June's CCL is finally at its climax. This month, competitors were asked to design their own plane, and once they did, were confronted with challenges presented by the Multiverse itself to destroy everything they had made.
Now these two competitors have risen above all the challenges and their planes will last forever. But which has the brighter future?
Make a Planeswalker to represent yourself in this round. And relate its abilities to your plane.
Then create a place of education to teach the denizens of your plane about whatever you deem most important for them to learn.
Next, a card with a keyword abilitythatrepresents progress or growth.
The most absolutely powerful creature that exists on your plane.
And finally, a card that will protect your plane from "otherworldly" interference ever again. (Basically, keep other Planeswalkers and whatever else is in the multiverse from interfering.)
Please note: Each contestant has chosen to write a few flavor descriptions on their plane and cards, as flavor was the main contest criteria for this entire month. You are not required to read any of the flavor spoilers if you chose not to.
The cards here, and indeed all the cards from this month's CCL are in the spirit of my set, Festival, which was inspired by my experiences in the Burning Man Festival (a recommended event if you can make it). It contains themes such as Giving to others, Bartering, Art, Parties, Acceptance of others, and Diversity - not what you'll usually see in a Magic set. It started as a couple of ideas scribbled in my notebook, but soon I found that going of the beaten track has led to some really cool design ideas, and so a set started to form around the cards I made. A multicolor theme also emerged, as a lot of the themes like acceptance and diversity could be translated into colors in Magic. Giving and bartering became a keyword that allows you to give a permanent to an opponent instead of paying the mana cost of things (similar to the effect of my round 4 card). Other transitions were less obvious, partying for example is represented by combat on my plane, as you could argue that a rave looks just like a battlefield after it's over.
The story was of a plane, Sarran, which is empty except for the Festival - A never ending celebration that draws people from different planes and species all over the multiverse, where they trade, party, perform and learn new abilities in the process.
I hope you'll enjoy this different take on a Magic set in progress (so far over a 100 cards made for it - not including the ones from this contest!)
Sarran is an empty slate, the perfect home for the ever-changing, never-ending Festival, where creatures, both sentient and bestial find their way to from all over the multiverse. Here they can interact with each other by trading, preforming, teaching, learning or simply by adapting to the changes each new festival goer bring with them.
Planeswalker - Avyr (MR)
+3 : Target opponent gains control of target permanent you control
-3: Search your library for a creature card that doesn't share a color with a creature you control and put it into play. Then shuffle your library.
-5: If an opponent controls a permanent you own of each color, you win the game. 5
Since this isn't just some planeswalker from the plane, it's suppose to be (if I understood the challenge correctly) the one that made the plane, so I felt like five colors are necessary. The abilites represents the themes of giving and diversity and he changes the rules so that you are able to win the game simply by giving to others. Since it's supposed to represent me, the planeswalker's name is an anagram of my real life name.
Learn to be part of the Festival in just three simple steps:
Land (C) T: Add 1 to your mana pool T: Target creature gains “T: add one mana of any color to your mana pool” until end of turn. Those known as ‘Drifters’ are new arrivals to the Festival, they go to the halls to learn what the Festival has to offer.
Learning how to give something of yourself is an important aspect of the festival. Newcomers are welcomed into a place of learning to teach them about diversity and how to utilize it to benefit others.
Progress by adapting to change:
Creature - Human Wizard (C)
Adaptive (This card is the colors of all other creatures in play) T: Target creature gets -1/-0 until end of turn for each of Kaleidoscopic Dazzler's colors.
The people of Sarran are interested in neither progress nor growth, except in a very narrow, personal meaning. Adapting to the changes around you is the best way to progress in my world, and you will gain more power through it.
Power! More power!:
Sovereign of the Sky4RRGG
Legendary Creature - Dragon (MR)
Other creatures lose flying. 3, Tap all untapped creatures you control: Untap Sovereign of the Sky, after this main phase, there is an additional combat phase followed by an additional main phase. Use this ability only once each turn and only any time you could play a sorcery.
