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  • posted a message on Bartizan Bats Revised
    Tears - In a sense I think you're right; the goal of "improving" card should probably be improving a card that was designed to play a certain role in the limited environment. But particular roles often have a lot of leeway with regards to what counts. For example, Bartizan Batlord is going to be identical to Bartizan Bats in most limited situations (the only difference is when you have more than one out), but it is clearly a "cooler" card.

    That said, Bartizan Piledriver can also fill the role of "mediocre in limited, not standard playable" flying (C) card. The fact it makes a casual Bat deck feasible, however, is pretty amazing. Same with Swarm of Bats or the like.

    Legend, is your position that because I'm not "experienced"... like the kind of experience you'd get being employed by WOTC... that my card design is bad? Well, I can assure you I can learn from WOTC's mistakes as well, or better, than they can.

    Step 1:
    See card: Griselbrand

    Step 2:
    End-Raze Forerunners

    Note, of course, the complex nonsense name of the latter denotes WOTC designed it to be a bad card. It's clearly designed to be a "flashy" variant of Craterhoof Behemoth, but unplayable. I mean, it has all the trappings that might you think otherwise - it's got more P/T and it's got keywords for days. But then you notice that it's a (R), not a (M). How generous, you might think, that WOTC is printing a "better' Craterhoof at a lower rarity. But then your inner MaRo starts talking... why is this a 7/7 for 8 in the color that gets 8/8s for significantly less than 8?

    Also, Legend, note that your last post is ad hominem, a logical fallacy.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Salvation's SCCT/OCaaT - Single Card Ideas By YOU!
    I see what you're doing here... and Flash makes it a way to dodge removal as well... but it feels clunky. This feels like a (R)-level complexity card with an (U) level power level that you rarely want to see in limited, and will only see in narrow constructed decks. Also, I'm not sure if this is the right set of colors for this effect via exile.

    Life from the Dead3B
    Sorcery (R)
    Dredge 3.
    Target opponent chooses a creature card in your graveyard and returns it to the battlefield under your control.
    Unlucky at love and necromancy, Glursh believed that if he kept trying he'd find the one.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Bartizan Bats Revised
    I think it's widely accepted that Undergrowth was the worst mechanic from the previous set. Any ability word is going to be wordy, but Undergrowth was even more wordy than normal. More importantly, as a mechanic it played clunky, with Kraul Harpooner and Vigorspore Wurm having effects that both counted creatures in your yard and didn't; in the latter case I can't tell you how often I would play this for just the vigilance. That's turn 6 w/o any creatures in my graveyard. I was primarily a WR and RU drafter, mind you, but I played WG and BG enough that it was clear this was a lot of text that scarcely did anything. Common cards, in particular, ought to be relatively simple to help smooth draft (IE, less to read out of a pack), and Overgrowth failed this criteria in a quite embarrassing way.

    Is it possible to "foster a graveyard theme" without a sacrifice/discard effect? Sure. Print cheap creatures. Bartizan Bats costs 4 mana, so the designer who said "It's to help undergrowth" has to be imagining a situation where the player plays a creature every turn and then it immediately dies, killing a creature or roughly the same value, so that the Undergrowth bonus will "outweigh" these losses. If this is your position, please explain to me what creatures Bartizan Bats was designed to trade with nearly profitably at (C). I can assure you "twice mentored Healer's Hawk" was not in the design notes.

    For the record, I'm not interested in balancing Undergrowth. I don't think it's a good mechanic. I'd have brought back Dredge, but Salvage might have been a fair compromise if MaRo turned down my slightly overcosted often printed effects with Dredge 1-3, and my 1 or 2 (R) or (M) level Life from the Loam-esque engines. (For example, Zombify but your opponent chooses for you for 2BB with Dredge 2.) That said, if I was in charge of balancing it, you can be sure you'd see a few of those cards in standard. You know, besides Kraul Harpooner in the sideboard (by the way, look at how poorly this wording works on Arena. Every time I play it, no matter if I want to fight, I need to press cancel, even if my opponent doesn't have a creature? Surely WOTC has someone checking to see how easy these cards will code/play...).

