You have traveled the planes, finding some that fit you well and others that challenged you.
You have trained yourself, gaining full control of your planeswalker powers.
You have assembled allies, creating a path that leads to your goals.
Now your plans have been put into motion, but they will not be fulfilled so easily. Others have gathered on your chosen plan, with purposes counter to your own. Each of them will bring their most powerful spells to bear in the pursuit of their own destiny. What shape will this clash of titans take?
Players: Ninja Caterpie
Design a horizontal cycle of five flashy rare cards similar to the Ultimatum cycle from Alara in that each one will feature a different planeswalker in the art, and flavorfully should be something that walker would be able to cast. Your spell must be at least your color identity, but may draw from other colors as well. The other four spells will feature other planeswalkers that appear in the same block as your planeswalker. Look through the Signup Thread or Round 3, linked below, and find at least two other planeswalkers created for this contest to cameo on your cards. You may also choose up to two existing planeswalkers, who would appear with new versions in your block.
Submissions are due by 9PM Pacific Time, Wednesday, September 26th
Critiques will be due by 9PM Pacific Time, Friday, September 28th
Critique all of the other 3 players and provide a Top 3. The two highest scorers will advance.
The Card Creation League is a monthly contest in which players compete over seven rounds. Each month has an overall theme and/or story, determined by that month's host.
Each round, the host will assign a card creation task to the players. This task may vary between teams or players.
The first three rounds are open to everyone who joined in the sign-up thread, which will be posted near the end of the previous month. After these rounds, the Top 8 players will move on to three elimination rounds to determine a winner.
Rounds usually last three to four days for submissions and about two days for critiques, but the host has final say in making the schedule.
For the first three rounds, players are divided into teams. Four teams is standard, but there may be more or less depending on the number of players. Each team will review another team's cards during the critique period of that round.
Each player must submit a Top 3 ranking for the team he or she critiques at the end of each round. Each 1st place is worth 3 points, 2nd place 2 points, and 3rd place 1 point.
Additionally, each player can receive 2 bonus points per round. One point is awarded for posting a Top 3, and one point for providing critiques for that team's cards.
Suggested areas to critique include creativity, balance, printability, and relation to the overall theme or that player's previous cards.
Players who do not post a card or a Top 3 will be put on "probation." Top 3 violations for a round can be removed by posting or PMing the host with your Top 3 before the end of the next round. Any player that would receive a second violation is disqualified from further competition that month.
At the end of the first three rounds, the Top 8 players will be selected by points (usually the top 2 from each team). In the case of ties, there may be more than 8 players advancing. The suggested scoring method is for each player to critique all remaining players in the same Top 3 style as the first three rounds, with the top half advancing each round, so Top 8, then Top 4, then Finals.
The final round is determined by public poll.
Prior to Top 8, players have a chance of getting a total of 100 points toward their score each Scoring Round. Scores for each Round are determined by the following equation:
Total points of Player A in round N = 100 * X/Y, where:
X = Total number of Scoring Points (Judge Points + Additional Points from Top 3 & Critiques)
Y = Total number of Possible Points (3 * Number of Judges + Additional Points)
3 points are given for a First Place Top 3 finish, 2 points for a Second Place, and 1 point for a Third Place. 1 additional point is awarded if a Top 3 is submitted. 1 additional point is awarded if Critiques are given for all entries to be judged.
This way the grading is more streamlined in the fact that all rounds prior to Top 8 are graded equally, and there is no handicap for any team that has fewer judges.
Each player accumulates points from each Scoring Round until the end of Round 3.
I wonder if I should go innovate or just do the same thing. Hm.
Reveal the top seven cards of your library. You may cast any revealed instant or sorcery cards without paying their mana costs. Put the rest of the cards revealed this way on the bottom of your library in any order.
I wanted the Manifesto to feel powerful without trampling on the original designs. This is slightly similar to the ultimate, but this can "luck out" and cast tons of instants and sorcery spells. It also combos with scry and Sensei's Divining Top.
Exile two target creatures, then put an X/X blue and green Mutant creature token onto the battlefield. It enters the battlefield as a copy of one of those cards with a number of additional +1/+1 counters on it equal to the power of the other card.
Bit of a color pie bleed but the effect feel so G/U. I mean, you're taking two creatures and combining them mid-battle.
