Alternate Origins

Hello, hello. Welcome to our alternate reality, where we are going to have a look at what other mechanics might have existed in Magic Origins. In all fairness those are inspired by the existing ones, and the first even relies on one of them. Let’s dive in and look at the detail.

Highfalls SentinelHighfalls Sentinel is a pretty basic creature, albeit a bit pushed at common.
Our first mechanic, Ambitextrous, means that she can either block two creatures – rather one more than she already could – or block a creature with Menace, which would normally require two creatures to do so.
Sentinel uses both her arms and blades, so that’s a cute and flavourful mechanic.

The way I templated Ambidextrous, she can only block one creature with Menace, even she already could block 2 or 3 creatures, but it is simpler that way.

ShadowboltShadowbolt shows off a variation on Spell Mastery that is Spellcraft. It isn’t a very complex one, but it seems viable.

If you don’t have any instant or sorcery in your graveyard, Shadowbolt won’t only do -1/-1 do a creature. It will kill it.

Bolt is bellow Murderous Cut in terms of power, but synergizes quite well with it and other Delve cards, or even Snapcaster Mage.

It might be constructed around, but overall I wouldn’t imagine it is as good as Tragic Slip.

Hope you liked this wee’s cards!
I would say the mechanics are solid and it would be fun to try and make more cards using them. Spellcraft might need some support though. If you leave it as “first card with spellcraft is great, following ones aren’t” it is going to be a bit boring to play and feel bad. Fortunately we can easily remove cards from graveyard if needed, by making more cards exiling or retrieving spells from there.

In other news, we are approaching article number 100 quite quickly. I haven’t planned anything for that event but I might… I will keep you posted!

Until then have a great one and see you next week.

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H2O

You might have guessed: today is all about blue! We are going to study two different phases of water, which now that I think of it makes me wish I had thought of making a third one.

Cone of FrostWe are starting with ice, and Cone of Frost.

Tap three creatures, one of them doesn’t untap. Simple and efficient. The name comes from Cone of Flame. In spirit, spells that make a 1-2-3 effect, such as Incremental Growth represent a cone better, but I do think 3-1 effect does a good enough job.

I based the stats on Frost Breath. While it was a powerful enough card to begin with, I replaced keeping one more creature tapped next turn with tapping a third one right now, so I think we might be ok. Very aggressive card though.

Wave of the CenturyWave of the Century.

You could call this one a spin on Upheaval. The idea is that everybody find themselves not with all their permanents in hand, but almost.
They will get to keep all 3 drops, plus 3 lands.

Starting with your opponent, everybody gets to “start again from turn 4”. One major difference though is that it costs one less than Upheaval, and as such it is going to be easier for you to cast something in the same turn as wave. I wonder if that puts Wave of the Century over the top… Do tell me what you think about it!

I was a bit rushed this week but I took out some designs from my vault of ideas, so hopefully the quality was still there. Give me feedback on those, I would love to hear what you think about them.

We shall meet again next week, until then have a great one!

A Persecuted Artist

Hi everyone. We have ourselves an original theme this week, as I have been making cards in honor or one of my favourite artists: Rebecca Guay.  As you will see she creates gorgeous illustrations and has a great following, as represented in the card Persecute Artist which alludes to the backlash happening after Wizards announced they would be on a break from using her art – due to its softer qualities.
I have been reminded of Rebecca because she drew a magnificent Serra Angel for the upcoming From the Vault: Angels.

My personal story of enjoying her art goes way back. Over 15 years ago when I started playing Magic, one of my favourite cards was Priest of Titania. The art was no small part of my interest. 10 years ago I decided to send her a dozen cards to sign. Those didn’t show up for over a year, and I had completely forgotten about them until I received my signed Kaysa and Defense of the Heart in the mail, one glorious day. My love for her art also made me discover the work of Alphonse Mucha. Talk about Magic broadening my horizons!

That’s all for the stories, we should now start looking at the beautiful art of Rebecca Guay, because I have 4 cards for you today!

Eternal WarEternal War. My favourite. Mechanically it’s a five mana, two color wrath, which shouldn’t cause too much controversy. On the flavour side though it is amazing.

Angel and Demons are fighting an Eternal War, and everybody else is collateral damage. The Art is amazing and the rule text illustrates perfectly the idea. I don’t love the “non-Angel non-Demon” wording, but it is acceptable.

Eternal war is the kind of card I think should be printed if not completely broken, if only because of the flavour hit. See Merciless Eviction.

Celestial Half-breedCelestial Half-breed pleases me because it is a fair, common creature. I do believe those are among the hardest to design and I’m happy with the result here. Obviously it has been inspired by this awesome not-quite-angel art.

In limited I think this is a very good card, albeit not as good as some other 2/2 for 2 with upside we have seen in the recent past.
Green most often has the transformative ones though, and as such it makes our half-human half-angel even more interesting.

I would love to play test it in a limited environment.

Gift from the SeaGift from the Sea. It sure is fun to take great art and make cards from it. What would you think this illustration would be for? To me it looks like an trinket from the lords of Atlantis, and as such I tried to make it a low costed draw spell.

Now those are getting harder and harder to design, as lots has been done in this space already. Good ones too, like Brainstorm, Ponder, Sleight of Hand, Serum Visions, etc.

This version comes with Scry 1, and scry 1 again if you are trying to get rid of an island. Powerful but maybe ok. You will tell me what you think.

Sleep WalkSleep Walk is our last card. I love love love the art. It isn’t obvious what it should symbolize as a card, but I like where I went with it.

The idea with Sleep Walk was to refer to the tapped state of a card as sleeping. You can untap that creature and let it block, but it will be affected by that event next turn – or next morning – and then become tapped again.

As it stands you can use Sleep Walk to sneak-untap one of your creatures and block, with downside of mostly not using it next turn, or just use it to tap an opponent’s creature. Fun?

I am looking at those four cards again, aren’t they just beautiful? It goes such a long way to have pretty art. I hope you enjoyed those, they made me want to work based on illustrations again. It is a great source of inspiration!

I shall see you next week, until then I hope you all have a good one.

Bound in Black

Whatever that means. Hey everyone, as I announced last week, we are going to look at auras this week. What I didn’t tell you is those will be auras of a particular kind: black auras. The murderous kind. If you are ready to proceed, so am I.

Vengeful HexVengeful Hex is today’s spin on removal. I don’t remember how, but it came to me while working on legendary enchantments.

I’m having a great time playing with alternate ways of destroying a creature. This should be considered very – too? – strong in current limited environment because it destroys any creature, but don’t miss out on the fact you need to deal damage to that creature, which in most case should mean spend another card to destroy it.

Since the downside is more than largely compensated by the draw, still a powerful aura.

Binding of FateBinding of Fate comes from the same design space as Vengeful Hex.
This time though I think it’s more of a mix of One Thousand Lashes and Stab Wound. Same as previously binding has the downside of not killing the creature right away, though in this case it can happen on your next turn. I am hoping this offsets the sheer power of almost-direct removal that even gets through indestructible. Might be a tall order.

Cheery on top, every turn you get the possibility of subtracting 2 life out of your opponent instead of killing their creature. This is probably a greedy choice but I think it makes for a neat design.

And that’s all of it! I’m saying this just about every time but even more than the cards I’m really excited about the creative spaces we found here. If I had more time to make a full project out of them and polish them I do believe great things could happen.

As of now I hope those are a nice treat and tasty food for your thoughts, that would already be great. Enjoy them and have a great week!