    Re; Golgari Undergrowth enablers - notice how the cards you talk about being "designed" to die DO THINGS. (Well... Wary Okapi doesn't... and it's an equally crappy creature. But as it's not a true vanilla 3/2 for 2G, like so many other colors have regretfully gotten, it wasn't my go-to example of failure. But I do believe it's a failure. Also, this is clearly a Selesnya Convoke enabler... and yes, the set needed more vigilance guys like this!) Bartizan Bats doesn't do anything; it doesn't affect the board before or after dying. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised if the notes grouped this towards the Dimir side of "control", with it getting in for being a mediocre flyer that can close out games and maybe trade with the UUBB uncommon.

    Re: Kraul Swarm - I think this is interesting, but I'm not sure I'd print it as such. At least I'd shave off the discard cost. That said, if your position is that the bats was designed to discard to Erstwhile Trooper... then that's not a reason for it's current stats. Consider the following card:
    Hunter Bats 3B
    Creature - Bat (C)
    When Hunter Bats enters the battlefield, destroy target token creature an opponent controls.

    That is an interesting card, and you'd be more willing to run this in limited with a discard outlet; as you might judge that w/o a token on the opponent's field it's not worth the 4 mana. But in constructed, if large token creatures (say 4/4 boars) start to be a thing, then Hunter Bats becomes a somewhat viable Golgari sideboard card!

    Also, suppose Bartizan Bats was designed to parallel Muse Drake; perhaps having some "lose N life, draw a card" clause on it. Aesthetic parallel + "utility" card is a pretty good design, no? Also, to that end, Generous Stray clearly needed to be 1/3. You're robbing it of it's elf creature type and adding 1; so a 1/3 cantrip for 2G seems more fair. Tier 1 constructed playable? No. But maybe tribal cat commander playable.

    Re: Mechanical Bloat - This is exactly why I don't like Undergrowth. So much text, so little gameplay value. Scavenge is mediocre, but it's a keyword. I can easily print a half dozen (C) Scavenge creatures that are easy to read, simple to draft, and play differently!
    G 1/1 Scavenge - Reveal a Forest in your hand.
    B 1/1 Flying, Scavenge 2B
    1B 2/2 Scavenge - Pay 4 life.
    1G 2/2 Scavenge 1G
    2G 2/2 Trample, Scavenge - Sacrifice a Forest and Swamp.
    2B 2/2 Menace, Scavenge - Sacrifice a Forest and Swamp
    2GG 4/4 Scavenge 8
    3B 5/1 Scavenge 3B, Pay 5 life
    4G 4/4 Trample, Scavenge 4GG

    Killing Undergrowth for even something as mediocre as Scavenge stops mechanical bloat. That said, it's easy to design french vanillas that avoid this bloat; the question is whether you wish to cost them "competitively" or not. Bartizan Bats was designed to fail. If it was designed to NOT fail, it might have been a 3/2 flyer for 2B with a relevant creature type, or a 3/1 flying, menace for 2B. The "tradeoff" here is that we're making this a premium (C) creature, and thus have to adjust the set power accordingly - either by ramping the removal or reachers in other colors, by nerfing a different black common or lowering the limited powerlevel of several other black commons, or the like.

    WOTC seems to treat their vanilla creatures not as learning tools to help teach new players and help draft go smoothly, but as booby prizes, having long obsoleted Savannah Lions. Yet French Vanilla creatures are often still fan favorites - whether the relatively poor but limited bomb Serra Angel, the casual favorite Vampire Nighthawk, or the oldschool Black Knight, White Knight, and Silver Knight. Despite Dominaria's Knight-creep, I'd be super happy with a Sunhome Stalwart that cost WW. As is, Sunhome Stalwart doesn't seem tier 1, but I don't think I'd begrudge anyone for trying it out in their Boros, White Weenie, or Selesnya decks. Orzhov might even be cool, a Afterlife presents you with a steam of tokens to mentor profitably. I know these are (U), multi-keyword french vanillas. But the same utility-for-price calculus can be applied to (C) french vanillas. As I noted above, this is a card I think is both (C) and interesting:
    Fast Raptor Companion 1W
    Creature - Dinosaur (C)

    This is a removal spell disguised as a creature. That's actively fighting mechanic bloat.

