We Have a Winner

Hey everybody! After about a hundred votes, we finally have a winner to our 2014 design contest, and it is Binding Ritual with 63% of the votes! I’ll be honest I’m glad it’s over; it was a lot of work! Ritual was also one of my favorite, though for reasons previously mentioned – mostly templating – it would have looked even better in the Return to Ravnica block, as an Orzhov equivalent to Detention Sphere.

Binding RitualSome people called it unimaginative, which I think isn’t quite fair for a card that is a deliberate twist on a popular design. I believe some have called it too powerful, but others also said it could have costed only a white and a black, as it only targets creatures.

Like I said last week, the last version works better in multiplayer, since you might give the life you stole from an opponent back to another one. That’s just a detail though.

All in all I’m glad this design was enjoyed by many.

Redditor IAMACasualRedditor is the lucky winner of the contest and gets a steam edition of the game Terraria – an awesome 2D clone of Minecraft, with more weapons and monsters! I’m stocked to have discovered the reddit community of /r/custommagic, which is full of amazing creators and great feedback. I will spend a lot more time there in the near future.

One of the recurring topics on this subreddit is card mashups. The winner of the previous round will post a random card, and all participant will also figure out their own card at random, and mix both of those in one new mashup design. Let me give you an example.

Click here to see a random magic card.Mashup

I had to pick two cards at random to play on my own for this post, and I picked Patron Wizard and Reprisal.

TPatron Warleaderhe result is Patron Warleader! I was on the fence about keeping the triple white mana cost, but consider this: alongside a turn 2 knight, you can start killing attacking creatures with power 2 as soon as turn 3!

In fact, if you played a 2 drop vigilance knight – which isn’t that rare – the turn before, it can attack nicely, without worrying about being blocked!

Either way, I don’t imagine the card is constructed playable, but isn’t it a blast to create designs that way? I think it is great. I also had some fun with the flavor text, and obviously the name.

If you can’t get enough of my designs, don’t hesitate to check out my reddit profile, as I’m posting extra designs there every now and then.

Either way, it’s time for me to wish you a great week, so see you next time!

2014 Design Contest Finals

Here we are, the finals of the contest we started two weeks ago. Binding Ritual and Lord of Lambholt won the previous round with respectively over 84% and 58%. I guess the pairings on the first was fairly unlucky since it was a crashing victory. More popular designs might have lost in the previous round. That being said it’s not the most surprising Forges of Insanity lost, it was a pretty simple dual land design – so maybe not the most exciting. It’s time to elect the best design of last year now, so let’s have a last look at them in their latest updated version:

LambholtLord of Lambholt
If you remember the original post, this was my attempt at creating a vampire lord in the vein of Mayor of Avabruck.
Obviously the design isn’t print ready, but I think it could have led to some great human / vampire fun in Innistrad. Kinda makes you want to try and build a tribal deck, doesn’t he?

Binding RitualBinding Ritual

Quite troublesome to adapt to the new Banisher Priest template, since I could’t say “opponent loses life and you gain life until…”. You have to explain what happens then. At least my solution enables you to steal life to a player and give it back to another in a multiplayer game!

This design was very popular, which had to be expected, as similar cards also are, and this one is a tasty twist on Detention Sphere, including a significant drawback – it can only target creatures and not permanents.

Come on and vote now! I know which one’s my favorite, but I won’t tell! Instead I’m going to slip in a design that I’ve posted on a my new mild obsession: the subreddit /r/custommagic. They have lots of great designers and regular contests on there, you should really have a look!

Soul of RavnicaSoul of Ravnica – I wish the name wasn’t taken.
I got inspired by a contest to redesign all the souls from M15 and make more. I couldn’t stay on topic though, as I felt an intense urge to merge every single of the 10 guilds in an Avatar creature.

And they are all here! I’m particularly happy I could merge Battalion, Detain and Populate, and that I could add Instant and Sorcery effects. Making sense for those wasn’t easy, especially on a creature. You might need to zoom to see…

Obviously it’s wacky, but I love it. Check out this Bullzzai expansion symbol too!

That’s it for this week! I’m starting to feel the need for some holidays very soon, so we will see if that impacts the pace of my publications. No matter what I will come back next week for the final result of 2014 design contest!

Quick shoutout to Anthony Milano who plays at my local shop Endgame of Oakland, and went all the way to Top 8 of a 400 person Pro Tour Qualifier this weekend! Seems he was playing some variant of Junk midrange, since I’m seeing Tarmogoyf, Liliana of the Veil, Dark Confidant, and Lingering Souls. Congrats for the great achievement!

Over and out, have a great week!

