Fusion Dance

What’s up everybody, welcome to episode 163 of Ominous Designs. Today we are going to look at a mechanic I have thought up a couple of weeks ago: fuse for creatures. If you think about it there isn’t really any reason you couldn’t fuse creatures on a double card the same way we already do for spells. This opens up a deep pocket of design space, so let’s see what we can do with it.

steadfast-captainSteadfast Captain // Hardened Captain

As you can see, on first glance this Dwarf creature will let you chose between a 1/3 vigilance for one and a white and a 3/1 trample for two red mana. Both are acceptable choices depending on the conditions you are facing, albeit not all that often in the same type of deck.
What really makes the card different though is that you can also chose to pay 1WRR for a 4/4 vigilance trample. It’s a bit of a weird creature but if you are lucky enough to have the mana on turn 4 or 5 it should be nice and serviceable.
The fact that you have a choice between the three configuration is what makes the card fun, though it turned out harder than I originally thought to make both sides acceptable at the same time as their merge version not too powerful. If anything I erred on the underpowered side of the fence for the later.

hopeful-druidHopeful Druid // Cloistered Druid

Now we’re starting to really have some fun. Admittedly Hopeful Druid is a bit too wordy but I couldn’t resist making a Golgari card that would make the milling and get-from-graveyard mechanics interacting with each other. I did so by creating an underpowered Satyr Wayfinder coming along with a weird 2/1 recycler alter-ego.
If you put those two together, get a 3/3 for 2GB that will possibly get you a land from the top 3 cards of your library, then make sure you retrieve whatever you might have thrown away by mistake into your graveyard or maybe even another more valuable creature that you already had in there.
I don’t think our Druid is perfectly tuned by any means but this should get the conversation started as I think there is a lot of potential in that sort of dynamic. Just make sure you write the abilities in as few words as possible!

That will do it for the week. As is almost always the case, I am glad to be opening a new design space with cool enough designs and more importantly inspiring food for thoughts for more cards to be created. I believe it is easily the case here and I am sure we could come up with a ton of creative creatures using this mechanic. Do let me know if you make some.

Regardless, I hope you enjoyed those, but it’s time to say bye for now. I’ll see you next week and until then have fun 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!

Planswalker Corner

Hello everybody, welcome to Ominous Designs episode 126. I had to improvise a recording on Monday night again, and it turned out to be the most catastrophic of all episodes! You can check out the video and see by yourself, though fortunately not all the issues I encountered ended up on this week’s episode.

I do have a theme for today – as ever so subtly evoked in the title – and that theme is Planeswalkers.

Kal Guardian of the SparkKal, Guardian of the Spark.

After I came up with the theme, I quickly thought of doing something similar to Sylvan Advocate.
I immediately fell in love with the idea, even though there just aren’t that many planeswalker that can turn into creatures.
In addition to them being red and white, – namely Gideon and Sarkhan – I felt they could potentially be green in the future, hence Kal’s colors. I also think that the ability itself feels green.

Worth noting too, I decivded a base of 4/4 with Trample is acceptable for a legendary 3 color card.

Keht Void IncarnateKeht, Void Incarnate.
Here is our weirdest card of the day, possibly week, month and year. I wanted to make a Planeswalker with a bunch of zeros and found the execution of that to be extremely challenging. The result is a less than satisfying card, but some interesting things to think about.

It is hard making a “minus” ability with a cost of 0, as you can’t bound its power. This turns Keht into a 4 mana unconditional removal that might stick around, which is already very strong.
The “ultimate” is the same deal: hard to define and to balance, ultimately cute but mostly functional.

As I said, our cards today are the byproducts of urgency and how little time I had for the article. The “zero themed” planeswalker was definitely something I would have to work hard and a long time on to make work. The result is definitely lacking, but in a way I am happy with how far we got in a relatively short time.

This weeks designs are still definitely worth considering and thinking about, so I hope you enjoyed them for what they are. Now is time to say see you next week, and have a good one!

Doing Several Things

Hi everyone, it’s good to be back! Those holidays were long and eventful and I am now here to resume our little weekly habit. I am somewhat rushed today as per that other habit of mine – work – but I’ll do my best to entertain! We are going to get right down to it though, as today we are looking at Instants that do several things, and as it turns out they both contain the Izzet colors.

Ward Against AllFirst is Ward Against All.

The idea came to me that we could have counterspell and misdirection in the same card.
What prevents this card from being too powerful is that there aren’t that many opportunities to have two targets for both sides of the spell. Correct me if I’m wrong but I am not aware of Double Negative being a staple.

