Copycats

Hey everybody, welcome to episode 169 of Ominous Designs. Today we are looking at cards that create copies, hence the title.
Both designs are connected to a shard of mana and I think I can contain with special about them in their description so let’s just get started, shall we?

Aurashaper

Today’s theme comes from the intent of creating a clone in Bant colors. Without looking very hard for it I came up with the idea that a green and white clone should be able to clone enchants and lands. This might seem simplistic but I think it is quite esthetically pleasing.

Why is it so hard to clone lands though? I get the feeling that there is a specific reason but I can’t put my finger on it. Do tell me if you know. As for enchantments, there is probably a way to recur this with a reanimating aura, but I haven’t found it just yet.

Graveshaper

This handsome lady – actually a shapeshifter – shows what Grixis might do with clone technology. First it copies creatures from graveyard because black, then it can also copies artifacts because red. I know they both sound very powerful but I am yet to know why either would require more than 4 mana in 3 colors.

As for the blue part, I opted for copying an instant or sorcery from the graveyard as well. This comes in the form of a Goblin Dark-Dwellers ability.
All in all this one is a really powerful package.

And that will do it for now. As usual there are checks and balances to be made here but what we care about is the creative process of making magic cards, not nearly as much the play testing and balancing aspect of it, which we know takes a whole lot more time. Getting the inspiration going is what we are all about.

I hope this fulfilled our mission, I will meet you again next week for episode 170! Until then have a great time and play responsibly.

Advertisements

Quick! Enchant!

Hello everybody! Welcome to episode 165 of Ominous Designs, and to our still uninterrupted streak of limited mechanics. Today we are looking at what could easily be a cycle of auras, brought to you by an unusually reasonable number of two designs only this time. Here we go.

predictable-disasterPredictable Disaster

There you have it, auras that looks like instants. This reads like a 2 mana red removal but there are many subtleties that are worth digging into, especially if they interact with other mechanics you might play these auras alongside with.

For one, you need a creature to play the card, one that is about to die or that you count on dying some time in the near future. In that respect the spell needs morbid to be in effect as an instant. You can also play the card as a regular aura to provide a threat if the enchanted creature dies.

predictable-demisePredictable Demise

One thing that is different from regular auras is that you don’t care that the creature dies. In fact that’s even what you want in most cases!

The other common downside is that the creature could be destroyed in response, but in this case it will not be a 2-for-1 this time since your opponent will be destroying a creature that was about to die! That’s if you play it with flash, for the most part.
All in all the downsides are pretty limited, so I had to strive for effects that would be almost ok at 2 mana on an instant, draw 2 being potentially still too strong.

That will do it for the day, I hope you enjoyed the cards. I might have created a monster with the draw spell but I am not certain about it. You tell me! Give me your feedback and I will consider it for our next episode.

Let’s say bye for now, have a great week, see you next time, and play responsibly!

 

Fast Auras

Hi everybody, welcome again to Ominous Designs. This time we are doing our 143rd episode and I am going to solve try solving the issue with Aura cards which is : what if it doesn’t even hit the battlefield because the target is removed in response? Our live episode was a bumpy one as it started with the assumption that Split Second would solve all of our problems, only to realize mid-stream that it only insures the enchantments does come into play but doesn’t help with the fact you are committing two cards on one creature. Regardless, I proceeded on creating two auras with a guaranteed trigger.

Migth of the PackMight of the Pack.

I first toyed around with an aura split between a static and a temporary effect, only to discover that you could still destroy the targeted creature and get rid of both. My next move would be to allow targeting any creature.
Split Second will ensure the card will enter the battlefield, and your opponent will have two bigger creatures to deal with, unless of course you decided to target only one, in which case you are still under the threat of a single card taking care of the two of yours and of your temporary +4/+4 trample creature.

Revenge CommitteeVengeance Committee.
I went through all the recent auras and I found a couple that would benefit from being guaranteed.
One of them is Murder Investigation. Getting a lot of 1/1 is a desirable effect and with Split Second we find ourselves with something pretty close to a Sorcery that says create X 1/1 where X is the power of target creature. Pretty good for 3, isn’t it?
I started by attempting to create a card one could consider play in Bogles, but gave up. Now I think you might consider siding one of those if you think one of your huge hexproof creatures is still likely to die.

