Pay X

Hi all. Now is the time for me to tell you about another common phenomenon: I’m set for an article theme maybe even two, and at the last minute I come up with a couple cards and decide to go for that instead. I guess I will have a few ideas left for the coming weeks.

Our theme today is creatures with an extra X mana in the cost. I never liked multikicker because I don’t like the idea of paying separate instances of 1 or more. I prefer seeing the X in the cost even though it has its downsides, one of which being complexity.

Rethik LongbowRethik Longbow is the trickiest design to adjust of this new cycle of cards. The idea is that you get an extra effect if you pay X mana on top of your creature, and an duper extra effect if you pay a lot.

The issue here is I wanted the X to deal damage, because red. Usually I want the payoff when you spend more than 2 to be even better, but what is even better than dealing damage? Whatever it is, it would make the card too powerful.

As a concession I made the upside be only good. 3 damage and a 3/1 haste first strike for 6? Sweet in limited if you ask me.

Torian OratorsTorian Orators is a solid white uncommon.

The way I evaluate those cards is basically considering spending 0 to 3 manas for the common case, then using it with 7 to 9 mana in the late game scenario.

4 for a 2/2 vigilance and a +1/+1 is pretty boring.
6 for the same creature, +3/+3 and tap a creature, now we are talking! Powerful but reasonable I think.

If you have lots of mana it becomes a finisher, but not exactly an overpowered one.

Oracle of the Cloud AltarOracle of the Cloud Altar. Beautiful isn’t she?

2/2 flyier for 3 is a Wind Drake, perfectly serviceable. Paying 1 or 2 mana on top, I see it as spending access mana for a fringe scry effect.

Paying 3 though, gets interesting. 6 mana for a 2/2 flyier, scry 3 and draw a card? Pretty sure I’m in. Always talking about limited, of course.

If you have tons of mana, the oracle is going to tidy your library very nicely for you, and get you the best card you can find in there. That’s getting into Dig Through Time territory…

As usual none of those designs are quite perfect, but I do think we touched a very interesting space. Balancing the power will be the key. I do believe the complexity of those mana costs is worth the pain, as I am a fan of visualizing the X cost. Maybe it’s because I’m the maths type… You let me know what you think!

Hope you enjoyed today’s cards, I will be seeing you next week.
Have a good one!

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