Sarran really doesn't have too many big powerful creatures, but a solitary dragon so mighty that wherever he flies other creatures just clear the way rules the skies. Maybe it was native to the plane, or perhaps it came from somewhere else, and found the vast emptiness of Sarran to his liking. What is certain is that there is only one. And because it's speed matches it's size, it is able to attack twice within the same amount of time it take normal creatures to attack once.
Protecting the planet... er, um, the plane!:
Protective Array W
Enchantment (U) X: The next time a source of your choice with converted mana cost X deals damage to you this turn, prevent that damage.
Really not much to say here. An array of protective spells that guards against harm.
The Mirrorsea is truly a plane in shape, centered around the seemingly endless horizontal reflective surface that gives it its name, with no visible limits above or below. Nearly every creature here lives in tandem with its reflection, beings that have independent minds and even a limited degree of free movement. The unlikely hero of the story this month was Tavas, an enigmatic vampire wizard, who has no reflection but lives by sucking the life energy from others' reflections. It was this unique characteristic that enabled him to enter Boatat, the World Mind, a plane that had begun to collide with the Mirrorsea. His efforts averted this crisis (mostly to ensure his supremacy on the Mirrorsea), and shortly thereafter he also saw off a threat from a nihilistic planeswalker by tricking the planeswalker into becoming paralyzed by his own reflection.
The set is mechanically based around copy effects, particularly copying creatures. As such, there is some bleed of copy effects into other colors in ways that suit their color pie limitations. I realize this set would be difficult to play in real life with so many copy tokens, which is precisely why it only exists as a custom set. It could be done pretty easily online.
Planeswalker: Erise, Mirror Maiden2UU
Planeswalker - Erise (MR)
+1: Put a token onto the battlefield that's a copy of target token creature.
-2: Copy the next instant or sorcery spell you cast this turn. You may choose new targets for the copy.
-8: For each creature on the battlefield, put a token into play that's a copy of that creature.
Erise is the original creator of the Mirrorsea. She is adept in duplicating magic, and continues her research into the infinite worlds created when two or more mirrors are aligned.
Place of Education: Rousing Swell2U
Whenever a creature with one or more activated abilities enters the battlefield under your control, you may activate all of that creature's activated abilities without paying their costs. Novice mirrormages sail upon Saphad, the Current of Knowledge, chasing tales of one great wave that can inspire mastery in a moment.
Saphad is one of the five Great Currents, each carrying a separate color of mana in a complex pattern throughout the Mirrorsea. The Whirlspout, where these five currents meet and spiral both up and down into infinity, is considered the center of the Mirrorsea.
Growth Keyword: Shockjaw Barracuda1RR
Creature - Elemental Fish (U)
Wave (At the beginning of your upkeep, put a token onto the battlefield that's a copy of this permanent except for this ability.)
At the beginning of your end of turn step, sacrifice a token creature.
In the wake of the planar catastrophes that have assaulted the Mirrosea, powerful ripples continue to spread across its surface. Many creatures have learned to take advantage of the angles provided by these waves to reproduce themselves.
Absolutely powerful: Parallaxon3(G/U)(G/U)
Creature - Avatar (MR)
Parallaxon can't be copied.
Parallaxon's power is equal to the total power of token creatures on the battlefield and its toughness is equal to their total toughness. Objects in the Mirrorsea may be larger than they appear.
Mysterious beings that exist simultaneously on both sides of the Mirrorsea, the Parallaxons constantly warp light around them to create double reflections, drawing power from the reflections of those around them but shifting consciousness at the speed of light so they are impossible to constrain.
Protecting an already well protected plane: Fizz Generator3
Artifact (R) 1W,T: Prevent all damage that would be dealt to creatures with shroud this turn. 1U: Target creature you control gains shroud until end of turn. "With the right combination of bubbles, not even your own reflection can touch you!"
- Gui Mysta, mirrormancer
The mirrormages have constructed portable machines which use the froth of Saphad, the Current of Knowledge to disrupt magical attacks, and then infuse the bubbles with the protective water of Arav, the Bright Current. Erise's appointed guardians carry these machines, ready to repel any extraplanar attacks.
