Shiny Things

Hello everybody, welcome to episode number 135 of Ominous Designs. Today I have two very different cards that have one thing in common: they are gold.

Keeper of ThornsFirst Keeper of Thorns.

I danced around this one for a while. The idea was to enable a Mana dork to produce up to two mana every turn, of different colors and for one life each.
I toyed with the untap symbol but it was too hard to make not broken, as untapping for mana isn’t a good idea.
I also tried to separate abilities with a “only once a turn as a sorcery” writer but that was too messy.

I’ve been very split on the power level of this card but I think Joraga Treespeaker tells us it is ok, possibly even at uncommon.

Xeral Betrayal IncarnateAnd now a huge three-colored Demon Wizard: I present to you Xeral, Betrayal Incarnate.

The main idea was to punish players for stealing permanents but I figured such a narrow ability should come with the second one.

I came up with the idea of exchanging creatures. Xeral now has a lot of potential, especially in multiplayer and it also comes with the danger of hurting yourself, has all demons should. I usually try to stay away from huge Timmy designs but I find myself wishing I could try that one out in a game of Commander. It looks like a ton of fun.

And that’s it for the day! This time I was hoping to have an easier time implementing my creative concepts than is ultimately turned out. It wasn’t so bad though and I’m ok with the results. I hope you enjoyed and that I will get good feedback on tweaking and balancing them.

Now it’s time to say see you next week and have a great 4th of July weekend!


Hello everyone and welcome to episode 134 of Ominous Designs. Today we are going to look at modal spells. This isn’t the first time, so let’s try and make it a little special. We are going to look at three cards with four modes each, some of which we have never seen before…

Planned BetrayalFirst is Planned Betrayal.

Most of those modes make a build-your-own Threaten effect. The fun part here is that you can have it be instant speed, which we know is great on those effects.

If you choose to cast it sorcery speed though, you will get a bonus +2/+0 for your trouble. The other interesting bit is that you don’t even have to use all modes on the same target. You might even pick modes to create some weird combat trick.
On a side note, I do hope it’s within the rules to pick flash as a mode when casting a spell.

Planned MachinationsPlanned Machinations is a simpler design.

The original mode here is can’t be countered. For the rest, we are making a blue cantrip. Power level wise, I based myself on something below Preordain but most likely better than Serum Visions.

I also based the design on the assumption that the modes will resolve in the same order they appear on the card, which I believe is true.
Those could easily be tweaked if needed for power level, as I did when creating the card, toying with different positions for the Draw a card mode.

Planned ExplorationI couldn’t help but make a third card this week!
Planned Exploration wants to do every thing ramp.

It’s an expensive card though, which should help containing the power level for such effect. As far as I can tell the most you could get out of it is two extra land drops and untapping a land, which makes it close to Explosive Vegetation.

It definitely looks like it could be broken somehow though, and it would be at least fun in cube storm. Thinking back, maybe I didn’t need to restrict it to basic lands though.

I had a fantastic time building those, so I hope you will enjoy reading about them. Let me know what you think!
I’ll be seeing you next time for episode 135. Have a great week!

From Above

Hi everybody. Today for episode 133 of Ominous Designs we are going to do something different than usual: top down designs from illustrations. What I did in the video is I went through some images I have sitting in my vault, picked the most evocative ones and created cards based on what they inspired me. As a consequence there is extra value to my Twitch/Youtube clips this week, so don’t hesitate to check them out!

Brutal AssaultBrutal Assault.

This one should be easy to figure out. I loved the idea that this was an action picture, and that it was mostly green. A fight spell seemed to be the obvious choice here.

Since we are doing flavour designs, I had to go for the Samurai writer here. With a base of one extra mana on Prey Upon original casting cost, I think it works quite well and is a somehow playable spell for limited, maybe even good in a set that actually includes samurais. Maybe we will need it when we go back to Kamigawa…

Lithomancer ShepherdLithomancer Shepherd.