    Finally - "Decent powerlevel" is a level that's in the running for seeing play somewhere. Given Brawl and Commander are options, all you need to do is print an effect you want with a theme you want attached for close to the price of the cost of a card that sees play w/o that theme. Plaguecrafter is a very influential card (arguably too good); but zombie commander decks still run Fleshbag Marauder over it. Tribal decks run all sorts of 2/2s for 2 with abilities; Mesa Unicorn could conceivably see play in a Unicorn tribal deck (someday), but while Bishop's Soldier might see play in a vampire deck, Child of Night isn't even in the running.

    Long story short, to call upon the Lord of the Rings: A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. I'm not going to settle for "safe bets" when my goal is to create a fun, inviting game that encourages new players, rather than shuns them for not opening the right cards. The Arena player who plays with Bartizan Bats does not enjoy herself nor does the people who play against her.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Bartizan Bats Revised
    Estimed Lord_Mektar brings up a good point - Tribal. Tribal is super fun. It'd be rather easy to take an existing sees-play-in-tribal card, add the bat type and flying, and cost it like 1 more. Consider
    Bartizan Piledriver 2B
    Creature - Zombie? Bat (C)
    Whenever Bartizan Piledriver attacks, it gets +2/+0 until end of turn for each other attacking Bat.

    If the limited role Bartizan Bats plays is Mediocre Flyer; this seems to fit the bill!

    But what about Rat Colony? That's casual fun it's own right!
    Bat Colony 2B
    Creature - Bat (C)
    Bat Colony gets +1/+0 for each other Rat you control.
    A deck can have any number of cards named Bat Colony.

    Now, I'm not saying either makes Bartizan Bats a good card - but there will be someone trying to make a bat tribal deck in casual with the first, and in standard with the second. That's interesting; let that person have that.

    But with tribal in mind, how about:
    Bartizan Batlord 2BB
    Creature - Bat (C)
    Other Bats you control get +1/+1.

    A common "boring" lord that is identical in most cases, except in multiples. Now are lords "too complex" for common? (Rat Colony suggests not, Overgrowth certainly suggests not).

    Imagine a cycle of (C)s like this - otherwise filler rarely used creature types... that are IXA-(U) style "boring" lords... for the low low cost of giving up on 5 french vanillas, you make anyone who cares about any of those 5 tribes VERY happy! Think about how much FUN the Batlord produces. And now thing about how little impact on limited and standard it has. From a design perspective, how is that not win-win! (Keep in mind Commander tribal runs some mediocre lords, so even if they decide to produce strictly better lords in some future block that supports the tribe, these (C)s would still likely see play!)

    The opportunity cost is low (little design time, little playtesting time, little constructed influence) but the benefit is through the roof. Anyone with a a thriving local gamestore probably knows a few people who would love any of these cards. Think your tribal players who tried to make Saprolings work in DOM.

    Quote from Manite »
    Bartizan Bats fulfills a number of useful roles as is. For starters, its 1 toughness makes it easy to kill, which in turn helps it fill the graveyard and feed Undergrowth. That 3 power hits really hard in the early game, especially on a flyer that can either swing and quite possibly trade or as a blocker that makes attacking foreboding for the opponent.

    Manite - Is your position that somewhere in the design file there is note next to Bartizan Bats that says "Note: 1 toughness is essential for this (C), as we wish cards X, Y, and Z to be able to trade with it."? That would, indeed, be interesting. I can certainly imagine notes like this for (M) and (R)s; but for (C)?

    Re: Overgrowth - I think it's safe to say Overgrowth was a nightmare. But if their goal was to boost Overgrowth, how about:

    Tormod's Bats 3B
    Creature - Bat (C)
    Sacrifice Tormod's Bats: Exile all cards from target player's graveyard.


    Helix Bats 3B
    Creature - Bat (C)
    1BB, Sacrifice Helix Bats: Each opponent loses 3 life and you gain 3 life.

    Or... gasp...
    Reasonable Bats 1B
    Creature - Bat (C)
    During your upkeep pay B or sacrifice Reasonable Bats.

    If you want creatures to die easily, you make them cheap enough to play and then die. Pilfering Imp is a great card, (U) for it's ability (It's an efficient turn 2 coercion variant) that no one is complaining about. Cards in this mold are overgrowth enablers. Bartizan Bats was chosen for other "reasons."
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Bartizan Bats Revised
    Thanks for your post. I think all of these are valid design concerns... but I don't think they are appropriate to explain and justify Bartizan Bats.

