We have finally come to the end of the May edition of the Card Creation League. Two fine designers, both previous winners of the CCL this year, were left to compete in a puzzle-like final challenge. Which one made the most interesting cards? It's up to you to decide!
Types: One planeswalker, plus creature, artifact, enchantment, sorcery, instant, and tribal. You may repeat and combine types however you like, as long as all are represented. Mana cost: Your cards should have converted mana costs of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Rarity: 2 mythic rare, 2 rare, 2 uncommon. Flavor: The planeswalker will represent the awakening of your avatar's Spark, while the rest should represent things that he or she sees on his or her first planar journey. What is his home plane like? What would she like to learn on Mirrodin or Lorwyn? Other than the planeswalker, each card should show an experience from a different plane.
Planeswalker - Torg (M)
Creatures attack and block each turn if able.
+1 Put a 3/1 red Elemental creature token with haste into play.
-1 Creatures you control gain haste and first strike until end of turn.
Tribal Sorcery - Goblin (u)
1/1 creatures you control have Shroud and are unblockable until end of turn. "Stomping boggarts." A giantish saying meaning, 'A fruitless endeavor.'
Artifact - Fortification (R)
Sacrifice fortified land: Put a +1/+1 counter on up to two target creatures you control.
Fortify 1 "Mom always yell, 'Careful, Torg! Swords not grow on trees!' Mom always wrong."
Choose one or both — Counter target red spell; and/or prevent all damage red sources would deal this turn. "It is my duty to turn away calamity, whether it is a hurricane, volcano, or uninvited guests."
-Aemeric, Bant Border Guard
At the beginning of your upkeep, search your library, graveyard, and cards you own outside the game for a creature card and put it into play. That creature gains haste until end of turn. Sacrifice it at end of turn. "As he walked down the mountain more and more rifts opened. His violent aura pulled the most hateful monsters from our past and future."
-Gellen, New Benelia Scout
Orsk, the UnfetteredRRGG
Legendary Creature - Ogre Warrior (M)
Permanents can't be attached to Orsk the Unfettered. R: Flip a coin. If you win, destroy each creature blocking Orsk, the Unfettered. If you lose, sacrifice Orsk, the Unfettered. "These Gruul have such fury. I may have at last found a new home."
Hirudin, Manabond Nexus 2BG
Planeswalker - Hirudin MR
[+2]: Each player may put a land card from his or her hand into play.
[-2]: Until end of turn, target creature gains trample and gets +1/+1 for each land you control.
[-9]: Each opponent loses 3 life for each land he or she controls. You gain life equal to the total life lost this way.
Legendary Creature - Human Wizard R
At end of turn, you may pay :1mana::symr:. If you do, Tesla, Pyromancer-at-Large deals 3 damage to target creature. Though her fame increased after supposedly banishing Hirudin, Tesla continued to travel throughout Gherina slaying beasts and helping her fellow citizens.
Tribal Enchantment - Merfolk R
Islands you control have “:symtap:: Target Merfolk creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.” As the crannog’s tideshapers prepared the merrow hunters to clear the riverways of predators, an unseen leech studied their water magics with a dawning curiosity.
Geothermal Liturgy :symr::symg:
Add X mana in any combination of and/or to your mana pool, where X is the number of snow permanents you control. The great leech looked on as the Balduvian shamans chanted in a circle around the steaming vent. Hirudin could feel the mana as it flowed forth, rich and vital and fiery.
Artifact Creature - Beast U Sunburst (This comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it for each color of mana used to pay its mana cost.)
Trample Hirudin admired how the mana from each of the five suns resonated through the great metallic and crystalline beast, granting it strength and endurance as it charged toward him. He almost felt regret as he crushed it with a single undulation of his massive body.
Maelstrom's Grip WUUBRG
Counter target spell. That spell’s controller sacrifices each tapped permanent he or she controls. You gain life equal to the twice the number of permanents sacrificed this way. Though intrigued by the patterns of mana swirling about it, Hirudin fled when confronted with the sheer power of the Maelstrom.