The poll will run for one week. Thanks to everyone who participated, I hope you enjoyed the contest and even learned a little about top-down design and putting strong flavor into your cards.
I'll try to provide detailed comments on Asrama's cards some time soon, but I wanted to get some more feedback on Parallaxon quickly. Asrama also mentioned to me that it might do well to be legendary, why do you guys think that is? Sure I could alter the flavor and make it legendary, but I didn't think it was necessary just from a flavor standpoint, especially in regards to Lord of Extinction and all the Spirit Avatar hybrid guys from Shadowmoor/Eventide. There are no particular mechanical reasons to make it a legend that I could see, since it doesn't affect itself, and in fact it's pretty easy from a bookkeeping standpoint to have two or more out since they should all be the same size. The "can't be copied" thing is to avoid it becoming an infinitely powerful token, I figured such a line could be supported with a little rules tweaking.
GM and Asrama again? What's wrong (or right) with you guys!? Anyway, great cards overall. I voted for GM carried on the strenght of his planeswalker and his place of learning (and in the flavor of Parallaxon (which, I'll agree with GM doesn't need to be legendary expect for flavor purposes)) but I have to say that Asrama's Protective Array is one of the best designed cards I've seen in this board. Infinitely useful, but balanced and yet, elegantly packed in a line of text.
I really do predict this to be our worst rare in set award winner. I'd be happier opening a jar of eyeballs, so I think anything worse is highly unlikely. This card wont just have zero constructed potential, but not be significantly better than a mass of ghouls in a draft.
Maokun, it's interesting to see how you've liked the card JqlGirl called the weakpoints of my submission, it's nice to see it speaks to soneone, though I'll admit the flavor tie to the rest of the cards is weak.
JqlGirl, I wonder why you're so worried about the donate ability. How many Illusions of Grandeur are out there, considering even that is a card not even restricted in the formats it's in? I think Trix has conditioned people to be afraid of Donate effects without good reason.
All those cards you've just mentioned sound like really cool deck ideas to me, but I do see your point. I feel like I could have done Protective Array a better service if I had added some flavour text. It started with an idea I had way back for one of the GDS challenges, and I've been refining it since, and it looked like a good fit for the challenge, and I felt that it could feel at home in the set, but I probably needed to bring it home with some creative writing.
Anyways, since GM said he'll do mine, I figure I should give some comments for his cards:
Erise, Mirror Maiden - Aside from some wording issues on the second ability, it's all comes down to a very solid pakage. I feel that it relies to much on what's on the board, a timely Wrath of God (or whatever will be left after M10) will render her all but useless for several rounds. I also think the free Twincasting your own spells could be a tad dangerous.
Rousing Swell - It's greatly innovative, again with some wording issues, but I think it has very limited uses. Then again, you could go crazy with Figure of Destiny...
Shockjaw Barracuda - I can see it in my head... a bunch of fishies doing the wave... While a red fish seems a bit weird, the mechanics are definitely in color. One issue I have is that, as you said, in real live Magic, that ability will not see print, because with a lot of creatures with it on the battlefield, it will soon be impossible to figure out which token is what. Wizards toyed with these ideas with Mirror-Sigil Sergeant and Spawnwrithe, but they never went as far as make it a block mechanic for a reason.
Parallaxon - It is going to be big on your plane, that's for sure. There are multiple rules issues, the big one is that "can't be copied" doesn't work. Spells cast can be copied, much like the ability of your planeswalker, creature can have token that are copies of them, or you can xerox the card itself, but I doubt any rules text can prevent that... I understand that you wanted to make sure there will never be a token copy of this creature, since that will blow up the game, but I think you're best solution is, as I mention on PM, to change the text to "Parallaxon's power is equal to the total power of each other token creature"and make it legendary. This way, only a combination of Mirror Gallery and Soul Foundry could produce a token copy without it being destroyed by a state based effect. I also feel, from a flavour point, that a creature obviously so mighty and powerful on the plane should be some kind of legendary monster.
