Saturday, January 12, 2013

Daily Card Redesign #12: Nekrataal

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.

The very first thing I notice that I want to base my replacement design around is that this card's art has these magical Insect symbols emanating from his throat. Fantastic!

First thing I checked: converted mana cost at black uncommon. This guy is the only four-drop! And there's nothing at a higher cost. So, I'm going to keep this guy at 2BB or 3B. 

Also, while there are magical insect rings depicted, which means you might be able to make this an instant, sorcery, or even enchantment; I'd like it to remain a creature since there are only a few creatures at black uncommon (and this is the only four-costed card - it should be a creature)!

If I want him to make Insect tokens, I'll have to check to see if there's nothing else occupying the black 1/1 token slot. ...Well, that's a modern design principle - the whole keeping things consistent throughout the set/block kind of thing. Might be a clusterf- in this set 'cause it's old. 

...Nope. Nothing there. Though, there's a flying green 1/1 Insect token named Butterfly that gets made from the card Giant Caterpillar. Go figure.

I could also have this guy interact with Insects. But then that would mean I'd want him to at least be able to make an Insect on his own that he could interact with. I do a check of Visions to see how many Insects there are in the set. Luckily, there's Brood of Cockroaches in black, Army Ants in black-red, and Giant Caterpillar in green. 

However, Giant Caterpillar was printed with "Summon Caterpillar" instead of "Summon Insects." Back in that day, way before The Grand Creature Type Update at the least, it wouldn't have counted as an Insect! That's all right. We didn't like its green-ness anyway.

For the interaction between an Insect and this guy, I look to both what black does and what he looks like he's doing in the art. Well, at first, I thought of those insect rings as being something emanating from his throat. But what if they were heading toward his throat? As if he is sucking the souls of insects to feast on? That's intense. This would be putting insects to death, which is O.K. for black to be doing. Perhaps you gain life from eating the Insect. Something like:

"Sacrifice an Insect: You gain 1 life."

Here's a bonus to this effect: Brood of Cockroaches, when it dies, costs the player 1 life and returns back to the hand at end of turn. Holy synergy, Batman! With this replacement of Nekrataal out on the battlefield, you would be able to perpetually block and sacrifice the Cockroaches with a net life loss of 0! Bwahahah. Let's do it.

For wording of that day and age, I modeled off of Juju Bubble and Aku Djinn. And I took a cue from Ovinomancer and let this guy be a Sorcerer. I mean, how often do I get to design a card with a typeline "Summon Sorcerer?" He transforms insect souls into life? Let's go with that. Besides, he looks like a Jafar gone really bad, anyway.

And I was going to make him a 1/1 since he doesn't really fight as well as a Sorcerer. But then he's holding that sword in the art. So, I made him a 2/1. Deadlier but still has a non-buff body like some fighters out there.


Check this out. A "nit" is a synonym for mite, or a small insect. "Picking" is a synonym for eating. So, put these together, and you get a Nitpicker!

(Remember that I have to choose a name that falls between Necrosavant and Pillar Tombs of Aku alphabetically to retain the same collector number. Joyous day!)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Daily Card Redesign #11: Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

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.

So. Another legendary creature. That means research into the character once again! Just who is this Kamigawa goblin dude? I mean, besides him being a oopular and strong, playable card  *reads*

Dude. If it weren't for having this randomly chosen for me to do today's exercise, I wouldn't have learned about the fantastic tale of Kiki-Jiki. What a fantastic character! So this is a goblin - or, akki, as they are called in Kamigawa - that stumbled his way into accidentally meeting up with a dragon who had a quest for him. Kiki-Jiki then was flown all the way up to where the moonfolk are and stole a pearl for the dragon and then discovered he had the ability to make reflections of himself! An unassuming akki with simple desires doing fantastic things. Also, one of his skills is throwing rocks.

I know very little else about his character, but there are multiple things to go off of. First, the reflection part. In the story I read, he made a reflection of himself. But he doesn't do that in the card. He may or may not have the ability to make reflections of others, but he at least isn't able to do what he could do in the story - copy himself. There are a couple other ways I thought of how to reflect (hah!) this ability of his.