The poll will run for one week, which is sure to be a nail-bitingly nervous week for our competitors as these excellent submissions guarantee a close contest.
Thanks to all our competitors for May, I hope you were all able to take home some valuable lessons in designing for certain rarities and mana costs. See you all in future CCLs!
Torg Wildfire is cool, is there a reason that Grand Melee doesn't have that text? I'm torn about the choice to give him only little abilities - it is flavorful in that he is a new planeswalker and doesn't seem to have the wits to pull off an ultimate spell, but it does seem like a little bit of a letdown since players almost always aim for the ultimate when using a planeswalker.
Swarm feels a little forced as a Tribal Goblin spell and the abilities are a little odd in hybrid - red doesn't get much shroud and green doesn't get much unblockable, although it gets close. Dwarven Nomad, Kithkin Armor, and Crafty Pathmage tell me low-power unblockability is RWU, which inspired one of the first designs I turned in on these forums. You could have broadened it a little bit by having it just be creatures with 1 power, both red and green would be happy to have even weak guys attacking.
Terraforge certainly represents a reddish take on fortification, and it's an interesting thing to add to Mirrodin (unless this is referring to a yet-unseen metal world). I don't like the low fortify cost though, since this is basically an artifact that gives all your lands T, sacrifice to give +1/+1 counters at sorcery speed, since you can use the land you will sacrifice to pay for the fortify cost. We played around with some similar stuff in Aegis design and eventually dropped it.
Avert Disaster is an awesome hoser, perfect for a loose cycle of allied cards that would punish their common enemy. Practically printable in Alara Reborn as is.
I wish Violent Eternities didn't go outside the game - that prevents you from having to devote any deck space to it. You forgot to add shuffling if you search your library as well. I guess it might be fun to play in tournaments with a sideboard, although in Standard I don't know when you would want anything other than 2xProgenitus to finish the game in 2 turns.
Orsk is decent, I don't know how much of a drawback it is to be unable to get auras or equipment. Rumbling Slum and Spellbreaker Behemoth say you can go 5/5 and bonus without needing all colored in the cost, though, and the coin flip ability doesn't seem mythic enough to me. Maybe if it was the better of two flips a la Krark's Thumb.
Excellent land-based planeswalker design. The numbers seem well-balanced, and this would be great support for some kind of green/black mana ramp Drain Life sort of deck, maybe using Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth with green acceleration to take advantage of Corrupt or what not. The ultimate should probably only be 2 life, though, as with the natural timing here that will straight out kill any opponent who has 7 lands.
Where is Tesla from? Intriguing. I like the odd end of turn trigger, but it seems a touch overpowered. It might work better if you forced the ability, leading to the possibility that she might burn herself.
The enchantment is a good tribal boost for Merfolk and plays well into their tapping themes, allowing you to utilize your extra lands to go for the kill once you have out enough guys.
We would need to see another set or two of Snow before Geothermal Liturgy would seem playable, but I like the idea of it. Mana rituals based on permanents are pretty safe, and this one has great flavor.
Glittering Gargantuan is not much of an innovation compared to Skyreach Manta and could have been common, but I always enjoy simple cards like this and it would be liked in Domain decks and what not.
Your last card, in my opinion, might be what has you behind in the polls at the moment. You took a risk with the mana cost that only a JqlMother could love, and while I think it works and is devastating enough to be mythic, it's just pushing a little too much. Dropping the red and green and life gain might have streamlined the card, although it would have pushed up the total cost. I feel like players who have built up that kind of mana base are going to want to proactively push forward threats, rather than sit around and wait for what could be devastating, but isn't too hard to play around when your opponent can guess what you have.
I haven't voted yet, but this detailed analysis surprised me as I found some strengths and weaknesses that I hadn't noticed on my first few glances through the cards. I would urge anyone who hasn't done so yet to take a good look at the cards and think before they cast a vote.
Torg Wildfire - Crazy little PW. I like the idea of a walker that changes the way the game is played when he enters the arena, it's both unique and flavorful, but I'd rather see a bit more loyalty counters on my PW if I'm paying so much mana for it. Also, the plus ability is way better than the minus ability. I almost always would rather have an extra creature. Swarm - Well fitting name, but the effect is not hybrid (though I agree that it cmc 1 is the way to go). I'd make it all green and switch 'unblockable' with 'may deal damage as though they weren't blocked'. Red really doesn't have a hold on any part of the card.
