Monday, August 27, 2012

It's the Magic: Well-Adjusted Scientist

I make a lot of cards, and I try not to publish too many of them because I find other people's custom cards boring or stupid. Anyway, while I wait for more feedback on my other string of It's the Magic articles, I'm putting up some of the more conceptual and fun cards I've made.

Man, despite the fact that it is undeniably a generic sitcom, How I Met Your Mother does have some high points. Anyway, I like Uiel as the one that survives, a creature that dodges the "X all creatures" effects. He strangely dies to Divine Reckoning which targets a specific group of creatures. I'll be honest though; I'm not sure if he's unaffected by Hour of Reckoning, which affects "all nontoken creatures," Aboshan, which affects "all creatures without flying," Akroma's Vengeance, which affects all creatures, but also affects artifacts and enchantments, Awakening, which is like Akroma's Vengeance, but specifically says "all creatures" before mentioning lands, or Apocalypse, which affects all permanents, which include creatures. I'm guessing "no," "yes," "yes," "yes," and "yes."

Aether Wake is blue bounce, but with a version of the “reverse” mechanic from the Urza sets. It’s probably a bit too broad and combo-able, now that I think about it. Even if it was just limited to creatures, it’s able to drop a (cheap) creature onto the battlefield while stopping one an opponent controls. It seems a bit powerful at three (which seems to be where bounce spells top out), but it’s a very costly Unsummon if you don’t have a three-mana creature to play. It’s certainly no Repulse.
I'm not sure of the source.

A while back, I was interested in an online contest to rework some old cards from the Legends set. I chose Sivitri Scarzam because she’s a strange card (original here), but a cool one.
The original was an underpowered 6/4 uncommon for seven mana. Comparable creatures do more than swing a larger-than-average body. I wanted to make her a bit cheaper and give her some abilities. I kicked around a lot of dragon-based abilities, but I eventually decided that the Flying and Intimidate would make her a distinct threat, give her immunity to most dragons she might be fighting, and keep her simple.

Six was a quick fix for her cost. Six is expensive, but part of her identity is being expensive. I shopped around for the cost and found that for six mana, black and blue, 6/4 with some evasion was slightly over the curve.

Plasma Elemental is outright unblockable, but still only swings for four (I get the feeling that its single point of toughness is a tradeoff for that much hard-to-block power). Thorntooth Witch is 3/4 with the ability to hit 6/1 or to simply kill a small-medium dude whenever you cast the right spell. Skaab Goliath only gets by with its massive body and trample because it costs you dudes in your graveyard.

Instead of bringing her back up to seven mana, I opted to just lower her power down to four. I wanted five, because she is legendary and multicolored, which warrants her having a few moves over something like Cloud Djinn. On the other hand, that might push her up to a level with Mahamoti Djinn. I’d rather have a “meh” uncommon, than just powerful french vanilla rare.

Art is NéNé Thomas’ original work for the card.

Somewhere between Inside Out and Diminish is Induce Change. I know that if a card is dead in your hand, either it doesn't belong in your deck at all or it doesn't belong in your deck because it belongs in your sideboard, but I am tired of dead Inside Outs and Twisted Images in my hand. Replacing the cantrip with an alternate shrink effect makes it a more versatile (if more complicated) card.

Granted, Twisted Image's cantrip and status as an uncommon make me think that maybe it's better than common. I'm probably missing some of the utility of the original cards

Someone mentioned a black spell that kills an enemy’s dude, then returns it from the graveyard to play under your control, mixing Swamp-powered peanut butter with mono-black chocolate. I made up a cycle with that theme and this was my favorite result. It’s just a fat, slow spell that takes away all the things on an enemy’s creature and puts it on one of your own.

Thinking of taking away the “creature you control” bit, so it has multiplayer flexibility.

Not sure on the source for this one, but I am working on it.

Rite of Replication is a rare that costs four and creates a single copy (or costs 9 and makes 5 copies). Mimic the Form creates an additional creature if the creature you're copying has a specific quality (being a token already). Certainly, most token creatures are barely worth four mana for a pair (Gather the Townsfolk, Midnight Haunting), but while Mimic the Form should probably be rare, I think it's a good support card for a token deck.

Art is by Skottie Young, available here.

Most mass removal (like Wrath of God) kill everything and are pretty good ways of taking out untargetable creatures. Before Hexproof became a thing, Shroud was pretty common. Shroud was a double-edged ability which meant that while an enemy couldn't target one of your cards, neither could you. In fact, one of the tricky aspects of creatures with shroud was making sure they didn't end up fighting another creature (because you couldn't really help them out during combat). Ray of Salvation supports friendly shroud creatures because it can't target them, and thus doesn't destroy them. Nowadays though, it's limited removal that won't take out enemy Hexproof creatures. A product of a different time, I still love it.

Illustration by Dave Willis. Used without permission from here.

Seriously, check out Shortpacked. It's awesome.

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