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!

 

 

Advertisements

No Favoritism

Hello everyone, hope you are doing mighty fine as we enter episode 162 of Ominous Designs. Today we are again going to look at simple and mostly elegant designs, a trend that makes me quite happy. The mechanic at play is enter the battlefield triggers offering a modular choice that will affect both players the same, hence the title.

abjudicator-of-the-law Abjudicator of the Law

Our first card is the genesis of the mechanic. A very straight forward design that might look purely fair even though good players know that giving someone the choice to move both needles 3 life points up or down is actually a great power.
I think putting this on a 3/3 body for 3 mana makes for an excellent limited card.

I hope people won’t complain too much about making a non regenerating skeleton, this one does a good job of selling himself like the knight, immovable deliverer of the law he his.

harbinger-of-the-law Harbinger of the Law

I have a little cute theme going on with the names here. Harbinger holds the second most obvious effect I could find that would benefit both players the same, as well as grant a simple choice of doing one thing or its opposite: draw or discard cards.

I also think that in the right hands, the opportunity to make both players have one extra card or one less is rather powerful.
When it comes on a 2/2 flyer for 3, you can’t really complain. This one was meant to be a specter though, my bad.

manifestation-of-the-lawManifestation of the Law

Bonus round! I couldn’t help but try and apply the mechanic to green, but it made me go to less obvious and elegant abilities.

You can really play around the targeting triggers for this one, and attempt to either make the card very one sided, or plan best you can to get a better advantage than your opponent will. Also note that when played on its own, it can be a terrible -1/-1 spell or a 3/2 deathtouch for 2 that gives your opponent a counter. Not bad on turn two if they don’t have a creature! I meant for it to be a zombie.

Three cards again, huh? Lucky you. Do let me know what you thought of those and if you can come up with similar cards for a cycle. Fun fact is that all of those are two color black creatures, but I couldn’t come up with something that would suit a red black variation.

That is all for today, time to say have a great week, see you next time and play responsibly!

Shiny Things

Hello everybody, welcome to episode number 135 of Ominous Designs. Today I have two very different cards that have one thing in common: they are gold.

Keeper of ThornsFirst Keeper of Thorns.

I danced around this one for a while. The idea was to enable a Mana dork to produce up to two mana every turn, of different colors and for one life each.
I toyed with the untap symbol but it was too hard to make not broken, as untapping for mana isn’t a good idea.
I also tried to separate abilities with a “only once a turn as a sorcery” writer but that was too messy.

I’ve been very split on the power level of this card but I think Joraga Treespeaker tells us it is ok, possibly even at uncommon.

Xeral Betrayal IncarnateAnd now a huge three-colored Demon Wizard: I present to you Xeral, Betrayal Incarnate.

The main idea was to punish players for stealing permanents but I figured such a narrow ability should come with the second one.

I came up with the idea of exchanging creatures. Xeral now has a lot of potential, especially in multiplayer and it also comes with the danger of hurting yourself, has all demons should. I usually try to stay away from huge Timmy designs but I find myself wishing I could try that one out in a game of Commander. It looks like a ton of fun.

And that’s it for the day! This time I was hoping to have an easier time implementing my creative concepts than is ultimately turned out. It wasn’t so bad though and I’m ok with the results. I hope you enjoyed and that I will get good feedback on tweaking and balancing them.

Now it’s time to say see you next week and have a great 4th of July weekend!

Snap Snap

Hi everyone. Welcome to a new episode of From the Vault: Custom Designs. I came up with this theme a week or two ago, which feels a bit like cheating compared to me scrambling for ideas to write this week’s article but it really shouldn’t.

The theme in question is trying to add colors to a Snapcaster Mage cycle. In case you didn’t know there is already a Dualcaster Mage in red. It is a tasty card, even though not as powerful as his blue cousin but let’s be honest, we DO NOT want that anyways. One all-formats powerhouse is enough for now. We will look into Golgari colors today, let’s start with black.

Ghastcaster MageGhastcaster Mage.

What should a black creature do with your graveyard? Reanimate creatures!
This one was plain obvious to me and the main remaining goal was to make it not broken. Using Ojutai’s Command as base I figured we were safe but looking at Gravedigger I am wondering…

This one is a rare with a different mana cost and a restriction on the target so I’m still not fully certain. One thing is sure though, it has a crazy interaction with Snapcaster, in a way that reminds me of Shouta Yasooka’s Eternal Command deck.

Thorncaster MageThorncaster Mage.
When trying to make a green creature for this cycle that wasn’t Eternal Witness, I naturally gravitated around land reanimation. I had to push my design enough so that it wasn’t worse than witness though, hence the idea that it could put the land directly onto the battlefield.

This would provide ramp when used with fetch lands, which I now realize would also mean you have to lose life again. I didn’t want this card to be an instant speed ramp that comes with a body for only 3, but looking at all the restrictions on it I now wonder… Thoughts anyone?

Those are it! Green and black snapcasters would probably revolve around similar themes I have used today though I think they would definitely need balancing. Do let me know if you have other ideas about what those could be, as well as inspirations for a white one if you can come up with it!

Now is time for me to wish you a great week and say goodbye. Until next week!

 

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!

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

The Last Clan

How Ominous. Well as it turns out it was a fine idea taking care of those 5 clans as soon as possible. This week we are tackling the last of them and this Saturday is the pre-release of Dragons of Tarkir, where all the clans are gone for good! I’m reasonably excited for the pre-release, as it is becoming one of my main if not my most important interaction with a new set these days. I’m not as much into the idea of the two-color broods and craptons of dragons, but I’m sure it’ll still be fun.

As I mentioned, now is the time to talk about clan number 5, which turns out to be Abzan. We are going to do so with a planeswalker and a creature. Abzan hasn’t really been missing on much as it had a plethora of amazing cards in the first two sets of the Tarkir block, but let’s see what we can make anyways.

Abzan Leech LordAbzan Leech Lord is here to provide us with another “+1/+1 counters matter”, one that cares about holding the fort – and by that I mean blocking.
I pushed its stats a bit, and its effect is semi splashy so I might have made him a rare.
On the other hand I’m not sure the overall power level is a lot above an uncommon, so I decided to go that route in the end.

In reality if he is too powerful as is, we can change its cost, base power and toughness or outlast cost, hence making him into a normal non-rare, so I’m not too worried.
Diane Warrior AscendedDiane, Warrior Ascended is our last Tarkir Planeswalker.
I don’t know that any of her abilities is correctly balanced, but I love the idea behind all of them. The first one is a lot in flavor for Abzan, Outlast and even Anafenza or Dragonscale General, and is a welcome twist on a Ajani-dominated +1 counters theme.
-2 is my attempt at “great protection through creatures”, which Abzan should be able to pull off. Diane’s ultimate finally brings in the warriors, again with hopefully one of the best defense you could need. Admittedly it’s not infinite Krakens, but it’s also a pretty cheap ultimate.
I think we have another case of very fun designs with probably more development work needed on them. As usual this doesn’t surprise me, as design is fun, and balancing is hard! Playtest is just mandatory for that, and obviously I don’t have time for that kind of things, as I do have a real job. I’m still please with today’s designs, more so than with the ones from the Mardu clan the previous week.
I hope you liked them too, I’ll be seeing you next week with a whole new article theme. Until then have a great week and a great pre-release! Dragonspeed.