As mandated, this illustration is as well very flavourful. The stone golem being raised just has to be an awoken mountain from Zendikar!
I had a quick look and to my great surprise only one red card – Boiling Earth – features the mechanic Awaken.
Since the visual focus is on the Shaman here, I tried to enable him to create multiple elementals. Shepherd now basically creates a 2/2 for 2 – or reinforces a land with 2 +1/+1 counters – every time you cast an instant or sorcery, which I think is nice but far from too powerful.

Simple, straight forward, flavourful. Yes? This week I am rather happy with both the creative and the power level of the cards. None of them are too good but they are definitely fine enough for limited, perhaps even casual constructed.

I hope you enjoyed those as well, don’t hesitate to comment on them either way! Now is time to bid you farewell for this week, so see you next time and have a great one!


Things Used To Be Free

Hello and welcome to episode 132 of Ominous Designs. I had complete random inspiration this week, and decided I would add to the cycle of Force of Will. To my knowledge only Contagion, in black, follows the same pattern but today we are making a white card and a green card.

Cosmic RayCosmic Ray is first.
The effect that you get here is a pseudo removal of the fairly rare kind previously seen in Celestial Flare. We won’t have much to say about the 5 mana cost that I kept from the cycle, but rather ask ourselves: can this be free?
Removal is a basic effect, albeit powerful, but the fact is there are plenty of great ones for as little as 1 mana – or 0 for Slaughter Pact – and the question almost becomes do you want to pay to cards for it? It seems great against combo decks based on a creature, – hello Griselbrand – and I could imagine hate bears or death and taxes be all over this, but I’m not even sure at all.

Might of the WildThe green card is Might of the Wild.
I started by creating a card that ended up being much less powerful than Invigorate, and yet I was really afraid it would be to good for legacy infect. When I discovered it about Invigorate I decided my card would be a mini Overrun instead.
For this one I have to say I am not sure who would actually need it. Maybe Zoo decks? You would be looking at a deck going wide, with a multitude of creatures and yet having an extra spare card to spend instead of mana for the final effect.
The good part is even with the full price you’re going to get something very similar to the original Overrun, which is good but not played still.

Quick mention that I just realized not having changed the color of the card you have to exile to pay the alternate costs. It is very much an error and Cosmic Ray should exile a white card, Might of the Wild a green one.
That’s going to be it for the day though! This one was particularly hard. I didn’t want either boring or overpowered designs! Turns out that’s a tall order for free cards.

I hope you enjoyed the designs though, I’ll be seeing you next week for more. Until then have a good one!

More or Less Lands

Hello everybody and welcome to Ominous Designs again, here on the Responsible Gaming Megacorp. This week our cards are centered around lands, and playing more or less of them. We are going to start with playing more.

Kerathan LandkeeperKerathan Landkeeper features my new strategy of pushing concepts by putting them on powerful cards.
Only two Mana to start doubling fetch lands is a little over the top, but at least the only go in hand and they have to be basic. It still makes Landkeeper an extremely powerful card as is. I could see it played in random combo decks including things like Scapeshift, Valakut, Life from the Loam, or even Seismic Assault.

I played around with the idea of making it a huge commander card, but I prefer the flashy over the top constructed version.

Zameck BotanistZameck Botanist is somewhat the opposite design to landkeeper.

This scientist – I wish that was a creature type – will reward you for not playing a land during your turn. Interestingly enough it actually combos with the landkeeper.

For this one I went with a much more reasonable cost, inspired by Prophet of Kruphix and I think it was the right decision. You don’t want a cheap creature that saves your mana screw hands – or rather you probably do, but it has to cost at the very least four to no be ridiculous.

And that’s an episode. So what do you want to do now, play less lands or more lands? It’s up to you! Feel free to tell me what you think about the balance on this week’s cards, I’m happy with the concepts behind them which is the most important to me.

Hope you enjoyed our episode number 131, now is time for me to say see you next week and have a great one!