There is Emperor's Vanguard at rare, but something at uncommon that explores every turn could probably be balanced easily enough and give green a control tool. I'm not sure if the below is balanced, but you could play with the cost and starting stats.
Cost : 2G
At the beginning of your upkeep, ~THIS~ explores.
Sacrifice 2 lands: ~THIS~ regenerates.
Seems like a pretty nuts Sakura-Tribe Elder upgrade. Not strictly, because you can't sac it whenever you want, but against an aggro deck it is probably better than Cultivate; you accelerate, get a land in your hand, AND get to chump some damage. Or they stop attacking, which you are probably happy about.
Another repeat explorer. Why is Deadeye Tracker a rare? I guess it is a metagame answer for some formats? I think this is more than fair when you compare it to Duskwatch Recruiter.
Come at Me Bro Guy
Cost : 1R
Discard a card: Target creature attacks this turn if able.
I was trying to think of a playable card that forces your opponent to attack, so started with base stats that you would be comfortable with even if you didn't use the ability. I feel like a mana cost (without discard) would be too inefficient to overcome the possibility of eating multiple creatures. So I made it free discard, which could be a tempo hit given they paid mana for their creature (though you aren't attacking with this if you need to block with it) but you never get better than 1 for 1 each time. If you've had an aggro start, discarding 2-4 cards to force your opponent to attack (even if you just take it) and therefore turn off their blockers might be a feature, or it might be a bit oppressive. In which case, adding a single mana to the activation would probably balance it.
Some recent discussion on Razaketh's Rite got me thinking about tutors / card filters.
Blah de blah Tutor
Scry 4 and lose 1 life. Then you may pay 1B. If you do, draw a card. If you don't, return ~THIS~ to your hand.
I started the cost at B and the trigger cost at 2B, but that is probably pretty nuts. Potentially playing out 2 swamps over your first couple of turns and clearing away up to your top 12 cards to find bombs or set up nuts plays from turn 3 onwards sounds pretty damn good. Maybe it's still pretty nuts and actually worth NOT replacing itself to keep on scrying every couple of turns if you have the mana.
I was looking more for something that mini-tutors if you don't have the full mana, and is worth actually playing at full mana...
Cost : B
If you paid the kicker cost, search your library for a card, put that card into hand and shuffle your library. If you didn't pay the kicker cost, instead scry 3, lose 1 life, and return ~THIS~ to your hand.
The 'if you do not [extra] then return this card to your hand' template seems like a terrible idea because it amounts to free buyback and these spells are not so overpriced that the deal would not be great. Compare to cards like Mystic Speculation. Also, loss of 1 life as a rider is really redundant. As Leelue always says, it s pretty laughable how Wizards thinks 'pay 2 life' is a real cost to balance anything, and if the rider has no true balancing function, it seems pretty redundant.
Still, the idea itself is really interesting. I do think that tutors with alternative modes and/or strong filtering effects provide an interesting design space.
Yeah there's no way they print repeatable Anticipate that turns into tutor at uncommon or less. That's a pretty insane card, imagine being a constructed control deck and being able to anticipate over and over again at the cost of 1B and a life. Even at sorcery speed it's nuts.
So, as mentioned, I still consider the free buyback mechanic a terrible idea since as Salmo pointed out, it is as broken as things get.
Thinking about this myself, I got interested in alternatives that do things similar to Razaketh's Rite: just overpriced Demonic Tutor's with alternative costs or modes. In the case of Razaketh's Rite, you have a considerably weaker effect doing the same thing, digging, for a minimal cost. Looking at some alternatives, Madness, Convoke, Suspend, and Miracle each represent a way to make conditionally better or at least comparable cards using something like Grim Tutor as a baseline. Additionally, I would likely be fine with a Vampiric Tutor or Cruel Tutor type of effect. Another interesting take is a conditional tutor like Beseech the Queen. Here are some ideas:
Search your library for a card with converted mana cost less than or equal to the number of cards in your hand, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
Whispers of the Swarm4B
Search your library for a card and put that card into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
Search your library for a card and put that card into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
Suspend 3 - B
Brush with the Inconceivable2BB
Search your library for a card, then shuffle your library and put that card on top of it. Then, you may pay half your life, rounded up. If you do, draw a card.
These mostly act as proofs of concept rather than fully thought-out designs. The miracle tutor in particular was just me having a bit of fun.
It's not 'free buyback' in the traditional sense; buyback is usually on cards where you get the effect on the card, and if you can afford the buyback cost, you get to do it again. The templating here perhaps doesn't work, but the idea was that the kicker version without the 'buyback' is essentially a different spell altogether.
jovian, as salmo has implied you'd rarely pay the kicker cost because the card advantage / quality you get from keeping it is excellent, but maybe that was an oversight.
