Seeing Red

Sticking to the dad jokes! I’ll see if I can do something different for the title next week ūüėČ Well no need to explain what exactly is going on this week, if you have seen our green and blue articles, you know what’s about to happen and we’re good to go!

Hymn to the FlameHymn to the Fire is a good old X mana burn spell. Usually this kind gets a “boo it’s not original” but let’s say I’m doing a development exercise.
Convoke was originally a Selesnya mechanic, and only printed on two red cards in M15. Hymn to the Fire actually compares poorly to Stoke the Flame, as it costs 2 extra mana.

But how about versatility? In the long run, imagine an aggressive red deck sitting back on 3-4 mana and 3-4 small creatures unable to get through. Thanks to Hymn to the Fire, those are worth 6-8 direct damage! If your Rabblemaster tokens stuck around somehow, this could be pretty good.

Blaze ElementalBlaze Elemental is my attempt at creating the mystical great red 2 drop. A creature that duplicates itself every time it hits. Seems pretty good, doesn’t it? Obviously there is the potential to kill it right away, block it, or let it spread once and kill plus block, etc.

On the other hand, say you let it go through once and can only block from there on, well there will be two of those, and one will always get through. But that’s not all: what if the player using this card can remove your blocker? What if they play two Elementals?
This is going to get out of hand pretty fast.

Blaze Elemental obviously has the potential to be busted, but I’d like to know how it compares to Goblin Rabblemaster and Pack Rat, strategically and mathematically.

Pretty exciting either way, isn’t it? I’m fairly happy with this red designs this week. The last one is really on the edge and might be broken, but if it’s not it seems to me like a fantastic answer to the ancient question: who will challenge Snapcaster Mage, Dark Confidant, Tarmogoyf and Stoneforge Mystic?

I hope you enjoyed those. There are two more articles left in this cycle, let’s see which color gets the spotlight next week!

Now I want to invite you to a special bonus feature called: “check out my draft deck”. Arguably I need to rework the title a bit, but I’m so happy with how it turned out, I couldn’t help myself. I really wanted to draft a 5 color deck and boy was I rewarded! Look at this beauty.

4 colors

Trail of Mystery is a powerhouse, me and my friend stole several games on its back.¬†Icy Blast is also amazing, Sage of the Inward Eye and Surrak Dragonclaw are obviously fantastic as well. Add some Trap Essence, tons of great morphs and spells… We didn’t even play our Siege Rhino!

We even won through starting with 80 cards due to a mtgo bug…

So much fun. Hope you are also having fun with the new expansion, and I will talk to you again soon. Until then, have a good one!

Feeling Blue

Welcome to our second installment in this new series of lame title puns. To be honest I almost postponed this article for I was feeling out of it and behind things of life, but I powered through though, so here we are for blue cards! I picked blue because I was feeling complacent with my previous green choice, and I think blue is harder for me to design. Red is probably up there as well.

I have recently started listening to Constructed Resources¬†from our friend¬†Marshall Sutcliffe, and he was lamenting¬†that blue wasn’t doing so great in standard since the release of Khans of Tarkir. I thought I would¬†try¬†to make some nice cards for Jeskai and possibly Sultai. I don’t feel Temur needs much of a push – to be honest Jeskai probably doesn’t either – and mostly I was thinking very blue, lean and efficient cards. Let’s see them!

Way MasterWay Master is my attempt at giving blue a good 1 drop creature.
Seeing the impact of Monastery Swiftspear helped me a bunch there. I certainly didn’t want to create another Delver of Secrets though, and this is where the challenge often lies: create something that isn’t too crazy, but you don’t want to hear people complain all the time that it isn’t as good as something else they¬†knew.

I think Way Master does a just ok job at that, and I’m having a hard time figuring out what I could add or upgrade on him without helping blue more than it needs with delver-type spell decks.

Trick the MindTrick the Mind was made in exact same spirit of doing what blue really likes to do, as a price even modern and legacy deck could be interested in, but yet trying to not provide them with another completely busted card. Call it having more choice.

Like¬†Thought Scour, I figured most straight forward blue decks would¬†want to play a better¬†1 cantrip instead, but depending on what the¬†deck wants to do Trick the Mind might be perfect.¬†Thinking more about it thought, I’m not sure drawing two cards for 1 mana is ok for power, even if you allow your opponent to draw at the same time… Think Storm would love it¬†too much?

What do you say? I’m sure I can still fine tune and make my blue spells better, but I’m fairly happy with the results on those ones. Let’s see what I come up with for the next colors. Until then, have a great week!

Going green (again)

Hey everybody. How are you liking Khans of Tarkir? I’m having a nice time with it myself; so far I made a Sultai and a Temur deck and they were both pretty good and won most their matches!

I wasn’t sure what theme to use for this week’s article, so I figured we could keep it green. It’s not the first time I do a full green article, so I guess I will have to give back to the other colors soon! Let’s start anyways.

