Yesland Permanents

Hello everybody and welcome to episode 139 of Ominous Designs. New week, new mechanic! I feel like I have done a good job creating more of those this year. I glad to have all that material to revisit and perhaps even a couple of those mechanics could be hand picked, tweaked added to a custom set!
Today’s mechanic is pretty ambitious as we are trying to create cards that can either be lands or creatures, and I am hoping to do so at lower rarities as well.

SproutlingSproutling is the mascot for the mechanic Surface.
Lands with surface can basically awaken themselves. If you do use the ability, Sproutling well be a 2/2 for 1G, which is fine though not particularly popular these days for green creatures.

If you don’t so it’s simply a land that comes into play tapped and produces green mana, which obviously isn’t great but not awful either. It becomes amazing when you can choose between the land and the bear. Hopefully we can keep the power level in check by limiting it to either small or over-costed creatures.

Reef ElementalReef Elemental is the blue flyier herald of our mechanic. You will get a tapped Island or a 2/2 flyer for the high-high price of 4 mana.
Now let’s think about the implications being able to fetch such cards: this was the reason I could not default those to be creatures. They might be low-powered, but you still don’t want Primeval Titan to just get two of those and put them directly into play. Is it okay for fetch-lands to get you various small creatures in hand? It’s hard to say but the gut feeling would be that it might not be. It is still hard to imagine a constructed deck bothering to pull such antics for a 2/2 but maybe we still want to not give it access to abilities like flying.

And this it for the week. A particularly difficult balancing act this time, as I have gone through at least three iterations of the mechanic. Power level will also have to be closely monitored but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the kind of challenge Wizards try to tackle in the near future. Do tell me how you think you would implement it.

This is it for real this time, episode over. I’ll see you next week for number 140. Until then have a good one and play responsibly!

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The Elite

Hello everybody and welcome to this new episode of Ominous Designs. Today we have a new mechanic! A little while ago I tried to solve the lack of decimals in power and toughness by introducing the concept of a 2+/2+, for example. Let’s see what this means and how I tried to address the issue this time.

Dolnian WatchdogDolnian Watchdog.
A 2+/3+ would have been a creature that twins fights against other 2/3 but still loses to 3/3. This is exactly what Brawler is supposed to achieve. Watchdog is a simple vanilla creature, for all intents and purposes a regular 2/3 but it’ll still win a fight against another 2/3.

Simple, right? This is similar in practice to first strike but much less explosive with combat tricks. Brawler is really only trying to to create to finer scale of power and toughness. Watchdog doesn’t have more than 3 toughness stand still dies to 3/3 and 3/2 which is a little weird but acceptable.

Viashino TollkeeperViashino Tollkeeper pushes that Brawler mechanic one notch further.

Starting at a reasonable size of 3/3, the viashino wins fights against other 3/3 but also against 4/4 thanks to his Rootwalla ability. This makes him quite hard to block. Trample is a nice add for a beefy Brawler such as this one.

Your options against tollkeeper would be a 4/3 or maybe a creature with 5 toughness. To be completely safe you would need a 4/5 which is pretty great for a 4 drop that originally was only a lowly 3/3, wouldn’t you say?

How do you feel about the Brawler mechanic? I like the idea as more subtle combat with low power and toughness creatures. I could imagine a set where most creatures center around a few major sizes like 2/2, 2/3, 3/3, 4/4, etc. I was also thinking there could be a 2/3 reach creature and it’s nemesis, the 2/3 flying brawler. Possibilities are endless. Let me know if you come up with more!

This is all for this week, I shall see you again next for episode 139. Until then have a great one and play responsibly!

 

New Legends

Hello everybody, and welcome to episode 137 of Ominous Designs. The topic for today came to me while browsing /r/custommagic. What we are going to do is create legendary creatures for subtypes that never had one. Spoiler alert: it’s going to be a pegasus and a wurm.

Pelianos Mount of the GodsPelianos, Mount of the Gods. Didn’t think how close the name was from Paliano – main city in Conspiracy – at the time…
It seemed pretty obvious that the pegasus should serve as a mount to other legendary creatures.
I toyed with the idea of implementing this myself but in the end nothing serves this purpose as well as bestow does.
I based the design on the better version of limited all star Nimbus Naiad. I needed to make the legendary creature better so costed it more aggressively, seeing that its extra ability was a fringe one: the faithful companion is ready sacrifice himself to save his legendary friends.

Talath Volarian SovereinTalath, Volarian Soverein.
This one was harder to come up with. Wurms are not your typical sentient and charismatic legendary creatures! I also hoped to make it a Naya creature so it could serve as a commander for a deck containing most existing wurms. After playing around with the idea of a big creature with activated abilities granting keywords from various colors, I discovered I could afford up to 6 of them as long as I picked them well.

So this guy does have a ton but I don’t even think he is more threatening then Soul of Theros or Akroma. In the end he looks like a Naya Cromat.

Those are your – legendary – creatures for the day. Let me know if you think of some other types that need a hero to represent them.
I hope you all have a great time, and I’ll see you next Wednesday!

Benefit from Experience

 

Hey everybody, welcome to episode 136 of Ominous Designs. I was inspired this week and I came up with the idea of doing experience counter a different way. Let’s see what it looks like, shall we?

Davkas SermonFirst we have Davka’s Sermon.

The original experience cards from Commander 2015 only care but how many counters exactly you have, and give you a linear reward.
This time, the card wants to know if you have more than your opponent. If you do, you are going to get nice exile effect. I could obviously not just turning the card on and off based on experience, so if you don’t have enough you still get small tap effect.

Overall the design is largely based on New Phyrexia’s Dispatch.

Huntsmans GearHuntsman’s Gear.

This experience counter theme opens up a huge design space so what I want to do now is use it for yet another card type. It will be an Aura.

Gear is very straightforward. It will make your creature bigger the more experience counters you have. What’s a actually new here is the introduction of thresholds.
If you have more than 3 experience counters, you get trample, and if you have more the 5 you can regenerate. If you think about it it’s pretty close to the level up mechanic.

And those are you cards for the week. Like I said the design spaces is great and easy to explore, so the cards came naturally and are reasonably clean and elegant. As tradition demands I will note that they might very well need to be balanced a notch, but that’s a task for play testing and the upcoming peer review, when I broadcast this article on my favourite social outlets, rather than during our free flow design session.

Now that’s really it for this article. I hope you enjoyed, I’ll be seeing you next week for 137. Have a good one!