So, last weekend, Jay Treat over at Goblin Artisans put up this Weekend Art Challenge. It was based around an image by keepwalking07. In case you can't/won't click over to see the image yourself, it's a massive silhouetted mecha standing amidst a ruined landscape.
Jay's challenge was to create a common or uncommon colored artifact based on that image. Bonus points were offered for a card whose color and status as an artifact were made more relevant by its rules text.
My first thought was to create a piece of equipment because it seems every submission I make to Goblin Artisans has the desperate, sweaty need to be recognized as a unique snowflake. Despite the fact that it came from TMI, the first set from the Deep-Seated Personal Issues block, I was relatively happy with the result:
Compared to something like Sword of Vengance, which grants those bonuses and first strike for the same amount of generic mana, Eyes of the Hunter is very much an uncommon.
Of course, I took it a step further. What if it created a creature it could equip? I was thinking of something like the Kaldra trio of equipment from the original Mirrodin block. The idea is that the Eyes are the creature and they allow you to turn inanimate artifacts into dangerous creatures.
Except that this little guy is now rare. Spamming 1RG to turn regular artifacts into 6/6 monsters is a finisher. The text is entirely too long. While the ability is cool, it's long and complicated (what happens if you activate it twice and then transfer it from one of those animated creatures to another?).
The connection is also pretty contrived. It likes creatures with Jund colors (Black, Red, and Green), but then it just makes them anyway so it's about as subtle as the almighty Thor killing an ordinary mouse with a lightning bolt.
This one is definitely rare too. It creates 4/4 creatures on demand (the change is permanent). It's the simplest design and after looking over everything else I designed in this vein, it's the one I'm happiest with.
The problem of doing this with equipment is that you increase the amount of things the card is doing. It has to care about artifacts. It has to care about colors. It has to equip. It has to have an equip ability. Trying to hybridize those things was my next step.
It's red and green now for the sake of simplicity. It doesn't equip on its own, but it can swing hard in a well-constructed deck. Sadly, it doesn't care much for artifacts on its own. Ideally, it would be in a set with other cards that cared about artifacts. Something like Scars of Mirrodin's Metalcraft mechanic (which gave a card a bonus if you controlled three or more artifacts) would work well with it.
It's still not that great. It doesn't equip on its own, which is a bit fancy (and useless) for a common card.
This version likes artifacts. It eats them, actually. Which I admit is a funny kind of "like," but it still works. I didn't mention it earlier, but it still likes to attach itself to your enemies' creatures.
Finally, I (smartly and belatedly) abandoned that tack. and went for another one.
It taps for G so it only sets you back one mana. If you have other colored artifacts, you can tap them for that color. Your colorless artifacts do not produce any mana from this. Its narrow focus justifies its status as an uncommon.
In studying Monument to Steel's Power, I spent some time studying how Magic cards in the past have handled mana. However, I'm out of time for today and next week, I'm going to talk about how artifacts and lands cards have historically added colored mana to mana pools (with and without restrictions) and how they self-reference their own colors.