Sunday, November 19, 2017

NaGaDeMon #08: Flagged

Art by Daniel Ljunggren

Returning to the mana fixing solution.

Last time, the set had 10 artifacts and 10 lands devoted to fixing.

This has evolved a bit since then.

Before, there was talk of fortifications. And pairing the artifacts with the lands to form four-color fixing goodness. Which is great. One of the flavors was a key artifact that would pair with a Gate land.

Now, I've got a better idea. And this solution involves Magic Man Sam's suggestion of flags for when I asked about objects that are placed into locations (flags are planted at specific places).


Which is just as good as keys going into locked gates. Gates are stationary and get locked up and need keys. Flagpoles need flags.

However, something that flags do that keys don't do as well: get held by people in a meaningful way. Sure, people can just carry a key on them. But flags ...well, Magic even has the creature type Flagbearer.

And that's when the "Aha!" moment struck sometime while I was taking a shower.

A 10-card two-color cycle of creatures that are of creature type Flagbearer. They're able to hold the flag and help fix your mana. BUT ALSO, you can instead use the flag artifact with a land. The flags are flexible enough to be able to be planted on a land or be held by a Flagbearer. This allows for greater consistency for mana fixing card pairings to be available but without pushing things TOO far (where all three of these 10-card cycles could comingle with any other card among these thirty cards).

The Flagbearers can't work with the lands. And the Flagbearers and lands can't work within themselves. The lands and the Flagbearers both need to rely upon flags for four-color awesomeness. And there won't be TOO much of the flags going around (don't worry, the creatures and the lands themselves would still be decently useful on their own).

To top this off, the lands would be of type Tower, an existing land type (see "Urza's Tower"). Towers make so much sense to plant a flag at. Easier to grok why only the artifact fixers can enhance your mana fixing to the next level by only being able to pair with one of the creatures or one of the lands.

(I'm a big fan of re-using existing design technology to expand upon the space of such re-used tech. By this, I mean the creature type Flagbearer and the land type Tower.)

So, solution:

The flag itself should be an artifact that can be picked up by either a Flagbearer or a Tower. Which means either going the route of "pairing" like with soulbond. OR... making the flag an Equipment AND a Fortification. It'd look something like this:
Black-Red Flag
Artifact - Equipment Fortification
Equip 2
Fortify 2

Green-White Flagbearer
As long as CARDNAME is equipped, EFFECT

Green-White Land
Land - Tower
CARDNAME enters the battlefield tapped.
T: Add G or W to your mana pool.
As long as CARDNAME is fortified, EFFECT

The exact wording I'm still working on. But you get the gist of how this will fit into the bigger picture. As in, the common design skeleton.

Speaking of, here's the current skeleton numbers for each section of it:
  • 55 monocolor (11 each color)
  • 20 two-color (10 Flagbearers, 10 noncreatures)
  • 5 four-color
  • 10 artifacts (flags)
  • 10 lands (two-color Towers)
  • 1 artifact/land to round out the 101st card that reinforces the set's theme
'kay, that's it for now.

NaGaDeMon #07: Nonwhite Faction Mechanic

This one took a while to release, but I had figured out the main draw (foreshadowing) of the nonwhite faction mechanic for some amount of time shy of a while. It's drawing cards.

White sucks the most at doing the spells that have the effect of "draw a card" or "draw cards."

For the other colors:

  • Blue straight up just draws cards
  • Green also draws lots of cards, but this is usually tied with creatures in some manner; whether it's an Elvish Visionary that enters the battlefield, or you draw cards equal to combat damage, or you draw cards equal to a creature's power
  • Black draws cards but at a cost to itself, like paying life
  • Red draws cards, but it's in the form of looting/rummaging (it also doesn't do the "draw" effect and does the whole thing of exiling the top card of your library and letting you play it for that turn only, but these kind of effects don't count for what we're concerned for right now)
For both flavor and mechanics, there's a couple aspects of white vs. nonwhite to approach for drawing cards, both of which could be acted upon:
  • Firstly, divining for answers is something that white would do the least of since white's faith means it doesn't need to "consult the tea leaves", gain insight, or otherwise seek out answers to its answers. 
  • Secondly, drawing cards is inherently a random thing thing you get (versus tutoring); which ties to "chaos", a thematic word that opposes white's thing that was chosen to represent nonwhite when the designers of Commander 2016 were seeking out themes for each four-color identity.
So, the mechanical execution may be something like:
  • Insight (Whenever you draw a card, if it isn't your turn or the first card you draw during your turn, EFFECT
  • Fateful (Whenever you would draw a card, if it isn't your turn or the first card you would draw during your turn, you may scry 1.)
  • Spontaneity -- Whenever you would draw a card, if it isn't your turn or the first card you would draw during your turn, you may reveal it instead. If you do, EFFECT based on attribute X, then put it into your hand.
  • Wild (Whenever you would draw a card, if it isn't your turn or the first card you would draw during your turn, name a card type. If you do, reveal the card when you draw it. If its card type matches your choice, EFFECT / this creature is now wild.)
  • Fluctuate (Whenever you draw a card, if it isn't your turn or the first card you would draw during your turn, you may reveal it. If you do, if its mana cost doesn't match a card you previously revealed with fluctuate, this creature fluctuates.)
And then this next one has nothing to do with drawing cards and involves purposefully making sure that all cards that cost white mana has all of its numbers and number words amongst its power, toughness, and text never contain both an even number and an odd number.
  • Even the Odds (Whenever you cast a spell, if there is both an even number or number word and an odd number or number word amongst its power, toughness, and text, EFFECT)
And this next one is a riff of the above but made more simple of an effect but involve ensuring that white creatures always have its power and toughness be two odd numbers or two even numbers:
  • Oddity (Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, if the total of its power and toughness is odd, EFFECT)
  • Oddity (Whenever you cast a creature spell, if the total of its power and toughness is odd, EFFECT)
  • Oddity -- Creatures you control with odd total power and toughness have/get EFFECT
No example designs this time. Just the raw possible design execution directions that could be taken, to be mulled over.