How was Undergrowth 'a nightmare'? The way you write about it (and Bartizan Bats) makes me think you don't understand the design goals behind it/them. Just because there's a faction that cares about creature cards in your graveyard, that doesn't mean every creature intended to play into that strategy has to have the word "sacrifice" or "discard" written on it. It's pretty obvious that they didn't primarily design the mechanic around self-sacrifice and self-mill mechanics, because too many of those effects (or too 'big' effects at the lower rarities like Satyr Wayfinder and Grisly Salvage) would have made the strategy stronger and possibly too strong. I haven't played GRN Limited myself, but what I have gathered from streams etc. is that the intended Limited strategy for Undergrowth is to play a lot of creatures and then make lots of 1:1 trades in combat which, despite their initial symmetry, turn out to be favorable for your deck because all the creatures you traded off make your Undergrowth cards (which are mostly designed to be mid-lategame plays) stronger.
Maybe they didn't put a note next to Bartizan Bats in the design file that said 'this has to have 1 toughness, no matter what', but it is pretty clear that they designed/included quite a lot of creatures in and that lend themselves to trades and/or (chump)block fodder: Kraul Harpooner, Ironshell Beetle, Generous Stray, Child of Night, Hired Poisoner, Spinal Centipede, Wary Okapi. And than there's creatures like Kraul Swarm and Erstwhile Trooper that get creature cards into your graveyard in another way, but are, because of their bodies/and or abilities, still combat-oriented. The combat focus is there to make the game more interactive in the sense that you can't just always sac off your creatures regardless of what your opponent does.
Another thing I think you're missing is 'mechanical bloat' (I'm not sure if Wizards calls it that, I just made it up, but let's call it that for now). You're right that in many ways, 'boring Limited fillers' could be made to be more interesting. Similarly, if you're just looking at individual cards, adding a simple ability to a french vanilla doesn't suddenly make it overcomplex. But if literally every card in your set has some minor (even trinket) ability, it becomes another issue. Yeah, experienced players will be able to deal with it regardless. But Limited is a format where lots of new players show up. And in order to keep their attention (and to spare the 'intermediate' players a bit) you can't put minor and/or situational mechanics on every card with a medium or sub-par P/T-mana cost-rate. It leads to a difficult-to-get-into game where there are far too many things to consider at any given time. There need to be some cards that just care about the most basic rules of the game - for creatures, that would be attacking and blocking. Basically, you have to include a good number of french vanillas.
"But then just make french vanillas at a decent powerlevel!", you say. Yeah, that's an easy criticism. But what constitutes a 'decent powerlevel'? Designing set upon set where literally every common french vanilla exactly hits the current powerlevel sweet spot (across all rarities) is already hard if you're only considering the set the card itself is put in, or - if you're thinking ahead a bit - the Standard environment it will enter into. Figuring out the 'perfect balance', where every common french vanilla has 'perfect stats' for its cost would probably either take up too much time or reduce variety between sets, especially when the other cards in the set are constantly changing, mechanics are being tweaked with etc. So sometimes you just have to settle for the safe bets. That's where Bartizan Bats comes in. Could it have an ability that provides a minor upside? Sure. Could it have 1 toughness more? Sure. It probably wouldn't break Limited. But there are other factors than just playability - for example, accessability - that have to be considered.
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Jan 16, 2019Dim-Minded Bully 3RPosted in: Custom Card Contests and Games
Creature - Orc Warrior
When ~ enters the battlefield, destroy target creature if it has reminder text with 30 or more words on it.
"No word salad! We eat innards!"
Temporary Regression G
Target creature loses all abilities until end of turn. If it's a creature you control, it also gets +3/+3 until end of turn.
Sometimes, intellect has to take the back seat.
Jan 16, 2019And here I was thinking they'd just reuse the GRN basics.Posted in: The Rumor Mill
These are nice. I like the clear form language in the foreground of the mountain, but plains and mountain could literally be reversed and you wouldn't be able to tell the different (after some lighting adjustments). The foregrounds of the island and forest are a bit dark and take up a bit too much space imo. The swamp could actually be one of my favourite Ravnica basics.
Jan 15, 2019I'm not huge on these AWs.Posted in: The Rumor Mill
I was especially looking forward to the alternate versions of the Azorius and Simic leaders, but both are very "eh".
Zegana's "angry" art fits her trample-giving ability I guess, but also makes her look like some generic warrior. The real problem here probably isn't the art though - the execution is fine - but the dissonance between the ability and the card's name. In Magic, I associate the term "Utopia" with flavor themes as peace and defensive orientation (low power/low aggression) as well as ramp. New Zegana has none of that, and the alternate art only exacerbates that separation. "Utopian Speaker" simply doesn't fit this version of her at all. Yes, her original card grew big too, but the carddraw was the more powerful part of her effect and it felt very appropriate for a figure representing a guild of scientists. This version feels like "Zegana, Fearless Adventurer".
I never quite liked the original version of Isperia, Supreme Judge since she looks so abnormally huge in that picture. The new version has a better color palette and I like the composition/background more, but the character itself just looks ... "off model", somehow. I also frankly just don't like Isperia's newer look with the blue fur, purple hair and padded armor/collar. Why did that even become a thing? Sphinx of New Prahv follows the "New Isperia" visual pattern, although I actually like the art on that card. Anyway, Isperia the Inscrutable still remains her best depiction, imo.