Fizz Generator - Man do I hate the name. I think the card is a bit bland mechanically. It could only be rare to avoid too many situations in limited where your creatures are permanently untouchable, but as a rare, I don't think I'd be too excited to open it. All it will ever do for me is stall time when I should (in a creature based deck) be beating anyways. This is, as JqlGirl said, the weakpoint of your submission.
Avyr Famas also includes an anagram of Asrama Fyv, does that mean something? The planeswalker was actually my least favorite among your cards. A five color planeswalker needs to be something special, but this guy is a set-defined niche combo card, as far as I can see. Furthermore, the balance on his abilities is strange, since you can use his ultimate right away, or just cast him as a creature tutor that might stick around. Donating things only serves to pad his loyalty life, since it isn't necessary to use the ultimate, except to combo with himself. And while trading things is sometimes ok, giving them away is not likely to excite Timmies and Johnnies out there very much.
Except in maybe a Merfolk deck, Drifter's Halls is not terribly exciting. It's functional, but, as JqlGirl said, it's Springleaf Drum on a land. I think you could have done something more innovative here. Kaleidoscopic Dazzler is fun, often better than Silvergill Douser, especially early in a multicolored environment (Did you like the Merfolk in Lorwyn?). Adaptive seems a little like the Scarecrow cycle in Shadowmoor, and might work well in a set with hybrid creatures for easy powerup and artifact creatures for a little tension. What about a */* Adapative guy that had p/t equal to his colors, but was colorless himself? Sovereign of the Sky sounds cool, but I do want to see at least red in the activated ability, although the ability seems like it will most often just be roundabout double strike. For me, some kind of elemental might have clicked better flavorfully, I would think a dragon would just eat stuff in the sky instead of slapping it out.
Although Protective Array is flavorfully nebulous and not terribly related to your shard, it is a pretty well designed card, awesome against cheap aggro guys with power greater than their cost, but good enough in limited when you might be desperate to hold off a larger guy for a few turns.
First of all, thanks! In-depth critique is one of the best parts of the CCL, and will let us both reflect on our card designing skills for the future. Erise: I feel like the Twincast aspect is balanced since you have to pay twice the cost of Twincast to put her out. Speaking of which, I stole the wording from Twincast, what's the problem there? The ultimate is no more board-dependent than something like Garruk or Liliana. Rousing Swell: Figure of Destiny is a good call, for some reason the best thing I could think of to use was Flamewave Invoker or Arcanis the Omnipotent. Any ideas on how to word it better? I mostly wanted it to allow pseudo-haste for tap abilities like on Bonded Fetch, and to cheat out expensive activated abilities. Shockjaw Barracuda: Yeah, those guys were my inspiration for the mechanic, and I tried to put it on a guy that already has appropriately sized tokens. The other idea was to include the haste and destroying the tokens as part of the ability, but I felt that limited what you could do in other colors. Parallaxon: Of course I'm not sure on the wording, but I figured that if, say, Spitting Image says "that's a copy of target creature," the rules could figure out not allowing that to happen. Incidentally, is there anyway to get infinitely large creatures in a loop in real Magic? Fizz Generator: Yeah it's a little weird, but what's wrong with the name? We've got Bubble Matrix, I wanted to avoid being too close to that.
Thanks GM! The Lorwyn Merfolk were my least favorite tribe .I often find than my very best and innovative designs are for archetypes and colors that I just dislike. It is a mystery to me.
Now to respond to the respond:
The second ability should read: "The next time you play an instant or sorcery spell this turn, copy it. You may choose new targets for that copy."
I'm not sure why I'm worried about the Twincasting, I think it has to do with setting up combos more easily using an extra copy, without the need of having the spell in hand or the mana open. The Sanity Grinding deck pretty much relies on getting twincast under Shelldock Isle, and using it to finish the game without having to have five blue mana open.
And since you took the time to answer my critiques, I shall repay the favor:
Avyr Famas - Actually, it's only an anagram of my first and last name, while Asrama represents the first syllables of my first, middle and last name. Now you have all the tools you need to try and figure out my real name... If only you knew Hebrew.