Happy New Year

Hey all. I’ll be honest, when I started writing this article I was mostly thinking about the next stage of the design contest. In that sense it’s a follow up of last week’s article, hence the title. I gathered quite a few votes last week, mostly from reddit, and here are the semi-finalists: Forges of Insanity (61%), Damion Colebane (57%), Binding Ritual (51%), Lord of Lambholt (67%).
It’s surprising to see Lord getting the most votes, as he was also criticized the most by other people, for understandable reason – one of which being an anthem in black.

Either way, this week we are doing the semi-finals, and for that I will use the fantastic looking versions from redditor Amane_VIII, made using Magic Set Editor. Here we go:

Forges of Insanity   vs   Binding Ritual

Damion ColebanevsLord of Lambholt

Don’t they look amazing? I just realized that there is a mistake on Binding Ritual though, it’s supposed to drain your opponent’s life for 2 when it comes into play, and drain you back when it leaves. Please vote though; I’m excited to know who will win, and you might still get to win something!

Old Ways EmissaryI don’t want to make this post too long, but I thought I could slip some new design in it, as it’s been a couple weeks since last time I did.

Old Ways Emissary is an attempt to make an artifact hoser for formats like Modern or even Legacy. I didn’t want to make it straight up kill those decks, but that’s something sidedeck cards tend to do in those formats – see Hurkyl’s Recall or Stony Silence.

I love the idea of shutting down triggered abilities; while somewhat weird, it attacks from a new angle.

You might have noticed that I used Magic Set Editor here and I love it… I’m not sure I will sustain this in the future though, as it takes longer to use and I’m usually not around my windows desktop when I make cards. Time will tell!

I’m glad the previous round of design contest had so many votes, and I’m looking forward to this week’s results and next week’s finals. Hope you are too! Have a great week.

Happy Birthday Bullzzai

Hi all. This week we are finally celebrating the one year anniversary of the blog! It’s been great fun writing those 43 posts so far. 43 is slightly under one a week, – that would make 52 posts – but since a few months ago I have gotten pretty good at posting every Tuesday or Wednesday. I’m not completely satisfied with where my writing skills are at just yet, but I’m pleased with what I learned about running a blog so far. I now try and come up with a coherent theme every week, keep it simple, and make sure I link the content as much as I can on various social platforms.

I have lots of various celebrations events for us this week, so let’s get started. First announcement this week, I have acquired http://www.bullzzai.com! I’m still ironing out the kinks coming with the transition, but you can already change your bookmarks. Pretty exciting, isn’t it?

1407199128589122Second surprise is our 1 year commemorative card, Bullzzai, Mindbound.

It can obviously do some crazy things, and will be fueled by your imagination! Past the obvious Mass Calcify, Red Elemental Blast and Nature’s Ruin combos, it can do some neat tricks with Thragtusk and let’s say… Benthic Djinn. Just about anything, really; just think about it!

I thought of giving control over your opponent’s spells as well, but we don’t want to play God that bad… Or do we?
howto6-06Next! A quick preview of the work in progress on my app MTG20 LifeCounter.

It is still in progress and we have a whole bunch more to achieve before release, but so far it looks like it’s going to be great!

I’m taking a close look at how we will make the app easier and more enjoyable to use, and I have the help of a designer to make it more beautiful as well.

Obviously I’ll keep the “player profile” feature, and try and bring the draft organizer up to snuff.

fa3be45ab1fee88c46253617175d4b3d_largeNow number four:
Bullzzai is proud to announce the sponsor of our local game shop, Endgame, in Oakland CA. It’s a great shop, with a great magic community until recently lead by the superhero judge Sean Catanese. Endgame just successfully founded a kickstarter to open their cafe, and Bullzzai will be displayed on they wall of honor as a backer!

You can see the concept art for the wall in the picture here, it’s going to be quite epic. Our logo will also be on there, along with the new website url.


Click to see the rest

And now, our last announcement… I’m starting a contest for the best design of the year! There are 8 cards in competition and you can see the first half here on the side.

I have posted all of them on reddit and Magic Salvation forums and I invite you all to vote on here as well!

We will elect the best of those 8 designs and I will also pick the most accurate voter and offer him a few steam games 🙂 I have a dozen votes so far and am sharing with friends now.

That about wraps it up for our first year of Bullzzai designs 🙂 I have a lot of plans for the future, and I hope they will encounter greater success as time goes by. I am obviously thinking about more cards, cycles, sets, different games and apps I’m thinking about and working on as well, streaming, podcasts, updating the blog’s layout… You name it; there’s a lot of possibilities out there.

In real life as well, I’m still working on my cube, looking at commander meetups in my area, – making steady progress on a squirrel deck – and some shop could use my help as a rule advisor or judge,- I’m still training my judging skills. Lastly, I think it’s been a while I haven’t gone to a competitive event, PTQ or even Grand Prix.

Lots of things, you see. I hope you keep enjoying them. Don’t hesitate to give me vote and feedback, and see you next year!