Terraforge- To be honest, I feel underwhelmed. True, fortification are too few for us to know how good they'll ever be, but the ability to turn excess lands into counters, while amazing in limited, just doesn't wow me enough to on the overall.
Avert Disaster - A good hoser by all signs. I like the 'deal with it now or deal with it for now' dichotomy in the choices. Solid and very printable.
Violent Eternities - The card that won you my vote. I think it's an elegant way to make a modern day Sneak Attack, which is a problem that harrased MTG designer for years, and it looks like an amasing casual card. I'm not too happy about being able to look for cards from outside the game as well, I think it's cool enough without giving you fifteen more creature slots in your deck.
Orsk, the Unfettered - Yay for the big ogre fatty! I'd much rather see this at rare and violent eternities at mythic. It's just not very exciting except for it's size. I like how the first abiliy hoses most of the enemy color removal, as blue and white removel is mostly in aura form.
Hirudin, Manabond Nexus - It's solid, and balanced, but not exciting. The first ability is not really a mana ramp, the second ability is very decent pump, and the ultimate will most likely take out a player wvwn with only four lands, but the road there is so long, it might as well. I think it's great to end stalement in limited, but not enough to make me build a deck around it, or to send a deck to next level. Also, I couldn't really feel the mechanical tie to your originall legend.
Tesla, Pyromancer-at-Large - Again solid but not exciting. I think what troubles me most is the fact I don't have a whole lot to say about it.
Shapewater Armory - A cool little tribal enchantment. This really shows a lot of skill in understanding tribal design. There's only suffers from one problem - it should have been green. Considering treefolk's connection with forests, this would have felt right at home in their tribe, and would have made a solid uncommon there instead of a medicore rare for merfolk.
Geothermal Liturgy - I wonder if anyone ever is going to go the distance of trying to break this. Probably not, but it looks like a lot of fun trying. Definately more balanced than Rite of Flame in my eyes. Could have been common. Glittering Gargantuan - Simple, and that's about it. Considering Fusion Elemental, I doubt anyone will really think a 5/5 trampler for WUBRG is a bargain, but you never know...
Maelstrom's Grip - This is where you lost me. It's costly, and the effects seem like they where just piled up together without any real mechanical or flavour ties. The extra U feels weird an add to lower to elegence of the card. It could have been better as a fusion card of all the golden counterspells of old days (Undermine, Absorb, Mystic Snake and Suffocating Blast) but it Punish Ignorance kinda already tapped that idea and even if hadn't it wouldn't have been very exciting.
Yeah it looked like I was not going to be needed for a tiebreaker so I went ahead and voted.
My guess here is that, with a range of decent cards, the non-planeswalker mythics might be what decided it. Both had janky costs and were a little over-complicated for my tastes, but I felt JqlGirl took a risk that may have put some people off on her card, as I said above. WhisperedThunder's mythic guy just wasn't exciting enough for me, he's under the curve and doesn't really even fit in the coin-flip decks he was designed for because of the green mana. Sticking to red only would have improved that guy a lot, I think.
Just wondering, my other thought for this challenge was to have you design what you thought a Plane card from the Planechase set would be like, to represent your home plane or something. Would that have been more fun?
Great job to both of you, congrats to WhisperedThunder!
I don't think WT's mythic creature was undercosted, it just didn't strike me as mythic. With all respect to WT, I just wasn't impressed - being a cheapish trampler is basically what it has going for it, I foresee few situations where I would want to use the activated ability, although that may just be me as a player. I did really like the red hoser he submitted, though.
The planeswalkers were also pretty crucial for me, and while I think Hirudin's ultimate was a little much, it seemed to have a much better balance of abilities than Torg, who I would almost always only use to make tokens.
I see that WT and I got our trophies, although mine claims to be for the DCC for some reason I'll try to order up his second trophy...