Drawing cards is the classic way of giving each player options where the results can be various. Giving each player a bunch of lands also enables possible options for players where results can be varied. Milling is not as impactful, but it does give opportunity. ...most likely, though, to just the person who casted the spell.

So, we're going to return cards back to hand! Let's do it. Here's the card:

There was a myriad of ways I could have named this card, and it would have involved words like: remembrance, communal, congruous, etc. The first word would likely be some word starting with "Co" and the second word would be some word starting with "Re" to indicate a group thing of bringing things back. So I decided to go with the amusing "Recollective Recollection" out of these possibilities.

And, look, they look like they're reflecting upon what has happened within the land. One of them even looks like they're praying or something. How nicely fitting!


  1. You can still touch the creature space while being distinct from Alliance of Arms, you just have to play in the space where each is distinct.

    White prefers to go "wide" and build an army, green prefers to go "tall" and get a big guy. For example:

    Join Forces - Starting with you, each player may pay any amount of mana. Each player may look at the top X cards of their library and choose a creature card costing X or less and put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle their library.

    You could also make it say "permanent card" - putting permanents onto the battlefield is a pretty green ability.

    1. You have a point, Robbit! It seems like that route would have been as valid as the one I chose as well. I preferred to avoid the creature thing altogether, though, because of this need to differentiate each effect in the cycle to a certain degree that satisfies me.