    First, given the number of 3/1 vanilla for 1W and 3/1 Flying French Vanilla for 3B in the last 2 years or so, I think we have sufficient evidence that "variety" is not an apt description of this card. Furthermore, variety can be achieved w/o resulting to bad cards; "different" cards will do the trick.

    Consider: http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Search/Default.aspx?action=advanced&cmc= =[2]&power=+=[3]&tough=+=[1]&color=+[W]&rarity=+[C]&format=+[%22Modern%22]
    All commons, many with 1-2 lines of text. No French Vanillas though. But when we look at (U), that changes:
    http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Search/Default.aspx?action=advanced&cmc= =[2]&power=+=[3]&tough=+=[1]&color=+[W]&rarity=+[u]&format=+[%22Modern%22]
    Accorder Paladin is the card I'd like to point to - This is a french vanilla creature w/ the same p/t; it is the new bar. It's certainly simple enough for (C), but (U) due to the limited balance of Battlecry. Easy to talk about.
    Yet, look at all of the keywords white has that they can give to a 3/1 for 1W w/o warping limited - Flash, Vigilance, Reach, First Strike (better be at (U) in a set with better than average removal or tremor effects), Hexproof from Black (bad design, but something different), Cycling, Lifelink, Afterlife 1 (arguably), etc. Prowling Caracal was not chosen because it was diverse or for simplicity or limited balance. At best it was chosen because it was a proven loser.

    I don't think we can sensibly talk about power creep when WOTC is printing 4/4s for 4 in non-green with no drawback. WOTC has decided that the rules don't apply to "pushed" cards, and that is where the powercreep usually occurs. Printing (C) that don't see play doesn't add to powercreep, but it does highlight it rather severely. Meanwhile if you print a 3/1 flash for 1W, that's different but not powercreep. Powercreep involves ignoring previous standards to adapt new standards "just because," rather than an effort to balance the game. Some of these overpowered mythics and rares are fair enough, and don't ruin the game. In any case, the changes I propose fall far short of Spawn of Mayhem. That I might use the cycling (C) over the Spawn in Living End is good niche design, not power creep.

    I'm pretty sure my proposals above serve more or less the same role in limited, with expanded niche use out of limited; the big difference is I tried to make my version of the Bats useful somewhere else. I can assure you no one of the GRN design team thought about that. And I think that sucks!

    Regarding complexity; GRN had overgrowth. On commons. A half dozen lines of text that rarely did anything (usually ETB effects). If WOTC is throwing in bad french vanillas to allow them more cards like Moodmark Painter, I'd rather they not.

    Regarding "learning tools," I don't really see the argument for why a bad (by constructed ratings) card is more of a learning tool than a "usually" bad card. Yes, Arena needed 0/4 for U for education purposes... and WOTC didn't have that card printed (how embarrassing)... but you can't say the same about a 3/1 flyer for 3B. It's so below the curve that the only point you'd be teaching is "flying is good," which you could teaching if it was a 3/2 for 3B, a 3/2 for 1BB, or a 3/1 for 1B with an additional life cost.

    Quite frankly, I hope someone designs the next core set with these "vanilla" and "french vanilla" learning tools in mind. Maybe even a 2/2 artifact creature for 2, well below the constructed curve but useful for gameplay instructions. These "very basic" learning tools belong in the core set, at (C), and should not change. Ideally they should also be tribally relevant. But I cannot believe a 3/1 flyer for 3B fits that instruction role. And last time I went through the Arean tutorial, they agree.

    Final thought: Designers have a lot of things on their plates when designing commons. But in practice, how many seconds do you think the designers took to design and playtest Bartizan Bats? The RIX design team accidentally gave us candid explanation of their design efforts with regards to Raptor Companion and co (They didn't even bother to make a cycle of reprint commons in each of the colors or tribes! Unbelievable!); and their contention was they needed a space filler and chosen an existing card to satisfy it. That leads to bad limited environments, bad constructed environments, and unsatisfying games of magic.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Bartizan Bats Revised
    I don't think that's fair. Most of my cards are just french vanilla commons.