Each opponent discards his or her hand. Draw cards equal to the number of cards discarded. Then, each opponent who discarded two or less cards loses 7 minus 2 life for each card discarded.
I wanted something like this but I hate when people bash on these cards for being useless late game since the opponent will have zero cards in hand. So I added something as an additional punisher like Only Blood Ends Your Nightmares to punish players who kept a low hand size. This is especially designed to punish people who have no cards in hand, as 7 is a hefty life total price.
Search your library for an Equipment card and put it onto the battlefield attached to target creature. Until end of turn, creatures you control have all effects granted by Equipment attached to creatures you control.
Mostly inspired by the Komel design. I like how this is an overrun and combos with good equipment.
My planeswalker, Sangrell Par, was a Vedalken metallurgeon on the subplane of Esper, but after being crushed by a Nayan godbeast, he came to value the power of nature. He is a specialist in splicing and transmogrification of creatures.
+1: Destroy target creature. Its controller puts a 3/3 green Ape creature token onto the battlefield.
-2: Put a 2/4 green Spider creature token with reach onto the battlefield.
-7: You get an emblem with "Creatures you control are 6/6 and have flying and trample."
My cycle represents the traumatic and exciting events that lead to the featured planeswalkers receiving their planeswalker spark. Each provides some of the key events of the spark and then, if you have recreated the conditions of the spark just right, your planeswalker emerges
WB - featuring Rithaniel's Blind Eternities-bound dreamer, Nihoh Sann. Nihoh escaped to the Blind Eternities to escape an angry mob.
Nihoh's Spark 4WW
Exile two target creatures.
If you exiled a creature you control this way and if an opponent controls four or more creatures, search your library for a Nihoh planeswalker card, put that card onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.
BG - Ravnica's very own Vraska. Vraska's spark was ignited after a severe beating from several Azorius jailors in a riot.
Vraska's Spark 3BB
Put five 1/1 black Rogue creature tokens with haste and intimidate onto the battlefield.
If you control ten or more creatures and you have less life than an opponent, search your library for a Vraska planeswalker card, put that card onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.
GU - Of course, Sangrell himself. As mentioned above, a colossal Nayan godbeast crushed Sangrell's Esper home.
Sangrell's Spark 3GG
Put a 5/5 green Beast creature token onto the battlefield.
If you control an artifact creature and a noncreature artifact, search your library for a Sangrell planeswalker card, put that card onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.
UR - Featuring Koopa's Izzet planeswalker Triu Aprenizzet. Triu gained his spark through an intensely researched Izzet experiment.
Triu's Spark 3UUU
Draw four cards.
If you cast another instant or sorcery this turn and have eight or more cards in your hand, search your library for a Triu planeswalker card, put that card onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.
RW - Ajani (the Vengeant variety). Ajani's spark was lit by the trauma of losing his brother to an unknown assassin.
Ajani's Spark 1RR
Ajani's Spark deals damage to target creature equal to the damage dealt by that creature this turn.
If a creature you control died this turn and you lost 5 or more life this turn, search your library for an Ajani planeswalker card, put that card onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.
My cycle is a cycle of XCD enemy-coloured "Order"s.
Choose one - Creatures you control get +X/+X; or creatures you don't control get -X/-X.
Choose one - Search your library for X target instant or sorcery spells, then shuffle your library and put them on top of it in any order; or put X target instant or sorcery cards from your graveyard on top of your library in any order.
Choose one - Destroy target nonland permanent with converted mana cost X; or return target nonland permanent with converted mana cost X from a graveyard to the battlefield under your control. "Will you die by me, or at the hand of those you wronged?"
Choose one - Vengeant's Order deals X damage to target creature or player; or you gain X life.
Choose one - Search your library for a creature card with converted mana cost X or less and put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library; or exile target creature card from your graveyard and put at token that's a copy of it onto the battlefield.
Creatures can't attack you or planeswalkers you control unless their controller pays X, where X is equal to that creature's power, for each creature he or she controls that's attacking you or planeswalkers you control. "How can you hope to fight me? You can't even walk under your own power."
When Maela's Glare enters the battlefield, tap and put an ice counter on up to three target creatures.
Whenever a creature you do not control with an ice counter is dealt damage, its controller sacrifices it. "Don't struggle. The chill has spread to your core. You're already dead."