First thing I thought of was him having the ability to search for all other copies of the Kiki-Jiki card and put them onto the battlefield and have the "legend rule" not apply to them. This would make for up to four Kiki-Jikis! AND this would be different from the current ability, where tokens are made.

But the Brothers Yamazaki already exist within the same set, Champions of Kamigawa. We can't have TWO different cards that ignore the "legend rule" for themselves (I consider Mirror Gallery as doing something different from Brothers Yamazaki).

So, I can't do this. And I refuse to re-do tokens. So what else did Kiki-Jiki do?

Well, he breaks mirrors. I so want him to be able to do this (and I'm using the wording/terms used at the time):

"When Kiki-Jiki Mirror-Breaker comes into play, destroy each artifact with 'Mirror' in its name."

Of course, this wouldn't be the only effect on the card. Only being able to destroy mirrors is lame since it rarely comes up. And it doesn't have to be upon when he enters the battlefield. Also, I pointed out "artifacts" in that effect instead of permanents since there are non-mirror cards that have "Mirror" in its name. Meloku the Clouded Mirror for example.

Besides the effect of destroying mirrors not coming into play most of the time, there's also a problem with calling out specific words in the names of cards. This only appears on Un- cards. I believe this is because of the multiple languages that Magic: The Gathering exists in. Un- sets don't have this problem - they're only in English. Also, it can be confusing whether a word appears in the name of a card. For example, does the card Mirrorworks count as a card that contains the word "Mirror" in its name?

So, we're not going to destroy artifacts with "Mirror" in their name. ...what ELSE did Kiki-Jiki have going for him? Well, he found a dragon. And he rode on its back. ...Good enough for me!

He didn't MEAN to find the dragon. He was just really hungry and one thing led to another. He just happened to find that ryu who requested his help to steal a pearl. So, the akki is lucky. Luck. And the most common tools for chance in Magic: The Gathering is the flipping of a coin or the revealing/drawing of card from a library. Let's try designing a card with flipping a coin in it first.

Since Kiki-Jiki was venturing forth to forage for food and then happened to find the dragon, I'm going to associate him attacking with this act of his. And upon him attacking is when we flip a coin to see if he stumbled upon a dragon that helps him fly up to the moonfolk-y place.

"Whenever CARDNAME attacks, if it doesn't have a luck counter on it, flip a coin. If heads, put a luck counter on CARDNAME and put a 5/5 red Dragon creature token with flying and 'Creatures you control named CARDNAME have flying.' into play tapped and attacking."

That's actually kind of messy, but it prevents players from being able to keep producing Dragons and ride off of other Dragons. ...However, perhaps that would be most excellent for making this card a more appealing card! I mean, the original Kiki-Jiki couldn't make reflections of himself, so there's already liberties being taken! Let's do the same here, for the sake of more fun gameplay.

Let's try that again:

"CARDNAME has flying as long as you control a Dragon.
Whenever CARDNAME attacks, if you don't control a Dragon, flip a coin. If heads, put a 5/5 red Dragon creature token with flying into play tapped and attacking."

There. Now, in card form!

You know what? The art for this version of Kiki-Jiki makes more sense than the original Kiki-Jiki did.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Daily Card Redesign #10: Chandra Nalaar

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.

Instead of the usual pushing of the "Random Card button" within Wizards' Magic: The Gathering card database Gatherer to determine my card for the day, @RobersKirkman on Twitter happened across Chandra Nalaar as a result of his own"Random Card button pushing," and he was interested in how I would tackle this card: Chandra Nalaar. This is the first time I've taken a request like this, so why not? Let's design a replacement card for the original Chandra!

First, I discovered a unique quandary when it comes designing replacement planeswalker cards for this type of exercise. Unlike most other Magic: The Gathering cards, planeswalkers can have multiple different versions of themselves. So, when I'm designing a new card in place of the Chandra that debuted in Lorwyn, if I act like none of the other Chandras in the future have already existed yet, then it opens up the effects of those Chandras as options that I could be putting onto this Chandra. Which then actually is kinda lame to see (perhaps the next-best Chandra to debut first is exactly like Chandra Ablaze, for example). You would think, "Uh, we've already seen that before! Well, in one of the newer Chandras, of course."

