Fusion

Hello everybody! Welcome to Ominous Designs episode 157. Today we are making some fuse cards. I am going to keep the design that inspired me with this theme for the end, so that we can start with an uncommon and then do a rare. Shall we get started?

lockLock // Key

Incidentally, I made my second design based on names that I found on some wikipedia entry. – siamese twins names, a very useful one – It is also my favourite design of the week. It is simple, elegant and probably well balanced as well as powerful!
There isn’t too much to say about it, except I did consider using the detain mechanic because it and fuse are both native to the plane of Ravnica. But since Lock is meant to be a tempo play, I wasn’t too fond of having it last two players’ turns. By tuning its power level a bit that way, I could also make sure that 3 mana would be reasonable for the two effects, making it much closer to Artful Dodge than you might think, though it does have the upside of a possible use defensively. – albeit not to the greatest effect –
Like I said I quite like the card, so I hope you do too!

aliveAlive // Kicking

The concept of putting a creature into play and having the possibility of making it fight was in my vault for quite some time. I didn’t know it would turn into a fuse card but it is quite fitting now. The tricky part was to balance it.
On one hand Alive is just about a reprint of Dramatic Entrance, and on the other Kicking is even closer to Pit Fight. I lean on the fact that both of those original cards are good but I hope not so good that they can’t be put together if I throw in two very slight mana downsides. I am not aware of Dramatic Entrance being used outside of commander and Pit Fight outside of Limited, so my take is that I have made Alive // Kicking slightly better than those two in their respective formats, which might just be fine.
Some time this morning, – I believe it was one of those shower thoughts – I realized that Alive was already the name for an existing fuse card, half of Alive // Well. What can you do… I’m sure there is another name out there for our design.

It’s been fun making fuse cards! Give me your thoughts on those, I think the rare is acceptable and I am rather excited with Lock // Key.

I X U

Hello everybody, I am happy to have you for episode 155 of Ominous Designs. Today we are going to review another couple of designs from my personal vault, both of which happen to cost 1 generic mana, 1 blue, and one of another color of mana – hence the title. Let’s start with red and an izzet instant.

multiply-angles Multiply Angles

This one is similar to something I did a couple of weeks ago, and its main goal is to finally bring us a spell that could copy either a creature or an instant or sorcery. I could be wrong, but I don’t think it has been done before!

I did want to keep the spell cheap, and I also had in mind a particular way I could make both sides of the spell weaker, with a Phantasmal Image downside or the ability for your opponent to counter the spell. It makes for an interesting and flexible package overall, but hard to evaluate without play.

jara-azorius-representativeJara, Azorius Representative
This one started with hearing someone complain about Dovin Baan. I set out to create my own cheap Azorius planeswalker, and it came quickly clear that I wanted an ultimate that would mirror Sphinx’s Revelation and a minus ability that would detain.

3 might actually be a little cheap, especially since the plus ability technically could protect it as well. It might be the case that Jara should come into play with 2 loyalty counters or cost 4, I just wanted to push the sphinx a bit. I also wish I found an illustration for Isperia – Azorius guildmaster – that would work here.

That is all for the day! As usual I hope you enjoy the designs and I invite you to provide feedback on the social outlet of your preference. I will be off now and until next week for episode 156.

See you then, and play responsibly!

Breeding Pool

Hello again everybody, and welcome for episode 154 of Ominous Designs. This week I am putting on my mad scientist hat and proudly bring you a Zompire and a Spidrit! What are those you might ask, an air of incredulity on your face and a vague sense of fear taking over you? Well, why don’t we just have a look?

kelh-val-deathless-overseerKehl Val, Deathless Overseer

This, my friends, is a Zompire. As it turns out none of his kind ever saw print before. What a shame.

In substance, a pretty simple mashup of +1/+1 mechanics, related to both the zombie nation – coming back from graveyards – and the vampire family – getting bigger when hitting a player apparently is a vampire thing.

The power level is quite high, but for a 4 mana 3/3 legendary creature, it should be fine. The abilities exist on commons 2-3 drops after all.

lothna-hauntweaverLothna, Hauntweaver

Now I’m introducting the Spider Spirit! First one as well. Quite a gorgeous creature.

I had a harder time, here. It is in fact not easy to find common ground between two creature types that are mainly defined by having either flying or reach. I decided to give pseudo-flying to my spiders so that everyone has some evasion, and tried my best to reward creatures for connecting with an opponent by awarding them new tokens.
I am just sorry the end result takes 9 lines of text, because I really like most of the ideas in there.