At the beginning of each player's upkeep, any player may pay 1 life and discard a card. If no player does, you may draw up to two cards and lose the same amount of life. "Breaking my pacts made me a master of deals. Choose: sacrifice your mind or empower mine."
Whenever you sacrifice a permanent, Venge's Rage deals damage to target creature or player equal to the sacrificed permanent's converted mana cost. "You don't like my machines? Here, I'll get rid of them... Why are you screaming? This is what you wanted."
Whenever you cast a creature spell, you may search your library for a creature card that shares a name or total converted mana cost with that spell, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library. "My elves are ever present, they press closer than you can imagine, and each has an arrow nocked and locked on your heart."
Way to crib my idea
I don't have a particular problem with it unless the other contestants think it is unfair for you to only make four cards. If they are cool with it, I think you guys can start critiques.
Ok! Time for the last set of critiques in this competition (one way or another). It's been a great experience, thanks to Gerrard's Mom for officiating
Your cycle makes us of a series of X spells that represent powerful effects the planeswalkers might use. I think this is a solid concept and there hasn't really been a high-level X spell cycle except the Zeniths. They are also all modal spells, which I think constrains you a bit in terms of presenting two interesting options but does give the cycle its own unique identity.
Specific cards: Nihoh's Order - The black ability here is perfectly on-flavour and very strong. The comaprison to Black Sun's Zenith is pretty fair; it swaps one-sidedness for being temporary. However I suspect that the shrink isn't all that temporary, as most times it will kill my opponent's creatures outright. Compare what I have to pay for a Bonfire of the Damned - this is substantially cheaper than the regular version and only 1 mana more than the Miracle version, although not hitting players. That being said, it does have another effect! The white half here reads well but large pump like this is not really white. White tops out at a Glorious Charge or at most a Divine Sacrament - see how Collective Blessing is costed, also. Otherwise I like a scaleable Vitalizing Wind fine. The overall card does feel like something Nihoh would do.
Kerick's Order - Quick wording nitpick: the use of "target" in the first mode is incorrect; you don't target cards in your library. Anyhow, we have two modes here with similar effects - stacking my next X draws as instants and/or sorceries. I like both effects and they both feel powerful, but there's some tension as unlike most X spells I don't necessarily just want to max it out. A solid design. Also, found it funny that this was the only character we didn't overlap in The card fits your planeswalker's feel and theme well.
Vraska's Order - The two effects here are a sort of generalised Disembowel, and a reanimation effect. The nonland permanent is correct in colour for B/G and the effect is fine, if not exciting. Crime and Punishment is a close relative. The reanimation effect is also fine (assuming we let green reanimate enchantments, which I think isn't too much of a stretch). The symmetry between the effects is pleasing and I like the card on the whole. The "nonland" thing ties into Vraska as a character mechanically and the flavour does do some good work.
Vengeant's Order reads well, but suffers from some problems on power level. Neither half is unfair, but this is somewhat of a poor choice of modes as the damage half is so much better than the lifegain half. Also, Death Grasp is a close cousin of this card with Entwine 0. I think Dawnglow Infusion means you could have had gain twice X life here to make it occasionally tempting to use the "bad" option but as-is I think you just have a fairly vanilla Blaze variant. The effects are absolutely up Ajani's street.
Sangrell's Order - First off, thanks for the use of my PW (although I know you didn't exactly have many choices in GU :P). The first mode is nice and direct here, adding a mana to Green Sun's Zenith in order to remove the colour restriction. I think that's probably about the right amount of extra work and this mode reads well. Unfortunately, the second mode is very off. I assume that perhaps an error was made on your part as the 2nd mode doesn't use X. It also is a reanimation spell in all but name, which feels off in GU. Finally, it's effectively a 2-mana Zombify as submitted, which is seriously overpowered. The mechanics do fit Sangrell very well.
Overall: 1 excellent design, 1 OK design, and 3 cards stricken with power level / colour pie issues. Nothing overwhelmingingly original but a nice, tight cycle that is interesting to read.
You made an interesting choice - to have your cycle be a 4-card cycle, centred in blue. We haven't seen a cycle like this since Torment, which scores some originality points. I'd be interested to see how a set with a cycle like this addresses colour balance issues, but I don't feel like it's impossible. The cards themselves are straightforward 7-mana sorceries.