I like Creeping Insight, although I have a sneaking suspicion it would do degenerate things in older formats with the like of Lion's Eye Diamond and such. Though probably no more broken than what they already have...
Cost : 2BB
Search your library for a card, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.
Forecast 1B - Scry 2
That kind of solves some problems. Scry 2 for 1 mana might be cheap, but forecast has the eternal problem of requiring investment in your upkeep and I don't know how often I'd want to spend 2 mana in my upkeep. 2 mana is probably right to disincentivize just forecasting it every turn and actually tutor sometimes.
Pending Tutor is definitely something I can get behind. Forecast is such an underutilised bit of design space and the current design philosophy hardly has room for it and its ilk which is sad. In comparison to the earlier versions, this card has the balancing restrictions that its repeatable mode only works once per turn, has a restrictive timing window (decide before drawing for the turn), and does not trigger spells matter cards when used repeatedly.
What you seem to be missing is how the previous cards were providing free buyback for the baseline spell. Again, consider the comparison to a card like Mystic Speculation which costs 1 more than Blah de blah Tutor with buyback, scries less, and has no kicker for a stronger one-off effect. I understand that the return to hand is supposed to allow for 'digging deep' to emulate a kind of tutoring but it breaks the baseline spell's power level. Imagine that with Young Pyromancer or in decks which have spare mana in the late game. Normally, repeatable scries are something more like Crystal Ball, and while the spell would not be strictly better in terms of mana efficiency and timing restrictions, the double depth per scry really adds up.(So, basically, the point is that the free buyback mode of the non-kicked spell is what I find problematic in itself. I understand that those cards do not have free buyback when kicked.)
I agree. I think the sweet spot is 'slightly below par' for the cheap version, such that you'd rather be playing something else, but you'll cast it if you don't have something better to do with your mana; and that the 'full cost' mode is better enough than the cheap mode that you would actually cast it a decent amount of time once you get the mana. Perhaps trickier than I had expected, especially for a tutor.
Perhaps Blah de Blah Tutor could just be:
Cost : 2BB
Search your library for a card and put it into your hand, then shuffle your library. B, Reveal this card from your hand: Scry 1.
It's a strictly better Diabolic Tutor but I don't really have a problem with that. Scry 1 seems pretty innocuous, even if you can activate it multiple times per turn.
That's probably a lot stronger than it looks. It would probably be more fair/printable as 1B: Scry 2, since B: Scry 1 is a pretty great thing to machine gun through when it's effectively only costing you mana.
1B scry 2 is certainly stronger than BB scry 1, scry 1, and 'machine guns' better (assuming that term means just digging for a card) because it is less colour intensive. The benefit of the single mana version is just that; single mana so you can stop scrying once you hit a card you want to draw without the potential to 'waste' any mana.
Something that has been knocking around my head for the last few days.
Cost : U
When ~THIS~ enters the battlefield, investigate two times.
Whenever you sacrifice an artifact, target creature an opponent controls gets -1/-0 until end of turn.
If you view it as a 5 mana draw 2 it's bad, but the upside of breaking the cost into chunks and affecting the board seems pretty nice for control decks to slip it in somewhere along the curve. I don't know enough about older formats to know whether this is better than all the other broken enablers for affinity however... I think it is about right for our environment, but it might play better than it looks.
This thread is great guys, as a (primarily) peasant cuber myself I've been following it for a while.
I want more general tribal support at uncommon, but a lot of the best generic tribal support is at rare. I was thinking about these:
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice ~ unless you pay 2.
Each creature you control gets +2/+2 as long as it shares a creature type with another creature you control.
This is the same cost as Coat of Arms, but caps the boost at +2/+2. The effect is one-sided, which makes it strong but also curbs a lot of complexity. I'm reluctant to make it cost 6, so I figured a persistent tax would help bring the cost down without making it overpowered. However it could be that anything lower than 6 is just rare level.
Artifact – Equipment
Equipped creature gets +1/+1.
Equipped creature gets an additional +1/+1 as long as you control another creature that shares a creature type with equipped creature.
Goblin Assault is a thing, and kinda sucks, but I imagine if it cost 2 and they didn't have to attack that it would be really good because I would really want to play that. It would probably be better and worse, if that make sense, as flying is huge but the aggression from the goblins is as well. Plus there are more goblin synergies, and red can probably make better use of the effect.
I'm in round 3 of my development of a cube of made-up cards, and this came up in conversation with my friend. We tried it without haste and it seemed bad (losing out on up to a lava axe's worth of damage)