Buy One, Get Another One

Hello everybody, welcome to episode 130 of ominous designs. Today we’re going to look at mashup of famous magic effects and we’ll do that with a red and a white card. First, we will look at the white design.

Start a WarStart a War is an obvious combination of Journey to Nowhere and some Anthem effect. The real question here is can it really cost only four?

We have seen the ol ring effect cost as little as 2, most likely 3 and maybe 4 in recent history. For the anthem, last ones have been either restricted for 2, or had an extra effect for 3.
This would put our card at a minimum virtual 4.5 mana. I wanted to make it constructed playable so I put it at a very aggressive 4 mana price tag. I’m not sure it would be all that popular for 5 since anthem decks tend to want to curve out faster than that. What do you think. Reasonable?

Shamanic TranceShamanic Trance is arguably even more pushed in terms of mana cost.
As you can see I took Threaten end tacked on a red draw effect. The thing is I didn’t really up the cost of the spell! What I did make it cost 2 red which is the base cost of cards like Harness by Force and there’s something else:
red draw is very sensitive to how much mana you have left, and so is Threaten. As such, unless you have five or six mana available – in red aggro! – and a cheap card on top of your deck, Trance shouldn’t do anything too crazy. The card is definitely pushed for constructed though, do let me know what you think of its cost.

Those are your designs for today, this was a fun exercise and I kind want to make more competitive card mashups in the future. Not sure when exactly but I’ll be sure to let you know.
For now, time to say have a great week and see you next time!

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This Isn’t Even My Final Form!

Hi everybody, you know what day it is! For today’s article we’re going to be looking at transform designs again. This time though, the cards sides are going to be of different types, as introduced in Shadows over Innistrad.

Guardian of Elaria // Guardian’s Sanctum.

Guardian of ElariaThis one starts as an inefficient creature we like to call Gray Ogre. When it dies though comma it transforms into a land! That’s unusual, isn’t it?

As I see it, guardian is a mediocre creature doubling as an overcosted ramp spell. Gray Ogres are nothing to be excited about and 3 mana colorless ramp spells that need to wait for creature interaction aren’t either but having two in a single card is still great value. Keep in mind that by the time the creature dies, the extra mana might be less relevant.

Volarian Duelist // Vicious Cut

Volarian DuelistNow for the design that inspired me with this article: Volarian Dualist.

This guy starts starts as a much better creature. This is because his real purpose is board presence and creature interaction. To that effect, I gave duelist more toughness and vigilance, which will in incite your opponent to deal with it. Getting rid of him won’t be easy though, as that would require a 3/3 or 3/2 and even then, it will leave a mark. The creature that killed him will be inflicted with a smaller Stab Wound. I really love that idea.

The resulting creature might be slightly too good but that’s why I made it uncommon; I wanted an exciting creature to feature this creative design.

That’s it for today! A new week, two new exciting concepts I will need balancing and play testing. What’s new? Do let me know if you think they need to be tweaked and how.
Now time has come to me to say have a great week and see you next time!

Making Babies

Hello everybody, and welcome to episode 128 of Ominous Designs. This week where are going back too simple Limited-minded cards. Our mechanic is a very straightforward one and yet strangely rare in the field of existing magic designs: dying creatures leaving smaller tokens behind – hence the title, and yes I am aware this is not how babies work.
We have three uncommons to look at but we could easily have had a dozen. Let’s get started with the white one.

Kerathan MobKerathan Mob is as promised a 3/3 that dies into three 1/1.

For 5 mana he is obviously pretty aggressively costed.
Getting 6 power and toughness four 5 sounds like a crazy deal but keep in mind that the creature has to die for that. Anything preventing it from dying makes it a 3/3 for 5.

Still, the potential is huge. Not Cloudgoat Ranger level, but getting there. I’ve actually just seen ranger and I thought the “goats” were 0/1 but they are actually 1/1 Kithkins! Cloudgoat is really crazy…

Rethik SummonerNow moving on to Rethik Summoner.
This one was even harder to balance. What we want here is an aggressive bunch of two creatures that we can still cost aggressively so that it’s not another 5 drop – red doesn’t love those. But how?
The best I could find is cost a meager 2/1 one and two red mana to give us leeway when the creature dies. For the free creature I went for something very brittle but still aggressive. If you consider that it makes it virtual 5/2 for 3 you might think it’s way over the top and you might be right. Cobblebrute costs 4 and is an ok common that doesn’t have to die. Based on this, summoner might be a great uncommon but not unreasonable. You tell me.

Lakegreed HellratsLastly, Lakgreed Hellrats.
Those are actually the original design that inspired me with this cycle.
Nowadays a 3/3 for 4 is just not cutting it any more. You need some fairly good upside with that.

A 1/1 deathtouch is among the best upsides ever seen though, but I’m fine with that. I’m thinking this looks somewhat similar to Drunau Corpse Trawler. Remember, you need a 3/3 to die before you get your little chumper.
I feel like the dynamic of that is slightly off beat and will help justify the cost. I don’t know why but I really like the design.

That’s it for today! Like I said you could easily create dozen of those. I’m not sure why we don’t see more cards of this kind in regular sets, maybe you need an expansion that relies more on tokens and die triggers, maybe one with sacrifices outlets too. Feel free to come up with more and let me know.

Now is time to wish you a great week and fun games. See you next time!

Mini Me

Hello everybody, welcome to Responsible Gaming for Ominous Designs episode 127. Today we are going to look at a couple of very famous cards and we’re going to see if we can make them into smaller, more humble designs.

Lesser Necromantic RitesFirst one is Lesser Necromantic Rites.

It is a real challenge making a smaller Necropotence. My original idea was to limit the amount of draw to 2 cards per turn. I did not add the “skip draw step” when I started out and it turned out to be, well, quite insane.

With that first line of text though, you will find yourself with a Dark Confidant that isn’t target to creature removal and only ever costs you 2 life, except you can never again draw your first card a turn without it.
Weird but I think playable, wouldn’t you say?

Flamecaster MageSecond card is Flamecaster Mage.

This one is pretty straightforward, it is obviously a Snapcaster Mage without flash who will always cast Shock.

I think it is sufficiency tuned down to make a red Snapcaster ok. It is also a mini Flametongue Kavu of sorts, or even a Goblin Dark-Dweller. Always be sure to balance those! My take is that a 2/1 for 3 in red is sufficiently terrible to justify getting a free Shock most – but not every – the time. I could be wrong so I guess do let me know what you think about this one as well.

That does it for the week. Pretty efficient one, that was. The enchantment needs tweaking but I like the Mage. This will also be a mini article, I guess.
Now is time for me to wish you a great week and see you next time!