What do you say? Would you ever create a zombie/vampire or spirit/spider commander deck? Seems to me that would open the door to some fun combinations. I reckon this is the kind of casual fun that commander players love to build around. You tell me!

Now is time to say goodbye though. I wish you all a great thanksgiving and hope you can relax and enjoy some family and a ton of food. I’ll do that as well and I shall see you next week. Play responsibly!

 

Remaking Magic

Hello everybody, welcome to episode 149 or Ominous Designs. Today we are going to set on a mission to fix some of the most powerful and what some might say broken designs of older days of Magic the Gathering. Our two patients – victims? – are Shahrazad and Umezawa’s Jitte.

story-timeStory Time
What makes it so that Shahrazad is banned in all formats? In great part it is that it takes forever to play games within games. To make it faster, Story Time’s subgame ends as soon as one life or one creatures is lost, each player can keep a creature to start, and life totals are not changed. This should allow us to use a simpler reward for the winner, like an extra turn and some life.
I now realize do that first part being triggered ability breaks the design – a player can still remove a creature in response to the trigger and win the subgame – which needs to be addressed. Maybe making it a cast trigger would work?

kondas-tachiKonda’s Tachi

This one is pretty straightforward. Of course keeping counters on the equipment itself is great, but what makes Umezawa’s Jitte truly ridiculous is the fact that it depends on combat damage to anything, creature or player, and that it creates two counters each time. In fact, only getting one counter each turn when hitting a player, probably makes Konda’s Tachi slightly under powered.

If it is, we can easily fix that by adding some evasion to the equipment itself – skulk, trample? – and/or perhaps tweaking the modes.

I am happy with the equipment but I wish I had noticed the issue with our new Shahrazad earlier. There is a chance using a cast trigger fixes most of the issues and at the end of the day, an abusable 5 mana card that gives you an extra turn isn’t the end of the world unless it’s recursive. The biggest downside remains that the design is still very wordy and sometimes might still make the game last a fair bit longer.

That’s it for the week, I will see you next time for the big 150! I hope you are as excited as I am. I have more than one surprise in store for you, so you should tune in to the Responsible Gaming channel to see the live episode next Tuesday night, around 7PM PST.

See you in seven days and until then, play responsibly!

 

Planeswalker Appreciation Week

Hey all! Welcome to Ominous Designs episode 119, as per – recent – usual available on Youtube for your viewing pleasure. This week we are going to play around Planeswalkers, which should definitely be an enjoyable ride. Wanna get started?

Watchful FamiliarOur first card is Watchful Familiar, and it features the new mechanic Disciple.

As you can see Disciple cares about you controlling a planeswalker at your upkeep. I opted for that particular template so that I could open the mechanic to multiple types of triggers, – such as dealing damage, draw cards, any type of effect really, but this also means that the toughness boost here will have to be until end of turn, each turn.

A 2/2 flying vigilance that turns into a 2/4 and gains you life a turn sounds exiting for 3, isn’t it?

Domesticated WurmDedicated Wurm.

Wurms are out of fashion but I am actually a huge fan of them. I even have a small collection I brought back from home after my last holidays!

This one is very powerful and if you do control a plainswalker – notably not the most frequent thing to have happen in those colors – you will get an even bigger pet, as it will virtually be a 6/5 trampler thanks to the free damage. At the very least it will actually be a 5/5, which isn’t too shabby.

For some reason I really like it! Hope you do too.

And now for a little bonus, I present to you Tibalt, Nephalian Outcast.

Tibalt Nephalian Outcast

Isn’t he pretty? If I learned one thing from making that card, it’s that double face planeswalkers are truly hard to balance. One thing I really wanted for him is to be as close as possible to a sorcery speed Terminate with ‘planeswalker upside”. This is what we achieve with the first -2. Both +1 are mostly kind of cute and such is the -3 on the flip side, and there is a reason with that. If a 2 drop planeswalker isn’t actively bad, – see original Tibalt – it really needs to be kept in check in terms of power level. Turn two is so early to drop a planeswalker that actually does something, legacy would have so much fun dropping it on turn 1…

For the 0 ability, the one that transforms Tibalt, I was into the idea of having it be the same on both sides, in great part for simplicity reasons. Now getting a -1/-1 counter every turn on a 2 loyalty planeswalker, is that too much? I’m having a hard time telling but it think it might be.