So this is what I'm going to do: whenever I design a replacement card for a planeswalker or any other card that has this unique problem - I'm going to force myself to not design an effect that we've all already seen before. This is to keep my designs interesting and from not kidding myself into copping out and re-using an effect already in print due to some kind of logical reasoning or something.

Lastly, I do want to stress that while I would love to see totally bonkers planeswalkers in terms of power level, especially in Chandra's case - since she never really got to have a powerful version of herself, yet - I AM designing as if there's a hole late in development that needs filling; and that means little if no testing is done on it. This means designing "safe" cards that you know won't be too powerful to warp Magic: The Gathering formats in an unhealthy way.

With that out of the way...

Each Chandra that exists thus far deals direct damage either to players or to creatures/players. Considering I'm designing for Chandra's first incarnation as the explosive fire mage, I think it's entirely appropriate to retain this kind of effect for her first ability. So what can we do differently? Luckily, there has yet to be a Chandra that deals direct damage to creatures only. That'll be our first effect!

"Chandra Nalaar deals # damage to target creature."

I still want her to be able to damage players, though. So, somewhere within the second or third ability of hers should be the ability to target players.

I'm a big fan of having at least two abilities of any particular planeswalker connecting with each other. And in Chandra's case, I enjoy imagining a fire building up inside of her until she explodes. Now, for the feeling of her building up this "fire," it would feel wrong if, along the way, she's actually throwing fireballs at creatures like the first ability we established. It's like she's letting some of that build-up eke out. So, I've decided that the '+' ability that builds up toward the "ultimate" ability shouldn't be that.

While every Chandra "explodes" with lots of fire with their ultimate, Chandra Ablaze is a good example of the kind of interaction that I like. Discarding cards that would eventually be used for the ultimate's casting of cards from the graveyard.

Here's a problem, though, with having the "build-up ability" not involve direct damage: it leaves Chandra defenseless. Part of what makes for a great planeswalker is having the ability to defend itself against threats - mostly creatures. Otherwise, they'll lose all of their loyalty counters pretty quickly.

But that's where I discover that the main issue is with keeping Chandra alive with loyalty counters - not just blocking damage. If we have the effect add loyalty counters on a higher level than most usual damage, we can have her survive as if there WERE tokens or something absorbing damage like other planeswalkers do!

But it doesn't seem right for Chandra's ability to say:

"0: Add # loyalty counters."

Nay, we want to tie it in to gameplay that feels right and that we would want to encourage. How about this:

"0: Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell this turn, put # loyalty counters on Chandra Nalaar."

The instants and sorceries thematically represent the fire spells that you're casting, and the damage isn't coming from her, so it still feels like she's building up for something big.

The number of loyalty counters that is added to her as part of this ability depends on the other attributes of her: how many loyalty counters does she start with? What's her mana cost?

The mana cost is important to consider since the turn the ultimate ability "goes off" is determined by this. Usually, when uninterrupted, a Chandra will "blow up" on turn 8. Now, this Chandra is at a converted mana of five. I want to change that, and going to six or more would be a bad direction. I mean, it would make her even more sucky than she already is right now. But I don't want to do a converted mana cost of three or less since that starts to get tricky and/or unusual.

I'll do a converted mana cost of four. To differ from the other Chandra that costs four, I'll have the cost require two red mana. This is actually a smart idea since, if the cost only required a single red mana, players wouldn't be as easily able to build a predominantly, say, blue deck with some splash of red mana to get Chandra in there. Then the "build up" with casting instants and sorceries might have a lot of blue spells being cast (and rarely, if ever, red ones), which feels wrong. 2RR it is.

Because the mana cost is 2RR, I will attempt to have the ultimate go off, on average, in four turns. Maybe three turns if the player loyally casts instants/sorceries.

So how do we judge that? Hmm. If a deck wants to optimize on their mana each turn, they are forced to cast at least one spell a turn (and use each mana produced each turn). And let's assume that the average deck casts things on turn 2 and 3 before casting Chandra on turn 4. Preferably, one spell. So let's do math to count the number of cards a person will have as the turns go by. Let's assume the person is going first for the sake of not counting on the extra card of going second. Lastly, let's assume a burn deck running Chandra will cap out at 4 lands to maximize casting her spells.

