Hello everybody, happy new year and welcome back to Ominous Designs for our 158th episode! I hope 2017 has started well for you all, over here at Responsible Gaming headquarters we want to treat ourselves with a detox of pure and simple designs for our first article. Let’s start with a couple of creatures.
Our very first card of the year is the poster child for the new mechanic. It isn’t a keyword, but it is strongly flavored to feel like what could be a major design direction for a color in a set. To that extent you could imagine giving it an actual Ability Word.
Commando will serve greatly in an aggressive strategy since not only will it trade like a regular creature, but also ensure that some damage goes through no matter what, as long as he attacked.
As you can see the mechanic is simple enough that we could have a ton of different declinations of it with different power, toughness, mana cost and damage dealt.
Very much the counterpart to our red creature, Guard will gain you life and it will do so if you blocked instead of attacked.
I love the organic feeling of being an ok blocker and giving you extra life, which should help the same goal of surviving and padding your life total for your late game comeback.
I was very tempted to make a 2/3 for 3 that gained you 3 life in order to reflect perfectly commando, as if one blocked the other they would bounce off beautifully. I opted not to do so because the actual white card would be pretty underwhelming. In fact I tend to think a vanilla 2/4 for 4 with marginal life gain is mostly filler.
So what do you say? I am very pleased to start the year with the simplest possible designs. You might know that I consider those to be very interesting, hard to design, and of the utmost importance for limited play. I do think we hit something quite good here and I would love to make more of those.
I have wondered if this cycle could extend to other colors but I fear it would take away from its simplicity. The best answer I could find would be to add black cards dealing damage as well and green cards gaining life. I suppose one thing I could do is switch attack and block for those, which would be very fun but also fairly confusing.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s article and I want to wish you again a very happy 2017. See you next week for another episode and until then play responsibly!