It was a good week, wasn’t it? Hope you enjoyed the designs. One thing is sure though, it took me a while to make the live episode! That was also because I came in with little to no idea about the cards I would make, but if you enjoy almost an hour of card making you’ll get a treat this week. Either way, let me know what you think about those, I will talk to you again in seven days. Have a good one!

Mana Mana Mana

…Batman? Nevermind. As it turns out there was another subject I haven’t dealt with this year, and not that much since the beginning of this blog either: it’s making mana. At large, mana producing isn’t the biggest space in magic cards design – you don’t want to get too fancy with it and instead rely on good old basic lands – but it’s definitely an interesting area to explore.

Lucky you, this week you are getting an artifact – what we call a mana rock – and a full cycle of 10 two-color lands! Let’s check those out right away.

Eye of KerathAs you can see Eye of Kerath is the mana stone.

I was wondering what kind of card could be made, using for downside that producing mana of any color would let an opponent draw a card. I believe a free artifact might be it!

Now to keep this card in check, there are a couple things to look at: would the modern deck Affinity play it? What about Storm? Lastly, how does it impact Legacy? Commander?
I think we are mostly safe on all fronts, but just in case I wanted to experiment with making it legendary. I wonder why it was hardly ever done.

Citadel RuinsNw for the big cycle. Citadel Ruins is the first land I created.

My main idea was to make a cycle of dual lands with a color making you lose life, but the other one gaining you some back.

My biggest worry was that the downside wouldn’t be great enough, and soon that you would find yourself with a bunch of lands gaining you life every turn.

You are looking at my second iteration. It would still need work and testing, as we need a strong incentive to not just play 12 of those is every deck!

Do tell me what you think of those. Now I’ll be leaving you with the full cycle of those beautiful lands, hope you will enjoy them. It’s been tons of fun working on their flavor; I wasn’t really set to make a cycle but I could help myself in the end.

I’ll be talking to you next week, until then have a good one!

Cursed Crater

 

 

 

 

 

Frozen Necropolis

Hexed Jungle Highfalls Castle Marsh Road Raging Peak Rethik Academy Rumination Pool Woods Edge Temple

Enabling the Broods

Being literal makes for interesting titles, I guess. Want to hear about how busy I am these days?… Right, so let’s get right to it then! What I meant by enabling the broods was that this week we are going to look at three cards that work well – hopefully – with the mechanics from three factions from Dragons of Tarkir, namely the broods of Silumgar, Kolaghan and Ojutai. I’m playing nice and saying the names this time but to be honest the broods are so close to the former Khans and their names are so equally complicated that I don’t think they will stick much at all.

Silumgar ShamblerSo our first card is Silumgar Shambler, and it is meant to enable Exploit. If you don’t know Exploit – check out those cards – it’s pretty simple: sacrifice a creature, get an effect. And what’s better for this than three expandable creatures? Very little, really.

Easy enough to see three creatures for 3 manas is a great deal, but I can’t imagine why it would be too good. Compared to something as simple as Hordeling Outburst or even Sprouting Thrinax it doesn’t seem so crazy, though I get that mana cost makes a difference. If anything being in the colors of exploit makes it that much better, then again same goes for Youthful Scholar.

Temur FlexerAnd now on to fancier designs! First is Temur Flexer.

Let’s be clear here. I don’t care how plausible the creature is, I just love the idea. A creature whose sole role is to enable Formidable? Sounds fun. A boasting warrior with 0 and only action to raise it all the way to 8, just to do nothing with it? Hilarious.

To be honest I think this might be an ok design! Of course it can be “broken”. But does a two card 8 damage combo with summoning sickness – Fling – make it not ok? Hardly. Show me something more broken and I will believe you!

Master of EchoesMaster of Echoes. Now that is the fanciest design of all!
In case you haven’t picked it up after reading the overly complicated text on this monk, it is meant to enable Ojutai’s favourite ability, Rebound.
The idea is that right after you play a rebound spell from exile, – the second time – it will stay exile for you to cast a third time, thanks to the master. Kinda like skipping rocks! Obviously this makes for a complicated mechanic, and possibly breakable, but as far as I can tell solid and elegant enough.
Note that I have no idea how I got so lucky on the illustration, it’s like Ugin is on that sweet picture!

Good stuff? I think so. Those designs are obviously a little ham fisted, as I really tried to push the respective mechanics, but all in all it worked out fine for us. The shambler’s design was a little flat, but the space explored by the two others was really interesting. They might need some fixing but I’m happy I came out with both.

I hope you enjoyed all of this, I’ll see you next week for some more! Have a good one.