Turn 1 = Play 1 Land, Final Hand = 6
Turn 2 = Draw 1 Card, Play 1 Land, Cast 1 Spell, Final Hand = 5
Turn 3 = Draw 1 Card, Play 1 Land, Cast 1 Spell, Final Hand = 4
Turn 4 = Draw 1 Card, Play 1 Land, Cast Chandra, Final Hand = 3
Turn 5 = Draw 1 Card, Cast 2 Instants and/or Sorceries, Final Hand = 2
Turn 6 = Draw 1 Card, Cast 2 Instants and/or Sorceries, Final Hand = 1
Turn 7 = Draw 1 Card, Cast 2 Instants and/or Sorceries, Final Hand = 0

Boy, casting 6 instances of instants/sorceries after casting Chandra is the absolute beast thing to do. If you drew a land or any other type of spell, this wouldn't be attainable! If they manage to cast 4 instants/sorceries after casting Chandra, I'd say, "Bravo." and let the ultimate be able to happen (assuming that Chandra didn't get hit a single time). Maybe 5 times? Let's see. 4 to 5 instants/sorceries cast will be what Chandra needs to go off.

Because I think that, to make up for having no protection, I'd like Chandra to gain 2 loyalty per instant/sorcery cast instead of a measly 1. And 3 would be out of the question. So, if I assume that the player needs to cast 4 to 5 instants/sorceries, this would be having 8 to 10 loyalty. This is on top of her starting loyalty. I'd like to have the ultimate not be so high in number since the planeswalkers are first being introduced, and we don't need to do something so crazy like Gideon, Champion of Justice just yet. That's for later - like when Gatecrash comes out and prints Gideon, Champion of Justice.

So, we want the player to gain 8 loyalty before doing Chandra's ultimate. And then we can make Chandra's ultimate require 10 loyalty just like Jace Beleren's. Don't worry, Chandra's old ultimate requirement of 8 is covered already by Liliana Vess. There's no hole in the space-time continuum or something. ...Yeah.

If we have Chandra's starting loyalty at 3, then this will what happen:
Turn 4 = Chandra's Loyalty = 3
Turn 5 = Chandra's Loyalty = 7
Turn 6 = Chandra's Loyalty = 11
Turn 7 = Chandra's Ultimate!

I picked 3 because 2 seemed too low and 4 is pretty beef for a red 4-drop.

Hmm. Wait a minute. Why does Chandra have to have an ability that reads like the following?

{0}:  Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell this turn, put 2 loyalty counters on Chandra Nalaar.

If you don't have any spells of that criteria, then you'd be screwed. And if you have a lot, especially cantrips, you can really go off the chain. How about a more controlled pace that doesn't feel helpless when you're already screwed?

{+1}: Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell this turn, put 1 loyalty counter on Chandra Nalaar.

Still the same result if you cast one spell, but better if you have none, and worse if you cast two spells. Seems fantastic!

So, with this in mind, if we have the player cast 4 spells, with two activations on turns 5 and 6, that would equate to +7 loyalty. So, we can still do the -10, pretty much.

Because it's so variable in how much loyalty you can gain, let's just make that creature damage scalable like with the original Chandra's -X ability.

Lastly, let's do the ultimate ability. She's going to EXPLODE. We haven't yet seen a Chandra that can hit every single target. So, I'm going to take advantage of that. And since the loyalty cost is -10, I'll make it 10 damage. Yes, similar to original Chandra's targeting of one player and their creatures for -8, but not as explosive if used in a multiplayer game. So, I'll go with that.

Also, I'm running out of time for today. Here's the replacement Chandra:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Daily Card Redesign #9: Magefire Wings

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.

My first multicolored card! I am excite!

So, a blue-red multicolored card is sorted into the section among the rest of the blue-red cards. So no shenanigans with changing its color can occur. There are no restriction on the card type this can be, though - green-blue has five out of five of its cards as creatures, for example. It'd be fun to change this card's card type!

This card could be a creature since the focus is ON a creature. It could be an instant or sorcery and just be a one-turn magical thing instead of be a permanent thing like how an Aura does.