    Belfry Sweep is no more complex than any other "refers to another card" card which, historically, have been (C); see Spirit of the Night.

    And 2.0 is a simple additional cost, not unlike that of Tormenting Voice.

    I don't expect this common to show up in any pro tour winning standard decks. But niche decks like Living End might take a second look at some of these designs, which is pretty much exactly what I set out to do.

    Re: Coercion variants - Never Happened and Drill Bit are variants of the same effect. I know Never Happened can hit Jumpstart cards. I just don't care as that option is not particularly interesting. If that was their goal... there were better ways of going at it. I can assure you that very, very few people won (or even bought a turn) off of Never Happened in limited. I think it's pretty clear that Never Happened is no Doomfall.

    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Guildmages
    First, "Guildwizards" doesn't do the trick; it's obvious what you're doing. Maybe give them a filler name here, and think about it?

    Second, they do not fill the same role. Guildmages, since Mirage, have been utility creatures with activated abilities. Ravnica Guildmage are 2-color 2/2s for 2 mana with 2 abilities with activation costs. The originals were designed to be obvious mana sinks (in a set w/ bouncelands no less), while later guildmages have been less obvious mana sinks (often with 1 cheap and 1 expensive ability... but yes, the cycle is not as strict as it could be).

    Your proposals are Izzet-style "Spell matter" triggered abilities that cost extra mana (this is really feel bad, by the way, as sometimes I can't pay the extra mana. Having one of these out actually slows down the game early game.

    Are Guildmages essential to a Ravnica set? Perhaps not. However, I should point out that despite the recent cycle being far less fun and impactful in limited than the original cycle (overcosted abilities w/ tap requirement limiting their mana sink potential), the design space is both fun and interesting.

    Your "guildwizards" require the same kind of design-work (IE, 2 different abilities), but because they depend upon the color of the spell you play AND you having extra mana to "kick" it. Because they're 2 color, but activate off of the color of the spell you play, then you're encouraged to build a deck with 2-color spells to activate both abilities (at an additional cost of 2 more mana each spell), but we both know that even in the best constructed situation this is going to lead to you drawing a monocolor spell that activates only 1 of the two triggers (for 1 extra mana of course)... and there's a good chance it's the one you're not wanting.

    I don't want to say that this isn't design space worth investigating... but I think it's clear that it is design space that yields feel bad moments in constructed and feel very bad moments in limited.

    That said, this latest crop of Guildmages feels kind of redundant and restrictive. If you're working on a new Ravnica block, might I suggest trying to create a new, more traditional, Guildmage that plays different than the exiting ones (IE, with different abilities). Design a guildmage that's fun, such that you can use it any time you want; rather than a Guildwizard that will do nothing as you draw a land late game.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Bartizan Bats Revised
    So I'm playing Arena and my opponent plays Bartizan Bats. Of course we all know the story here - he's new to the game of magic, has finite cards, and plays what he has access to. But there is a substantive problem here - Bartizan Bats is really bad; as in "There is no foreseeable reason you'd run this card in constructed."

    And this, I think, epitomizes the design failure of recent sets. For all the good or innovative choices they give us, WOTC continues to water down their game with practically unplayable cards. And people play them, and lose magic. And that can't be fun for them; it sure as heck isn't fun for me! I mean, it's one thing to guess that my opponent might be running goblins or elves because he might be trying to go tribal in standard, only to find out "nope, just running a budget version of mono red control." That's fine - it keeps me guessing, and allows me to play against cards that are good, but different than the norm. But Bartizan Bats doesn't do that.

    So here's the challenge I've given myself - create a Bartizan Bats that is sufficiently simple to be (C), plays much the same limited role, and has some niche constructed role.