What I just realized though, is that the mere flexibility of doing either one effect might be very good. Do you think it’s too much for a 4 mana counterspell? My gut feel is that it’s not.

Master the ArtsMaster the Arts.

This one comes from the cute idea to have a tempo spell / combat trick / removal doing a little bit of an effect for each colors of the Jeskai clan.

For the low low price of RWB you will get to deal 2 damage, bounce and tap up to 3 respective targets. I think the main contention point here is to be able to remove a small creature and bounce another one for only three mana. On the top of my head I can only think of Far/Away or Silumgar’s Command doing that for at least one extra mana, but not three colors! Is that a deal breaker?

I would be interested in hearing your opinions on the power level for both cards so don’t hesitate to let me know on any outlet of your choosing – Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc. Now though, is time to get back to work, it’s like I never left!

I hope you are all doing as good as when I left, I will see you again next week for article #119. Have a great one!


Pick Me!

Hey all! Welcome to Bullzzai, November 11th edition. This week we are going to look at a couple build-around-me card. From two different formats, but you are about to see that so might as well get to it.

Rethik Scout InstructorRethik Scout Instructor is our first card, and has been inspired by the Remaking Magic podcast contest.

The idea is that this guy would be a limited build around uncommon, giving you a good incentive to draft more haste and first strike creatures. First strike can be a great ability to have in red, as many creatures have a greater power than toughness.

My first idea was actually to have scout be a red card that only gives first strike to haste creatures, but I couldn’t resist the symmetry of having it go both ways and be a Boros card.

Ylhen Flamefeather WhispererYlhen, Flamefeather Whisperer.
This one is a top-down design, one I love the flavour of. Phoenixes are undying birds made of fire, right? What if we had a legendary creature resurrecting birds into phoenixes? This one begs to become your new commander.
What should a phoenix token be though… I played around with haste but it didn’t make much sense after a death trigger, so I settled for a dragon-like token.
Weirdly enough, the hardest part was to pick a color for this creature. I start with Gruul colors, but had to somehow force white and blue as those are the bird colors in magic…

And that does it for today! Hope you enjoyed this week’s food for thoughts, this one in particular might inspire you some combos, deck and other creations as this is what build-around designs are made for!

Time for me to stop talking Magic custom designs and start… Well working, really. See you next week!

All About The Mana

Good day to you all. Anyone wants to make an educated guess about today’s topic? Here is a “Dora” silence for you to give your answer…

Yes, you are correct! Today we are going to make Mana. But no land card this time! Instead, we are going to look at a fetch land spell and a creature that makes mana in an unusual way. First, the spell.

Find ParadiseFind Paradise. This week’s article originated with a classic case of “let’s try and make a spell known for having limited use a little bit broader”.

Here, I want to make a fetch land – notoriously helpful at the start of the game –  a little more relevant in the later turns.

For that, Find Paradise is going to give you a life for each land you control, which should be better and even somewhat relevant later on.
Obviously the upside isn’t tremendous and I did make it a 3 mana sorcery, but I didn’t try for a constructed playable. I like it ok in limited though.

Next is Xalen Order FanaticXalen Order Fanatic. Or Fanatic of the Xalen Order, I wasn’t too sure.

I started thinking about making mana for red cards, and I figured that getting one to use on combat tricks could be a good idea. Little did I know that Radha, Heir to Keld  existed already.

From there, I thought it could be nice to have it be a symmetrical attack AND block ability, still for combat tricks, which led me to white.
Now, the 2/2 for 2 in red I originally thought was fine for rare, but I don’t think that card is rare any more, so it might need to be a 2/1.

That makes two designs! As every week I’m sure the designs need some ironing out but I like the concepts a lot. I most definitely am more of the creative kind and less development oriented, but with work and play-test I’m sure we can get to a correct balance for those.

That wraps it up for today. Coming up on article 99 and 100, I hope you are enjoying those as much as I do! I’ll see you next week, have a good one.

Nayan Gold

Hi all. Good old last minute article this week, but this time with a twist! After getting a couple of designs out from my vault to make into cards, I found a theme, which brought us to a bonus third one. Ready to see all of them?

Rethik Combat TrainerRethik Combat Trainer I meant to make into a card for a while. I wanted a creature that enables all your guys to start fighting on demand, and RCT does just that.

Well, not only. First, I thought it would be reasonable to balance it with a +1/-1 clause for a more recklessly aggressive effect.

