Saturday, December 28, 2013

Goblin Artisans Weekend Art Challenge: Sandara

This weekend's Magic: The Gathering design challenge by Goblin Artisans can be found here.

Here's my submission:

The challenge asked for a Dragon design that could only be in the color(s) that it is in. Designing top-down cards is my style, so I went that route and let that process ultimately determine the type of effects or abilities this Dragon would have that would make it totally white.

There are three things that jump out at me about the art: the cloud of dust gathered 'round its feet, the prominent sun, and the barren land. The cloud of dust indicates to me that the dragon made a crash landing with its arrival. It's not standing, and it didn't walk over here from somewhere else. I associate this with flash.

In order to make this a better design, I need an effect that would call for this dragon having flash.

The barren land, at first, made me think that this dragon killed everyone. But it just landed, as we just went over. So, how could it just kill everyone instantly? Perhaps it's a Dragon that can do Day of Judgment on everyone. Sure, that can be done, but then the Dragon would die, too. If I made an effect that killed everyone EXCEPT the Dragon, well then we're making this into a black effect now. Let's see... what if everyone is already dead when the dragon arrives?

And that leads into the sun being prominently-placed in the art. It crosses with the Dragon's wing, so your eyes are drawn to it. Perhaps this Dragon is some kind of sun dragon.

Then I thought of Second Sunrise. Aha! It's going to bring everyone back to life, to give them a second chance. Faith's Reward exists as a card that only helps you instead of all players, but since this is the sun we're talking about, the sunlight is going to touch everyone. It's gotta affect all players.

However, I do like that Faith's Reward cleanly mentions permanents instead of Second Sunrise's specific card types. And dragons are powerfully-magical enough to do this sort of thing. I mean, just look at that beard.

So now the flash ability makes sense with this returning effect, gameplay-wise, since you'll want to be able to return your creatures or something if an opponent does something bad-for-you during his or her turn.

Lastly, I needed the effect to have the stipulation that it only goes off if you cast the Dragon from your hand. This is important because having an enters-the-battlefield triggered effect that returns creatures to the battlefield means it's open for degenerate combo abuse. Nip that in the bud.