    A few quick French Vanilla options not avaialable in GRN, but to illustrate what I'm talking about:
    Bartizan Bats + Cycling B (In limited you'd rarely cycle this, but in constructed this is a "1 mana cycler" creature, and thus fair for "junk" Living End reanimator decks that cast Living End off of Cascade.)
    Bartizan Bats + Zombie + Spectacle B, Sacrifice a creature. (A cheap sac outlet is worth thinking about. Tribal synergy is a bonus, you could easily see players trying to do with with [card]
    Stitcher's Supplier[/card]).
    Bartizan Bats + Zombie + Dredge 3. (If Stitcher's Supplier sees some standard play, you can be sure this as a mediocre dredge card might with the right discard outlet.)
    Bartizan Bats + This card costs 3 less to play if you control a legendary zombie creature. (Commander if nothing else).
    Bartizan Bats + Zombie + Transmute 1B, Pay 2 life. (Transmute alway.s sees play somewhere, even on commons).

    Now, obviously, GRN didn't have any of those mechanics to work with (Save, well, Dredge, as anything's better than Overgrowth, even watered down Dredge). So what could GRN designers do? How about something like this:

    Belfry Sweep 1B
    Creature - Zombie (C)
    When Belfry Sweep enters the battlefield, you may discard a card. If you do, you may search your library for a card named Bartizan Bats.

    (I'm sure no one would notice if Moodmark Painter was cut for this, and Drill Bit is just clearly a better design than Never Happened.) This is certainly odd design, but independently the two cards are bad limited filler, but together they're... less bad limited filler. In constructed, though we have a zombie discard outlet... I wouldn't be surprised to see the two make some commander decks just to drop a zombie worth reanimating.

    That said, let's try a variant of the bats itself:
    Bartizan Bats 2.0 1B
    Creature - Bats (C)
    As an additional cost to play ~, pay 4 life.

    Obviously, this now goes hand in hand with Font of Agonies, but plays the same mediocre flyer role as it did in the original set, with the one difference being it's another emergency blocker against boros early game, and really bad against boros late game.

    I guess what I'm saying is that Magic feels bad when you're playing against someone without the tools they need to play the game well. It's like drag racing someone driving a rusty mail truck - winning sucks, and making the loser feel bad sucks.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Guildmages
    A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But a shoe called a "rose" still stinks.

    Your proposal is interesting design space (it doesn't "stink"), but they're not guildmages. Should they replace them? That's a tough call; people expect guildmages because, in many sets, Guildmages were both fun and good. No guildmages in Ravnica is like no lords in a core set... possible, but disappointing.

    Would you be against both cycles in the same set?
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Missed afterlife opportunities
    Physical Repossession - Great design space. I think a lot of people hope the next set will feature all 10 mechanics; if so that's where this kind of effect should be.
    Similarly, a Wrath variant.

    Insured Entrepreneur - Good call. I think there should have been a weak "sacrifice" theme in the mardu colors for the set, and this archetype would be a good way of doing it for a few cards. I'd do 1 white and 1 black at (C) as part of a tight cycle.

    Spiritual Retinue - Interesting. No objections.

    Chapel Guardian - I think Hunted Witness shouldn't have been printed, and reprinting Doomed Traveler (and making afterlife always give white tokens) would be the way to go. Short of that, a functional reprint of Doomed Traveler as a 1/1 with Afterlife 1 would be great. That said, this is a fair alternative. I would give it defender, though, so it could be part of a "Wall of Wood" strict cycle of 1 drop 0/3 defenders for each color.

    Taxed Collectors - I see what you're going for, but this just feels like it'd slow down more games than anything else. I'd be a lot more interested in a vanilla 3/3 for 3W with afterflife 3, but I think we'd need more aura-based removal to balance the set with too many of these things.

    Soultether Thrull - While I see the homage, this really just lets you pay even number of mana for even spirits. I think the flavor of temporarily gaining afterlife doesn't work here, but functionally it'd need to be 2 different abiiities.

    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Pauper Fast Duals/Fetches?
    Interesting question. How about...

    Discovered Country
    Land - (C)
    As Discovered Country enters the battlefield, choose a basic land type. Discovered Country enters the battlefield tapped as a basic land of the chosen type.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Guildmages

    Innovation for innovation's sake is not necessarily a good thing. Fortunately there is plenty of design space to explore.
    1. Selesnya Guildmage
    2. Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
    3. Conclave Guildmage

    It seems the design space is clear:
    Name Guildmage :symwg::symwg:
    Creature - Elf Shaman (U)
    [small mana cost],T: Small Effect
    [large mana cost],T: Big Effect

    For example:

    Renewal Guildmage :symwg::symwg:
    Creature - Elf Shaman (U)
    :symwg:,T: Each player creates a 1/1 green saproling creature token.
    1:symwg::symwg:,T: Destroy target artifact or enchantment. Its controller creates a 3/3 green beast token.