Since my mind has been tainted with knowing that this a creature enchanted with Magefire Wings, I decided to show my sister, who is sitting near me as I type this, the art of Magefire Wings to see what she thinks is going on. Here's a paraphasing of how she described:

"I see hooves. Like a horse. But it looks like a cat. Like a cat horse thing. It's got a tail. And it looks like it's flying. Like it's flying through the galaxy. But I don't know what's going with the blue thing around its head."

Cat horse, eh? It's awesome apt a description this is for the Leotau:

Grizzled Leotau by Lars Grant-West
The one in the art has armor on like they did when they are on Bant. Both Grizzled Leotau and Wild Leotau are not like the "Bant-ed up" one in the art of Magefire Wings.


So it's a flying leotau. If it were a creature, this just wouldn't make sense. Unless it were an Illusion! Thanks to blue, you can do many, if not all, creature types with a pairing with the Illusion creature type. For example, Phantasmal Bear and Phantasmal Dragon.

But it doesn't quite look right as an Illusion. It looks like its body is solid earthen material while the magical stuff is happening overhead. It looks like it's flying... but wait. What if it's not flying around on the battlefield? What if it's in the middle of being unsummoned? But there's fire! ...Like, Unsummon with damage?

This reminds me of Essence Backlash! A counterspell with damaging the spell's controller equal to its power. How about we do the same thing except with unsummoning? Got it!

Before I moved on, I checked to see if there were any similar blue-red spells in the Alara Reborn set that would make this card produce redundant effects. Answer: almost! Deny Reality returns any sort of permanent. But there isn't one that returns just creatures. Good enough for me!

Now, let's deduce the appropriate cost for this new spell - Essence Backlash counters creature spells. Countering a creature spell costs 1U, as you can see with Essence Scatter. The remaining effect costs 1R, apparently. And that's what will stay the same for this new card. So, we need 1R + whatever the cost of an Unsummon is. Answer: U. Put 'em together, and you get a card that costs three mana!

Since Unsummons are used not only to return opponents' creatures to their owners' hands but sometimes on your own creatures - I made sure that the damage was optional, so you wouldn't have to hit yourself in the face to save your own creature.

Lastly, I like how Essence Backlash is like Essence Scatter in its naming for the differences between the effects. Am I able to do the same with Unsummon? ...Nah. Instead, I found something quite suitable that's the synonym of "backlash."

...And then I found out that Backfire already exists. Damn. Would have been a great name for this. 

So here ya go:

Doesn't it seem like the creature, with the blue part, is dissolving back into magical energy? And then that blue energy is turning into red energy, which is the damaging part when it comes back to the controller.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Daily Card Redesign #8: Feldon's Cane

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 didn't know anything about Feldon before working on this card. And after reading this MTG Salvation wiki page on Feldon, he quickly became a beloved character of mine.

Since this cane is SUPPOSED to be Feldon's Cane, making this into any other kind of cane/staff/rod seemed inappropriate. It's a pretty unique-looking cane. So, like with Empress Galina, its name and flavor will remain intact.

The effect that this cane has probably relates to his archaeological pursuits, but perhaps there's some relation to his quest to revive his dead lover. Then again, Feldon was never able to revive her permanently, so it wouldn't be right for Feldon's Cane to have the ability to do so.

My instinct was to turn this effect into something that brings back artifacts or searches for artifacts. This would be more about what Feldon did. But then I noticed something.

The Golgothian Sylex was an important artifact that Feldon also managed to recover. Take a look:

Feldon's Cane, one of the two important artifacts that Feldon archaeology-ed up, seemingly was designed with returning any sort of card from the graveyard because it was mindful of the fact that not just artifacts are destroyed by the Golgothian Sylex - any kind of permanent could be destroyed.

Ah. We got our direction. Feldon's treasured goods interact with each other. We need to come up with a design that isn't the original rules text yet still interacts with the Golgothian Sylex!

Currently, the interaction happens sequentially - from the activation of the Golgothian Sylex putting permanents into the graveyard to the returning of them (just yours) to the library from the activation of Feldon's Cane. What if it was the other way around?

First thing I thought of was doing an effect that protected your permanents and brought them back from the graveyard. But that would cause a game-crushing loop with the Golgothian Sylex.