So, on to the cards. Emus's Manifesto compares very favourably to RTR's Epic Experiment - the cards are very similar as a whole, but your version is missing a couple of important safety valves. First of all, although your spell can't cost less than 7 like Experiment can, it does remove the CMC limiter, which means that hitting a Time Stretch or Cruel Ultimatum (or two!) isn't unreasonable. I think that the effect is too similar to Experiment for me and the changes remove elegance and push the power a little far. That said, the flavour does tie well to your planeswalker.
Thanks for taking on my PW Sangrell's Fusion is also a riff on a recent card, The Mimeoplasm. The problem is that whilst Mimeoplasm exiles creature cards in graveyards, your card exiles creatures. The fact you get a token copy of one of them makes that half of the card function like a clunky Mind Control - they lose a guy, you gain the same guy. The second half effective kills another one of their creatures and powers yours up - which is all the way black. I agree that the flavour is a good match, but the problem is allowing me to target my opponent's creatures. The card does too much for 7 mana and is solidly out of colour pie.
Tamiyo is a good character to reuse, but I am not sure why she is bleeding into black. She is all-U as portrayed and there are other UB choices like Tezzeret, but I'm willing to assume that she's had some sort of an evil turn in the hypothetical storyline. Anyhow, what we have as a card is another recent card (or at least recent reprint) in Wit's End. I like the attempt at fixing the problem that these cards tend to have by punishing small hand sizes. Your actual execution of that is a little clunky, with it being quite hard to intuit how much damage the card will deal. Something like "Target opponent discards his or her hand, loses 7 life, then gains 1 life for each card discarded this way" might have been cleaner. Finally, there is nothing blue in this card (other than the mana symbol that is needed to make it fit your cycle).
Your final card takes a neat Equipment planeswalker and jazzes it up, which I enjoyed. The Stonehewer Giant part isn't a card yet (but probably will be eventually). It feels white and powerful. The second bit you liken to Overrun, which is fine as long as you are only attaching things like Bonesplitter but falls down once I am attaching things like Argentum Armor. Also, rules-wise, the game has no real way to interpret the rules text in the way you want it to. For example, would you expect to exile lots of permanents if you got an Armor this way, or just one? The answer is undefined and can't realistically be made to work. Finally, all this equipment text is nice but doesn't feel blue.
Overall: An interesting blue-centric cycle concept that ended up not being blue enough. Several power level, colour pie, and rules issues throughout.
You have leveraged your monocolour planeswalker into a cycle of monocolour enchantments, which I like as a concept. Let's move onto the exact designs.
Bhoya's Scorn is worded a little off; try something like Sphere of Safety for how to word this. The effect itself is an interesting Collective Restraint variant. I like how it doesn't over-punish swarm strategies, but still gives me a hard time figuring out which creatures are worth attacking with.
Maela's Glare borrows the original's ice counters (which will make it play well with the actual card) to an unusual end. The first iteration is a straightforward ETB tapping trigger, which isn't all that exciting on a 6-mana enchantment. The second effect borrows from Frozen Solid, which is an acceptable colour pie bleed in general. The effect basically just makes my opponent's creatures a little fragile. This is neat but it's not exciting and certainly not something I'd be thrilled to open in a booster.
Liliana's Greed lets you cast a sort of Night's Whisper every turn, so long as no one is willing to put in a card and a life to stop you. Two Phyrexian Arenas that can't kill you is a nice card for a 6-mana enchantment, but this triggers on every player's upkeep so it's more life 4 Arenas. I'm not sure that the drawback is entirely necessary as it is unlikely that anyone can pay it for long; I think I'd have liked the card a lot more if it just triggered on my upkeep and didn't have the escape clause. I do like the flavour a lot though.
Venge's Rage is a really interesting card. Like Furnace Celebration, it rewards me for sacrificing things. The reward is potentially huge, too - I am immediately thinking about Phyrexian Dreadnought here. Celebration had a mana cost associated with it, which I think is a good safety valve that makes for occasional "shields-down" tension. But the idea is solid and the flavour is good for your planeswalker.
