Breaking Bestow

Hey friends! Turns out I’m still not ready to give you that article about black spells that I promised, but it will come in time! I have a couple interesting things to show though, with a slightly different spin than usual. The first one starts with this design that might make you scream “broken!”.

1397572682Nyxborn Elephant Guide. Isn’t it cute? It’s actually a very good looking card, but it’s just too powerful. To begin with, the lower it gets is a 3/3 for 3, with the small disadvantage to be an enchant.

But with bestow for 3, this pachyderm is just busted. Imagine: pay 3, give +3/+3 to a creature for good, that’s already amazing. Then if the creature dies, you get a 3/3 for free? That’s not reasonable.

And with bestow, the biggest risk you take it to get your creature removed in answer, and it will still net you a 3/3. So what made me think of this design?

ImageThis guy! Elephant Guide, as subtly hinted at in my own design’s name, was the inspiration for it. If you are familiar with the Cube format, you might know this card. It is pretty great. You still basically get both +3/+3 and a 3/3 for the low-low cost of 2 and a green.

It is, when you think of it, very close to his Nyxborn cousin. Now what is the difference and how much does it matter? Apart from nitpicking with “the token in Elephant Guide won’t be an enchant”, the only functional difference is the fizzle rule exception for bestow.

In case you didn’t know yet, if you make the target of a bestow ability illegal by the time your bestow card resolves, by killing or bouncing the creature you were bestowing upon for example, the bestow card will still resolve as a creature. You probably know that it’s not true for another regular enchant. Kill the target of an Elephant Guide in response to casting it, it will get countered and nothing happens. Kill the target of Nyxborn Elephant Guide, you will get a 3/3 for 3! Good times.

Now that you know the difference, either you will understand me or you will believe me, it is very important! Of course, you want a guarantied 3/3 over nothing. That’s called inevitability, and I like it. But also if that was the case the card would be way too powerful. Anyways, it was still fun to make it 🙂 Judging by Nylea’s Emissary, I could see Nyxborn Elephant Guide cost 4 to cast and 5 to bestow, and it would still be a bit powerful that way.

mm232_primordials

Remember those guys? Well I’m finishing that cycle too this week! So how may I finish a cycle that is already made of 5 cards? By making a gold card of course!

1397607687Pentacle Primordial. First let it be said, it’s scary. Second it costs 7 and is an Avatar, just like the other primordials.

Then comes the ability. Primordials all have an ability that starts with “for each opponent”. Well our demonic primordial will allow you to control each of your opponents for a turn! Isn’t that exciting?

SPOILER ALERT: The upcoming edition Journey Into Nyx contains a card with the same effect! It’s called Worst Fears, and I think we can agree it’s a well deserved name.

Now I’ll let you know that Sylvan Primordial has been banned in commander. Commander being a casual format mostly, the ban isn’t fully official as far as I know, but one could imagine Pentacle Primordial being hit by the ban hammer for similar reason. What reason again? Well people in commander tend to take a Sylvan Primordial, “blink” it – make it leave the battle field and come back again, with for example Cloudshift – and destroy everybody’s permanents, making the whole table scream in rage.

Now something amusing happened while I was writing about closing the primordial cycle. I realized I could also make an artifact! So without further ado, let me introduce the 7th primordial:

1397610389Steelborn Primordial. This one was a little tricky. Artifact doesn’t have the same kind of strong identity that colors in magic do. Can you tell me of an effect that’s typically colorless? What about an everygreen ability? Defender? It would be a little boring to make a big primordial that cannot attack.

So I figured our artifact primordial would rely entirely on being big. For each opponent, he will give you a 3/3 golem, which happens to be one of the things artifacts like to do. It may sound a bit underwhelming, but you are getting a minimum of 7/9 for 7, so no need to be too demanding!

This was fun. I like digging into the reasons behind creations, keeping in mind a bigger picture than the design of a single card helps to keep it solid. It can even make it easier, as magic as a whole is coherent and flows naturally like for this last primordial. Do you think it misses a little something to make it spicier? Tell me if you find out what!

Either way, have a good one and see you next time!

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