Teysa looks like a completely different person. Ruric Thar and Rakdos are fine, but I prefer the original version of both.
Jan 15, 2019Many-Colored Flame 3RPosted in: Custom Card Contests and Games
Converge - Many-Colored Flame deals X damage to any target, where X is the number of colors of mana spent to cast Many-Colored Flame.
Acid Breath GB
Target creature gets +1/+2 and gains deathtouch until end of turn. Whenever that creature deals combat damage to an equipped or enchanted creature this turn, destroy all equipments and enchantments attached the creature dealt damage this way at the beginning of the next end step.
Cloud Kill 3BG
Non-Fungus and non-Saproling creatures get -2/-2 until end of turn. Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt by non-Fungus and non-Saproling creatures this turn.
Beyond the Frontier
Never too Late
Jan 15, 2019Star of Dementia + Just the WindPosted in: Custom Card Contests and Games
Untethered Reality 1U
Return target creature to its owner's hand.
Instill U (You may cast this card for its instill cost if one or more cards were put into an opponent's graveyard from their hand or library this turn.)
"It's all just in your head. Or is it?" -Erfogh, Master Lethemancer
Jan 13, 2019Carnarium Blast 4RPosted in: Custom Card Contests and Games
You may pay R and exile two creature cards from your graveyard rather than pay Carnarium Blast's mana cost.
Carnarium Blast deals 2 damage to target creature or player. If a creature dealt damage this way would die this turn, exile it instead.
Jan 13, 2019I think a good comparison/reference card here is Cloudblazer. That card is CMC5, draws you two cards and gains you 2 life. Your card doesn't generate raw card advantage, but costs 1 less and provides a second body of the same size as the original creature. At that point, I'd consider the cards to be about even - but yours also gains twice as much life. That's very powerful and not very "realistic" (i.e. Wizards probably wouldn't print it like this).Posted in: Custom Card Creation
Upping the mana cost by 1 and halving the lifegain (3GU, create 2/2 token and gain 2 life upon ETB) would be the easiest way to make this a somewhat "printable" card imo. Even then, it would still be very good, especially because both of the bodies have flying. If you really want the 4 life, I think they'd have to be conditional somehow, and that condition would have to be somewhat difficult to meet.
Jan 11, 2019Some thoughts:Posted in: The Rumor Mill
Justiciar’s Portal – Pretty cool design. Wait until they attack, blink your guy, retrigger some ETB effect, kill one of their attackers thanks to first strike
Sage’s Row Savant – An Omenspeaker with more power than toughness. Could see some play in Constructed?
Bloodmist Infiltrator – Another once-a-turn aristocrats type effect. Probably not good enough outside of Limited though.
Dagger Caster – Pestilent Spirits best friend in this set.
Flames of the Raze-Boar – Pretty much a one-sided wrath against weenie decks for midrange. A bit expensive, but instant speed is nice.
Goblin Gathering – How long has it been since we’ve seen an Accumulated Knowledge-type of effect? The rate on this doesn’t seem to be the worst. I don’t remember – did Hordeling Outburst see play? If it did, this may have a chance as well.
Open the Gates – A Lay of the Land with upside, similar to Attune with Aether. Don’t know if the ability to tutor for a tapped dual is good enough for this to warrant inclusion in any Standard deck.
Stony Strength – In the thread for Incubation Druid, I read a comment about Burst of Strength. This
is missing the instant speed, but it stillcombos very well (5 mana on turn 3, 7 on turn 4).
Applied Biomancy – Quite the powerful combat trick. Could lead to some Limited blowouts, maybe even applicable in Constructed?
Final Payment – Not quite a Doom Blade, but it offers a lot of different options for the additional payment. 5 life is a lot, but if you can consistently keep a saccable creature or enchantment around, this isn’t the worst.
Jan 11, 2019Tamiyo and Kaya look good. Kayas AW is a bit dark overall though, so it'll probably look terrible in foil. The rest of the AWs are just flat-out worse than the regular ones. That weird pose and perspective on Karn, that silly expression on Domri … blech.Posted in: The Rumor Mill
Jan 10, 2019Maybe Bolas's reason for bringing a lot of PWs to one place and trapping them there was taking all their individual sparks and merging them into a big and powerful one for himself. Similar to the principle elucidated in the flavor text of Electrodominance.Posted in: The Rumor Mill
I wonder what will happen to Ravnica and the guilds. Don't care that much about the PWs, to be honest.
Would "Funkenkrieg" have been better?Quote from Yandere Sliver »Krieg der Funken sounds terrible.
It just sounds "cooler" in English, but I'm pretty sure "War of the Spark" sounds just as weird to an english-speaking person that doesn't know about Magic as "Krieg der Funken" sounds to a german player used to playing with english cards.
Jan 10, 2019This + Eternal Witness = Endless Nature's SpiralsPosted in: The Rumor Mill
Return up to two target permanent cards from your graveyard to your hand.
"When you get right down to it, the difference between death and life is just a membrane-enclosed environment maintained by a metabolic process."
- Gulistan, Simic biomancer
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