Nissa's Pride also lacks a mana cost, and instead just gives me a basically infinite stream of creatures. In fact there is a simple storm/board filling strategy with Memnites and Shield Spheres that I am not sure is a good idea. The amount of shuffling required is also a bit daunting. Also, the "same name" clause is effectively pointless as all cards with the same name will have the same CMC. The flavour is a bit hazy to me.
Overall: Cards that vary between unexciting and overpowered, but with a couple of strong submissions between those limits.
2. KoolKoal 1. Ninja Caterpie
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DCI L3 Judge; Regional Coordinator, British Isles & South Africa
Ninja Caterpie - Yeah, these are just awesome. The mistake on Sangrell's card is pretty terrible, but I think you've beaten the pattern into our heads enough that we know what you meant. If you fix the few templating mistakes, the only reason this isn't a perfect cycle is that the cards vary so widely in power level.
Savia - Cards for a planeswalker's spark igniting is a pretty cool idea. I don't like your execution however. Frankly, I only think the white spell feels similar the way the planeswalker's spark ignited, and it doesn't by much. Vraska's seems especially wrong, since she was getting beat in the story and you ignite her spark if you have a massive army to protect her. Plus the black card's ability is a bit of a color bleed. Black doesn't really get token producing instants, those are saved for the creature colors of green and white. Ajani's card is lame removal effect for a rare.
Prophylaxis - Manifesto is easily the best of your cycle. I'm worried about its power level, but I can't definitively say it is too good. Next you give blue/green one of the best removal spells ever printed at 7 mana... OK. Visions: You realize that 7 mana discard effects will never actually be constructed viable? All this card accomplishes is taking wits end (an already popular card among casual players) and making it utterly too punishing and back breaking in casual and multiplayer, plus adding an over-complicated math effect. Then we have the artifact card. I think this card is the most interesting of your designs, but I think it would create a bit too much board complexity for the turn.
I would've preferred the cycle, as I said before, if you had a monoblue one in it (with Jace or something). Manifesto is pretty nice; it seems like it would play pretty fun as a nice Timmy rare. I don't think there are any problems with the power. Fusion is a bit of burn on the colour pie, even at 7 mana. The thing is that it's not just creature removal in the only two colours that never get it, it gives card advantage like nobody's business, even if you use it on your guy and theirs. It's an almighty 3-for-1 if they control two creatures, which isn't hard. Visions... seems pretty weak on the life. Yeah, 7 might hurt, but at 7 mana it's pretty expensive. That said, if they tried to go all out this would probably kill them. Blessings is a very cool card, but it kinda lacks in blue. It's mostly a mono-white card and the blue is actually just doing nothing. It's not even an ability that's blue, so 'random stretch multicolor' doesn't even fit flavourfully.
I don't like this cycle as a cycle. Most of the abilities don't fit very flavourfully with what you're attempting to do. I think it would've been better if they were like traps; normally you can use it as a planeswalker tutor, but if something bad happens, you can ignite their spark and suddenly they just poof into existence. Nihoh's Spark is fine is removal but pathetic if you try to use it to find Nihoh. Not only does that turn from card advantage to parity, it means you're down on the board and not trying to improve. If they have four creatures, chances are we're going to kill two of them with the spell. I, uh, also don't see how this has to do with Nihoh's ascension. I don't get why Vraska's counts how many guys you have to planeswalker. Should be like if you lost life or something. I don't get why Sangrell's makes the beast; it's inconsistent with the rest of the cycle which is what happens with the spark. Triu's Spark is probably the best of the lot; it's a mostly-playable spell by itself (Opportunity) which then gets better if you work for it. Ajani's Spark... is also inconsistent. What event is the main part of the instant - the damage - trying to represent? Otherwise I guess it's fair.
PS. probably would've been better to call it "Planeswalker's Ascension" rather than Spark because that sounds more like an event, which an instant or sorcery should represent.
All of them see overcosted. Scorn is a pretty simple Ghostly Prison that is really god at stopping fat creatures. Probably could cost 4 or 5 mana instead though. Glare seems a bit wrong in blue. I know Ice Cage and the flavour, but it doesn't seem right. Also, after smashing the first three creatures, it does nothing without a specific card; seems a bit wrong to me. Greed is fine. Rage is probably the most parasitic of the lot as sacrifice is often pretty rare and at 6 mana it could do more. Pride is nice though; I like it. Seems like it has the coolest potential.