I wanted the ultimate to be able to cast the first turn to make it a weird inverted Coalition Victory if your deck can support it (or your opponent really likes to steal). I thought the first ability can either combo with the ultimate or fuel the creature tutor, so you give something for the opponent for a creature the next turn. Besides, I think Johnnies will like the craziness of giving things to the opponent for the win (see JqlGirl's last post for ideas). Timmies and Spikes will not, I know. Drifter's Halls is actually the only card from that is a part of my set. I found it a very simple way to make a five color land that could go in common and have some cool interaction with Q, as well as some other cards that can untap. I figured the simplicity and elegence was worth the fact that it's very near to Springleaf Drum in design. Kaleidoscopic Dazzler - I'm glad people seem to like it. Adaptive might make it as a new keyword for my set. Sovereign of the Sky - It was very hard to come up with a big, impressive creature for a plane like mine. At one point I was going to post a 5/5 common. It dawned to me that there is a party popper for every party, an outsider. I figured a lone, unreachable dragon that can attack twice a turn fits the bill. An elemental as a powerhouse creature is an idea that has been done. Many, many times. Protective Array - I am kicking myself for not coming up with flavour text. And I have a good one, too. Oh well.
I'll provide our bump for the day. I'd like to see at least 20 total votes, I know there are lots of CCC forum regulars who haven't voted yet!
Asrama and I would both love to hear any comments about cards or what swayed you to vote one way or another, even just a quick sentence or two!
Nice stuff, the planeswalkers were probably my less favourite duo, Asrama's needs a deck built around him and GM's so does, probably the fact that GM's specifically needs a token creature to build counters up makes it harder to play but its numbers look fine, Asrama´s planeswalker is too about itself, I don't know if I'm crazy, but I think lots of synergy between abilities of planeswalkers doesn't look very fine at last. The study places are both very cool, but GM needs a lot of tweaking off from being broken, sacrifice costs are my first worry. Both the keyword guys are very cool, but GM's only suffering the existance of 3/1 haste tokens, adaptive is very nice and I can see it played. on the beaast, Asrama´s is far more exciting, a huge flying guy who will rule the skies alone and attacks a couple of times. parallaxon could be potentially evil, but came up worked around a bit weirdly. protective array is probably my favourite of the bunch, I can see it as a very strong sideboard option against weenie or token heavy aggro. Fizz generator is a littlee bit weird, but I really like the way the two abilities are tied to another.
All in all, I liked Asrama´s card better in most of the cases. GM, a couple of your cards look like you needed a bit more time to work them around, althought they're really intresting.
I would like to say, in case there are people out there that simply can't decide, that you are still welcome to post your comments. Maybe after some detailed critique an opinion will form, and even if not, I know I will love the benefit of hearing you thoughts, and I'm sure GM will too.
Well, this was a very difficult contest for me to decide on myself. Basically why I spent so long to choose and vote. It was made even more difficult by the fact that this has been tied almost the entire time and my vote would likely decide the contest.
So, after looking at the cards for a long time, I've decided I like Asrama's better. The only card of GM's I really like is Rousing Swell, and the others I don't care about as much, on the other hand, none of Asrama's cards stick out as much as Rousing Swell, but I enjoyed his cards more overall.
And so... Asrama wins! Congratulations on a great month, and congrats to Gerrard's Mom on a job well done getting to the finals for the I don't know how many-ith time.
You mean I won? That has to be the most surprising thing that has ever happened to me in the forums.
I really want to thank KoolKoal for hosting a great CCL, and GM for being such a great opponent, I am still finding it hard to believe I won. You do tend to make me bring out the best designs. May we face off again soon!
"And I would have had it too, if it weren't for those meddling kids!"
A come from behind win by one vote to claim the title and the second of our three finals in the last couple weeks, exciting stuff! It must be time for me to cast away my vain pretensions and go meditate on a mountain to find astounding new breakthroughs in card design
Asrama is a great presence on the CCC forum and has risen to a lot of diverse challenges recently. The CCL title is a great recognition of that, congrats!
(If anybody sends messages to request trophies, mention that my April CCL one says DCC by mistake too ;))