Sultai PlantationTalking about Khans, our first card is related to the Sultai brood, one of the 5 clans of Tarkir.

This enchantment will get you reach creatures to survive longer, while putting your access lands in your graveyard to enable your delve strategy.

At first I was thinking of making Sultai Plantation a green Seismic Assault, but I couldn’t figure out a way to have defensive creatures be as good as 3 direct damage. Limiting to a subset of basic lands, I though might allow¬†me to create¬†just slightly more powerful tokens. 1/3 could be interesting maybe. Keep in mind I only made it uncommon though.

Kholna HunterKholna Hunter is a design I wanted to make for a little while. As you can see, the idea is to enable your creature to untap and block, with the caveat that it will be smaller.

I considered making the cost 4, but a 3/3 for 4 blocking as 2/2 seemed slightly unexciting, so it is now an uncommon 3/3 for 3 Рincluding two green.

Now when you make a card that can untap like this, it should raise some flags. Hence¬†the extra mana cost. As it is, you could already give the hunter an ability and use that ability twice more a turn for 2 manas, which is still potentially broken…

After the enchantment and the creature, we get to finish with a green Planeswalker! It’s also a great name in Magic’s folklore:¬†Gaea, Embodiment of Life.

Gaea Embodiment of LifeShe was said to be a goddess.¬†Now she is the embodiment of – half of – Naturalize,¬†Cultivate and guess what, Gaea’s Anthem. Not too shabby, huh? I do like that I based her of anthem, making it one more mana for the planeswalker form.

+1/+1 emblem is fairly low for a planeswalker ultimate ability, which should keep the power level in check. Same goes for the other two effects, but even though Gaea is nothing too powerful, I do find her interesting, and to be honest I enjoy a mild Рbut not actually bad Рplaneswalker a lot.

I have to say going green is nice. It’s the second time now, and it makes me wonder if green designs come more naturally to me. We shall see; I will try and be fair to the other colors in the coming weeks.

I’ll see you then, so you all have a great week!

Back To Close The Cycle

Here I am! Those holidays felt well deserved, now I’m back and resuming all activities. Last week I left open a cycle of pushed uncommon 2 drops, giving you all the allied color ones and leaving the enemy color combinations for this week. And this is what we’re going to do! Let’s see what Boros, Golgari, Simic, Orzhov, and Izzet have in store for us.

Envoy of IroasEnvoy of Iroas is the simplest card design.

Basically a drop 1 you control will become a 4/3 with haste and first strike. One thing I didn’t think of until now is that you will likely not be able to attack with your 2/1 or 2/2 on the turn that you play Envoy of Iroas.
Most likely you will prefer attacking the envoy instead, which is pretty good still!

Does a 4/3 first strike attacking on turn 2 worth 2 cards? Most likely, wouldn’t you say? Keep in mind the minor upside of getting your 1 drop back if he dies.

Tainted ScreecherTainted Screecher is a recycled design or mines.

To me it feels simpler, less splashy and possibly also weaker than the other designs. It is also more likely to be a well balanced and playable card.

Paying 2 life to give¬†your 2 drop flying¬†isn’t great but acceptable if you need some evasion. Having access to deathtouch is also always fun in defense. As long as you have some life to spare, it should be useful in all situations then, right?

I’d love to have access to a card like Tainted Screecher when playing limited.

Kioras WaveriderKiora’s Waverider.

This one feels much like a tamer version of the previous one. Its floor is lower, as it is a simple 2/2 defender creature to begin with. On the other hand, all you have to do to activate this merfolk is play an island – which most definitely won’t be nearly as good in constructed as in limited.

The upside will be all evasion: Kiora’s Waverider will surf your wave and gain both flying and islandwalk, while obviously losing defender. Simpler, tamer, but not quite bad I hope. Maybe it looks more like a common?

Orzhov HypocriteOrzhov Hypocrite.

How much would you be willing to give for a 2/1 first strike, vigilance and lifelink? Does losing 2 life and giving 2 to your opponent sound fair?

On one hand the creature could get destroyed on the spot, leaving you with a -4 life differential you spent a card on, but on the other hand what happens if you manage to protect him and maybe stick an equipment or even “just” a rancor?

Great stuff is what happens. Two hits will give you your life differential back!

Mechanical Reflection (1)Time to finish the mega-cycle!
Mechanical Reflection is definitely the most fun design in my opinion. It will copy the last played creature!

It actually seems powerful enough to me, even though you will have to wish – or make sure – your opponent won’t be casting a spell in response to it.

I have to admit a copy effect in uncommon unheard of¬†– even though the original Clone seems to have been -, and I know that the templating isn’t perfect since mentioning copying a spell is confusing, but I still love it. What do you think?

And that concludes the cycle! It’s nice to be back. I’ve been having fun with those 2 drops, and I have to say it was easier to come up with the last 5 than I think it would.
Look forward to a consistent stream of material, as I’m still having lots of ideas.

Hope you will enjoy it, and until then have a fantastic week!