Secondly, I figured I might want something a little splashier for the trainer himself so I gave him the over costed “shotgun” ability you can see there. Does he seem fun to you? What about the power balance?

Aevis Guardian of the CitadelAevis, Guardian of the Citadel. Here is a pretty legendary creature now. And by pretty I really mean badass.

For a while I wanted to make a card similar to Gaddock Teeg, helping small creatures and hindering bigger ones. I figured basing it on power and toughness then modifying those would be a nightmare, so I went for converted mana cost instead.
Fun story, I thought of making her a sweet token helper, as Selesnya doesn’t really have that, but I ended up removing the ability when I opted for a good and cheap body.

Kerathan WarlordAnd now for our bonus round: Kerathan Warlord.

When I discovered this week’s theme would be Naya two color combinations, I quickly came up with a simple and beefy design for the Gruul clan.

Our warlord is big, and she hits hard. 6/6 trample for 5 isn’t too shabby but not too crazy either, especially considering our friend Sagu Mauler.

The deathtouch part I mostly added because the design still felt a little too vanilla for my liking but I could easily see removing it. What do you think, is it a case of “less is more”?

That wraps it up for today! Fun times as usual, gold cards are pretty aren’t they? The more I make designs, the more I want to create more good commons and uncommons but today was a fine escape from that – not that I have been following my new common new diet too strictly recently anyways.

I hope you enjoyed them, let me know what you think over here or on facebook, twitter, Imgur or reddit. Time for me to say see you next time, and have a great week!

A Knight in the Mist

That’s it, I’m switching to creative titles! How do you make up one for two randomly themed designs anyways? As you will see, this week’s cards mostly add up to this. Let’s not wait any longer and just get to it.

Rethik KnightRethik Knight is, well, the Knight part; you might have guessed.

It’s a very simple design, that I probably don’t need to explain for too long. That being said I’m surprised nothing of the sort was ever printed.

As far as power balance goes, I think it’s fine. It fares ok among other RW creatures, and is possibly slightly underwhelming compared to very similar ones like Wojek Halberdiers, which is why I made him common.
After further consideration though, I mostly think it’s good enough for uncommon.

Long Awaited RainNow for the Mist. Long Awaited Rain isn’t quite a mist actually, but if you are a Magic veteran you will know that its core mechanic is called a fog effect.

I really like this instant. I think it would become one of the commonly disregarded yet more powerful than given credit for designs in limited. That type of cards tend to not get much love there.
I have noticed a tendency from Wizards to create some limited playable fog effects though, I hope this would be one of them.

You could use it as a buff, a fog, and even a removal if you are lucky enough. Fun times.

This was all pretty straight forward, yes? One thing I wanted to do was simpler, limited oriented designs. I think I might have still erred somewhat, in the sense that I couldn’t quite produce obvious commons but still, close enough. I’m pretty happy with how things turned out this week.

I hope you enjoyed those, I will be back next week for more! Have a good one.

Life Always Finds a Way

Hi everyone. You might have guessed, another week without work on Monday and I mistook Thursday for Wednesday again! Sorry for the delay, everything should come back to normal now. Our theme this week is going to be life gain. Two designs came to me in a short succession. I wasn’t particularly trying to fill a contract but they are still linked by the fact that they will tend to make your life total go up.

Searing LightOur first card is Searing Light, which to my great surprise isn’t a used name already – probably too many other searing things existing.

I was thinking about Soulfire Grand Master, and how we now know that Instants and Sorceries can have lifelink but aren’t printed with it yet.

For some reason I ended up falling in the middle and made a spell that grants lifelink to others, much like grand master. Unless I misunderstand the rules Searing Light shouldn’t have lifelink itself, hence not be strictly better than Lightning Helix, which would be completely dumb.

Gereth Archbishop of DolnGereth, Archbishop of Doln is a typical design gone out of control. My initial idea was to make the life stealing ability, quite obviously.

I first opted for creating a white bear which is something I’m defaulting to too often, I can now see that. But then I decided to make it black as well, and found this illustration that I felt was calling for a legendary creature. Two abilities later, we have ourselves a tiny bomb.

I think I could have made this card a bigger creature with more interesting abilities, since it’s a legendary mythic.

I’m still happy with the way the designs turned out, especially the instant. It would make for an interesting constructed card, but not overpowered either unless I’m missing something. I doubt so, seeing that Soulfire Grand Master can already do the same things.

I hope you enjoyed the article! I’ll be seeing you next week, this time on Wednesday. Have a great week!

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