Split second is a 7 on the storm scale, which means it isn’t very likely to come back but if you ask me, everything that is even remotely possible will end up happening again considering how many sets we’re going through nowadays. It is also slightly surprising that the only Split Second aura ever created was a control magic effect but since there was only one altogether I suppose it had to be arbitrary.

That will be it for today! Like I said before I didn’t end up achieving exactly what I had in mind originally but at the very least this was good food for thoughts. I hope you liked the cards and/or got some inspiration from them. I will see you next week for another episode and another theme and until then, play responsibly!

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!

 

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!

Transformalicious

Hey everybody, welcome to episode 125 of Ominous Designs. This week we’re going back to the designs of Innistrad and with a couple of cards revolving around the transform mechanic – hence the title. Let’s get started with actually not a transform card, but a removal spell.

Gloom Moons CurseGloom Moon’s Curse is a fringe removal, way more useful than you might expect in Innistrad, considering the plethora of tokens present in the format like humans, devils, spirits, etc. If you have played with Dual Shot in limited you should agree.
It isn’t the best solution against them but in a pinch, it will do.
Now the really interesting part to is to put this aura on creatures that will transform, especially ones that can’t help it. This is almost better than Bound by Moonsilver for things like werewolves or even Archangel Avacyn herself.
All in all a nice little package that you might even want to main deck in limited.

Ulvenwald Ranger // Hungered Howler

Ulvenwald Ranger

The idea behind this one was to create a werewolf who could punish your opponents for not playing any spell several times in a row. The issue with the usual lycanthropes of Innistrad is that in order to transform to their wolf selves they need to be human first. This ranger doesn’t have that issue since he is able to master the beast within and flip himself back just before turning wolf again automatically because your silly enemies spent another turn doing nothing.

Deciding what ability to give such a werewolf was the tricky part, as the idea was to make the repeatable. I toyed with the idea of adding +1/+1 counters and the issue here would have been that flipping back to human would do very little – the counters would have stayed on the creature. Instead I ended up creating a werewolf who is always hangry for one turn only, then I suppose digests his meal before becoming human and hopefully turn back again very soon. Thankfully, being a 2/2 for 2 there is a lot of space in what you can do with the upside, and I think this one is still pretty sweet.

Those are your designs for the day. Another example of good ideas that I wish I had more time to do delve into. The cards aren’t perfect but pretty fun and hopefully will start some interesting conversations.

I hope you enjoyed, now is time to say have a great week and see you next time!

 

Back to Business

What’s up everybody! Now that we are out of the 100th article craziness and I have picked the winners and distributed the prizes, we can be back to the good old weekly designs routine.

My plan for today was to create two aura cards but I was having a hard time finishing the second one when I ran into an amazing illustration that I had to make a card for. As a consequence, we have a miscellaneous mix this week.

Gruesome SentenceFirst card is Gruesome Sentence.

I hope flavor talk for itself here. Thanks to this fairly cheap spell, you can either prevent an enemy creature from attacking or turn one of your own into a deadly wall.

If you use this aura on an opponent’s creature, admittedly it still gets deathtouch but it’s the price to pay for modularity. On a big one though it pretty much just says “can’t attack”.

I hope you like the flavor of turning someone into a scarecrow, I sure do myself!

Keeper of GalesKeeper of Gales is an illustration I just had to make into a card.

Hope you can see that he has a dragon on a leash which is totally badass, and called for an adaptation of Old Man of the Sea.

This ability is incredibly narrow though, so I needed to make him do something else. I opted for fairly good French Vanilla stats, for simplicity’s sake.

Haste will go pretty well with his first ability, but my dream was for once to make a card that could be played in cube and I don’t think I quite got there…

It is good to be back! I have quite a few designs sitting in my vault so the next few weeks should come nice and easy. I was very happy giving away prices to the participants of my contest so one last time thank you all for participating. I will be seeing you again next week for more adventures.

Have a good one!