Sunday, December 10, 2017

Daily Card Redesign #188: Glowering Rogon

Daily Card Redesign is a daily Magic: The Gathering design exercise where I randomly choose a card for the scenario of it being scrapped late during its own set's development. I design a replacement card that uses the same art, is the same color(s), is the same rarity, and has a name that, alphabetically, keeps it within the same collector number for the set. This real-life Magic R&D process is known as "hole-filling."




Amplify is a keyword in the Legions set. A search of what keywords are at common, especially for Beasts, reveals that there are only three creatures with amplify. Additionally, for each color/creature type that did receive an amplify card at common, there's only one instance of such a card. Because of this, we are restricted to keeping this with amplify.

So, my next step was to change this design of being a French vanilla creature to one that is the next-most-simple thing: either add another evergreen creature keyword or make it a virtual French vanilla creature.

My first thought was to give this creature trample. However, a search of all the amplify creatures in Legions reveals that there is already a trampling amplify creature. This card:

Dang. And perhaps it was for the best. Feral Throwback, another green beast, has both Amplify and Provoke, both new creature keywords. Provoke is a version of evasion (except, giving evasion to your OTHER creatures rather than the one who has the ability), and trample is already an evasion type of ability.

...perhaps this is why trample was given to a different color. Trample is a great incentive for amplifying. But Beasts are both green and red. So, we can't give amplify to a red creature. And only Soldiers and Zombies have amplify. If we want Feral Throwback to still have provoke, the solution is to look to either a Soldier or a Zombie to give trample to. A black zombie with trample made the most sense (and I now have a greater appreciation for how the design turned out here in the context of the Legions set).

So, a minor enters-the-battlefield effect would be in order. Looking at other cards that had effects that improved with amplify, they usually just referenced the +1/+1 counters themselves instead of something like power or toughness. Some gave some power/toughness boosting while others dealt damage. But none gained life.

Gaining life equal to the +1/+1 counters seemed pretty harmless enough (remember, hole-filling means you need to put in a card safe for printing with minimal testing since development time has grown short by the time this scenario occurs).

However, granting an extra ability to this existing card means something has to give. Either the positive parts need to diminish or there should be extra negative. But with minimal complexity. This meant changing the power, toughness, and/or mana cost. 

I felt like it was important for this Beast to be at least 4 power and 4 toughness at this mana cost, as a Beast tribe (this was a tribal block) representative. And I wasn't looking to make it even better, so mana cost was the place to tweak. Since there was already higher-cost cards at common for green, I thought it important to retain its cost where it is. So, as a balance to the added life effect, I added the extra green mana requirement in the mana cost.

Lastly, I needed to change the name that's appropriate for this card. But that it also still fits alphabetically between these two other cards:

Since you were gaining a small amount of life, and that this was a large beast that you might think would eat veggies all day (I don't know what a Rogon eats, perhaps it's a carnivore), I chose to hint at this with "Grazing". This still comes alphabetically after "Gempalm" and before "Hundroog." Since I didn't want to do the type of Beast this is a disservice, I left the "Rogon" part of the name in.

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