    The design space here is pretty clear; it's full hybrid, so you don't need to run it in a 2 color deck to get both effects. It taps, so it's not an absolute mana sink (although I'd be for a non-tapper as well)

    Your "spells matter" design might be okay, but I don't think they occupy the same design space as guildmages.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Salvation's SCCT/OCaaT - Single Card Ideas By YOU!
    Wow, I'd hate to play against that. I don't think WOTC prints land destruction at 3 mana anymore, let alone repeated land destruction.

    Sparkler Fire 1RR
    Sorcery (C)
    Sparkler Fire deals 3 damage divided as you choose among one, two, or three targets.
    Spectacle R
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Practicing with Commons - Three Cards
    A typical set has about a hundred commons. From a design perspective, you want to print staple/core game elements - your cancel, duress, murder, naturalize, lightning bolt, etc, - which can usually be reprints, or simple "with block mechanic" variants. This is, let's say, 20% of the design (5 colors, ~4 each).

    One of the next steps is printing creatures - and boy, you need a lot of them. At (C), there is incentive for creatures to be vanilla and french vanilla. The good news is WOTC has lots of experience with these designs and can, if prompted, make a card like Vampire Nighthawk - a casual favorite "fringe" constructed playable card. We could realistically see a (C) 3/2 for 1R in green, and that could conceiveably see tribal goblin play. However, a 2/2 or 3/1 with a simple keyword is often a great choice. mesa unicorn-style cards have lead to some of the more interesting limited choices over the past few years, and while we'd like to say they're not the best 2 drop for any standard deck right now... it's possible a tribal or "highlander" incentive might help them make the cut.

    By sheer volume it's difficult to imagine a set having 100% constructed playable commons, but its worth noting that many of the better Masters sets easily reach 50%, as beyond format staples they print causal favorites, tribal staples, and commander staples.

    As for Imposing Sailback, I'm pretty sure it fills the role of "giant green common" pretty well. it doesn't have trample, but it snipes an attacker. That's a fair tradeoff that seems comparable. Of course, we could playtest RIX limited to see. Something the RIX team didn't bother to do by their own account.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Practicing with Commons - Three Cards
    Quote from Watchwolf »
    As for the Vine, nobody likes designing useless cards, but they're important in that they allow the more exciting cards to stand out. It's a tool for draft to push players toward picking some cards over others, which can speed up drafting rounds. I've played enough power cubes where every card is first-pickable to know that that leads to very long, painful, drawn-out decision-making. Bad cards make the choice a bit easier and double as determining the baseline power level of that draft environment.

    I think this mindset is a mistake. Many people enjoy trying to "break" weird or seemingly useless cards. Many people like tribal decks that are comprised of (U) or (R) tribal synergies and (C) creatures that wouldn't be good enough on their own. Many people enjoy Commander, a format where you can only run 1 card with each name.

    Even if you agree that some cards are primarily designed for limited, designing a "useless" card is tantamount to giving up. Designing such cards for (C) can be especially difficult, as (C) cards should be easy to read and relatively not complex, if only to help with draft and deck building. That said, I see no reason why you can't make a fair green (C) card that plays the role of "good enough limited big body" but also has some constructed application. Myr Enforcer played that role too well in Mirrodin standard, being a 4/4 for like 4 or 5 in limited most of the time, but being a 4/4 for like 1-2 in standard constructed. Keep in mind that's a vanilla (C) card.

    If cost reduction is not on the table, one can always add rewards for deck construction, or even Spirit of the Night-style ingredient potential.

    Finally, the "fills a limited role ONLY" cards you propose really are something to make at the end of a set; you can't tell on day 1 that you need a sorcery speed removal spell that costs 6 mana at common. (In fact, I'd argue, you can tell on day 1 that you don't *need* that.) But there was a time in the RIX card design where they said "We're looking for something like Colossal Dreadmaw"... at which point they should have done Imposing Sailback 4GG Flash, This spell cannot be countered. 6/6 just to say "It's different, but fulfills much the same role."
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
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