Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Magic Resolution

Happy New Year! One of my resolutions is Magic: The Gathering design-relate - Mad Olaf designing a new card every single day has influenced me to do the same. Except, I'm not going to do what Mad Olaf excellently does and designs according to some theme, hot topic, or a theoretical set with snow cards in it. I'm not going to do what Jay Treat does and design cards that go along with a discussion of some kind of aspect of Magic design. No, my card designs will be based on the situation in R&D when a card gets killed late in development, and the card slot is "locked in," and a new card must fill that hole.

The reasons for me doing this is four-fold: 
1) It'll set me apart from what other Magic: The Gathering designers are doing
2) My blog will be updated every single day (let's hope I don't flake)
3) I'll gain experience on this real-world problem
4) It'll force me to have more card designs under my belt

The card selection will be clicking on that "Random Card" button in Gatherer, Wizard's Magic: The Gathering card database. Whatever card that comes up will be the killed card, and I'll have to fill in the hole. I'll skip cards like basic lands, of course. ...I'm hoping to someday get an Un- card!

I'm not sure what to call this thing. Jay calls his "Cool Card Design of the Day," and Mad Olaf's is more succinct "Card of the Day." "Where's the Design Filling?"? "Filling the Killing"? "Holey Design"? etc. 

When I do this exercise of filling in for the killed card, since it's late in development where the card slot is locked in, all of the following must be the same: art, color, rarity, and collector number. The collector number being the same means the name I come up with must fall between the previous card slot and the next card slot alphabetically. The card must also fit within the set it is from. Lastly, since it's late in development, the card design must be something that is safe to be able print without needed to be tested, if at all.

Since I'm using the "Random Card" feature of Gatherer, there's a chance I'll come across a card to be cut that is part of a cycle. I'm deciding that I will not skip such a card and will put the further constraint on myself to have to design a different card that would be a part of the same cycle. I think that would be fun!

Anyway, without further ado, here's my first card I must replace: Barrenton Medic! 

There's a few creatures in Shadowmoor with a tap ability as well as the ability to place -1/-1 counters on themselves to untap themselves, and Barrenton Medic is one of them. There isn't a cycle of these guys, so I'm going to not hold myself to constraint and force myself to do something different.

I went through the monowhite and white hybrid cards at common in Shadowmoor and found that there weren't any creatures granting protection. So, I'll do a common protection effect - like Midvast Protector! This guy is obviously a Kithkin, but with these potions and such in the art, it looks like he could be an alchemist! Alchemists are Wizards, so I'll do a Kithkin Wizard. A Kithkin Wizard who makes potions of protection.

I also saw that this five-drop is the only one of the monowhite cards in Shadowmoor. I don't want to break anything in that regard, so I'll keep it at 4W. Besides, since we're doing an effect like Midvast Protector, we should do it at a different mana cost for different creature stats. Since Midvast Protector is a 2/3 for 4, and I want to make sure to do a "safe" design, I'll just increase one more point of toughness for the extra point in the mana cost. 2/4!

The name that this new card will be has to come between Ballynock Cohort and Boon Reflection to retain the same collector number. Well, giving somebody a potion that grants a magic barrier is something that could be like giving a creature protection from something until end of turn, right? So, how about a Barrier Alchemist?

And, voila - here's the new card!


  1. First of all, thanks for the shoutout! I'm happy to see that my blog has helped another designer. May we meet in the GDS3.

    Secondly, I love what you're doing here. If I remember correctly, this was one of the final design challenges in GDS2, and a great way to stretch your brain.

    Finally, I like what this guy is doing, but I would love him if he had flash.

  2. It would be epic to meet you in the finals of the GDS3!

    Flash would be fantastic to pair with sub an effect. And, yes, that's exactly where I was exposed to such the dilemma. They did the same thing in the finals of the original Great Designer Search with the card Opposition from Urza's Destiny.