The next thing I thought of was screwing over your opponents' Antiquities permanents. But how can you ensure they have permanents like that? Initially, I was going to go for an effect like that Hunted cycle from the original Ravnica block. You give them Antiquities tokens! ...But then I remembered that Golgothian Sylex only affects nontoken permanents. Also, it would suck to have yet another card that calls out Antiquities.

Blast. Hmm. Well, Feldon's Cane just offsets the drawback of destroying your own Antiquities permanents. Perhaps we can ENCOURAGE you to have a ton of Antiquities permanents by the rules text of Feldon's Cane. We want to DESTROY MANY THINGS!

...O.K., tricky part. Millstone exists in this set, too. You don't want Feldon's Cane to interact with Antiquities cards that are already in the graveyard. Otherwise, the Millstone can become an unintended accomplice in your master plan! Nay, we want to destroy a bunch at once.

Something like: "Whenever a permanent you control is put into a graveyard this turn, ..." or "Whenever a permanent you control would be put into a graveyard this turn, ... instead." But we have to be careful about what we do with these permanents for the second part since we don't want to return the Golgothian Sylex and keep re-using it.

Hmm... Feldon was an archaeologist. Archaeologists find things from under the land. What if, whenever a land is destroyed, you uncover something? Aha! So, the later in the game you obliterate your stuff, the more reward you get! Since this is a two-card synergy, you could be rewarded liberally, as in the number of lands destroyed this turn equals that many cards drawn. And, by itself, it's kinda unimpressive. Which is just fine, since we want to design "safely."

But I don't want it to be useless on its own. It's Feldon's Cane, after all. It could at least DO something and not simply be reactionary.

O.K., here we go!

I tried to stay true to the messy old wording from back in the days of Antiquities. A "Mono Artifact" is one that taps to use its activated abilities. So, really, that isn't simply a cost of "1" right there.

I used the wording of Golgothian Sylex "discarded from play" to stay true to the old version of what we would call "destroyed." I followed Ashnod's Transmogrant for how to template sacrificing the artifact as part of the cost. Then I copied Strip Mine for how to word destroying land.

I made sure to cost this card enough so that it is a strictly worse card to the then-normal cost of destroying land at 3 mana. So I costed it at 4 mana. Then this effect of drawing a card from this land destruction is a boon, so it costs another mana. I added 1 mana more for activating it just like with Golgothian Sylex to both parallel it and to add a buffer of mana for power-level safety. You do have the potential to draw multiple cards if you have dedicated land destruction. And, of course, if you're doing the two-card "Feldon's Stuff" combo.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Daily Card Redesign #7: Empress Galina

Randomizer, grant me something that's not a common!

Crap. An open-ended legendary creature to replace. Well, if I have to use the same art, and the art is of Empress Galina, the card must remain named Empress Galina and do something that Empress Galina can do.

So, the first thing I did was look up what I can on Empress Galina, since I have no idea what she's all about. ...And she freaking traveled 3000 years through time, leading her people of merfolk! That's something to go off of.

I think of suspend. That's perfect. Leading her people can be represented by making her yet another Merfolk lord, like Lord of Atlantis.

Ran out of time to talk and design. Must upload blog post and current version of card now!

EDIT: Fixed a few things with the card itself and am including a few notes here:

I fixed the missing power/toughness and the dysfunctional rules text. In my hurry to make the deadline, I missed some stuff! Now that I'm editing this post-post, I might as well include a bit more information:

First, here's the fixed version:

I have a '3' theme throughout the card because of the 3000 years she traveled through time. She costs two blue mana plus three generic mana. She takes three turns to arrive. She is a 3/3. She grants +3/+3 to other Merfolk.

And, yes, I just basically did suspend. Seeing as suspend hasn't been created, yet; I chalked up this design as doing what Mistform Ultimus did before the keyword changeling (a keyword that grants every creature type to the creature) was created.

I changed Empress Galina from a Legend to a Merfolk Legend. Legendary creatures used to be just creature type of "Legend." But then, later, they added creature types to legendary creatures besides Legend. But not on all of them at the time they first started doing this. For example: "Dragon Legend." But, within the same set as Empress Galina, there was a Treefolk Legend. But she's just a Legend. It didn't seem right, so I made her a Merfolk.

I didn't give it a Lord type, even though she gave a Lord ability but on a grander scale. This is because Kangee, Aerie Keeper is proof of tribal pumping that is potentially massive like hers. Kangee wasn't printed as a Lord type, and he is similar in pumping to this Empress Galina.

The reason why I allowed massive pumping for all Merfolk is because of flavor. She traveled through time 3000 years into the future. Then she led her fellow Merfolk to victory in battle, crushing their adversaries - thus, she lets her Merfolk crush you with extra boosting and potential unblockability-ness with islandwalk.

She is cast on turn five and doesn't come out until turn eight. Games are usually done before turn eight rolls around, so it's O.K. for a game-ender to occur.

Lastly, like I did last time with Deathgazer, my Empress Galina design is within the old card frame and whose rules text is templated with old language because I'm designing her as if it were during that time when the set was being created.

O.K., that's it!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Daily Card Redesign #6: Bile Urchin

Look at this thing.

The Random Card button in Gatherer gave me this Spirit to work with. Well, it looks like it could be a Horror, too. But because of those floating glowing thingies, it has to be a Spirit. Most, if not all, of the Spirits in the Kamigawa block have floating stuff surrounding them. ...I know - please bear with me, Vorthoses, for not knowing what those things are or what they're called.

First thing I did was take note of all the black effects in Betrayers of Kamigawa

And then before delving too far into what kind of an effect I should have on this creature, I noticed that there are no common black creatures with a converted mana cost of 1 except for this guy. I didn't want black to have absolutely no common creatures to cast on the first turn, so I decided that I must retain the mana cost of one black mana.

Next, I found that there was a lack of the following: deathtouch, swampwalk, regeneration, haste, lifelink, and boosting power. Haste is rarely done in black, and I'm not about to put it onto a one-mana creature as part of my "safe" designing. Regeneration on a Spirit would be counter-synergetic with Soulshift only working with dead Spirits. Besides, a regenerating one-drop at common would be annoying for Limited. Lifelink is just like deathtouch as not having existed, yet. But, you know, the art just doesn't seem to depict a thing that would be gaining life.

That leaves swampwalk and boosting power. Well, assuming I don't do life loss. Because this guy totally looks like something that is infectious. ...heh, on that note, it does look like a creature with Infect. But that doesn't exist in Betrayers of Kamigawa.

Well, with swampwalk, Plague Beetle already exists. But a functional reprint is a possibility. Cases in point: Lantern Kami is a Spirit version of Suntail Hawk and Wandering Ones is a Spirit version of Merfolk of the Pearl Trident.

Man, a Tormented Soul would be perfect for this slot. It does what swampwalk does but a little differently, it's a Spirit, and the art does seem to indicate that this creature is going through some hard times. Poor guy.

But we can't do that. So let's just do a Plague Beetle functional reprint. This guy is practically eating swampy stuff.

...Hey, wait a minute. Perhaps swampwalk wasn't done because it would make it harder for this guy to die (or cause other creatures to die). And that means less Soulshift-iness!

Side note: I've been ignoring the boosting power because it seemed like the best way to do it that was appropriately matched with the art was sacrificing it. Or relating it to dying. Somehow. But I can't have it grant temporary upon him dying, because it would most likely be during combat after damage is dealt - and that is not useful.

Oh, I know! Let's relate swampwalk to that good ol' trigger used frequently on Spirit cards: "Whenever you cast a Spirit or Arcane spell, ..." That way, it doesn't mean that you'll always have a creature that both doesn't kill creatures and is hard to kill, thus denying soulshift a bit. In this case, it'd be encouraging more Spirit/Arcane decks. How encouraging of the parasitism that is Kamigawa block. Oh, well. Lastly, this sets it apart from Plague Beetle and Tormented Soul.

The swampwalk only happens occasionally. How about whenever it spits out some swampiness to guide its way? As if it always has swampwalk, it just needs its own filthy juice to be spat out. A Bespatter! ...I just really want to use this word, and it fits the criterion of being alphabetically placed before Blessing of Leeches, and it does look like this guy is spitting out stuff.


Fun fact: AFTER naming this card, I looked at the entry of "mire" on, and - "bespatter" is used within its examples of uses with verbs! CRAZY RANDOM HAPPENSTANCE!