Confidence

Hi all! I have some news this week, let’s get right into it.

main_1First I wanted to give an update about my app‘s new design. Here it is! As you can see our first task has been to redesign the top level menu.

How do you like it? We are pretty happy with it. Details might still get changed – like fonts or spacing – but this is the idea.

I think the icons are great, and so is the black and white version of the logo.

The idea is that everything will be white and transparent white, and the background color will change.

Bxg-tw2CMAARDI_Second news is I went to ticketfly offices this weekend and participated their 24 player Return to Ravnica block sealed event. I made 2nd place and won an original Dark Confidant!

As you can see in the picture I made a Sultai deck – also known as BUG – and I am fairly satisfied with the way I played as well. 5-0 until the finals!

Keeper of the Sacred GardenWhich gave me the idea for the card of week: Keeper of the Sacred Garden.

I’m sure you can see that this guy is a green adaptation of confidant. I feel mixed about its power level, seeing that it works like Dark Confidant when it doesn’t cost any life. You might say it’s a best case scenario, but confidant wants you to draw cards all the time! Powerful ones.

So it might not be that crazy powerful. I can also think of it as a tiny Courser of Kruphix, with no upside of gaining life, and no downside of revealing all your cards or being an enchantment.

Fun stuff, isn’t it? Next week, we will have passed Khans of Tarkir pre-release, so if you haven’t seen the spoilers yet, you might want to! We will see if those inspire designs… Until then, have a great week!

2014 Design Contest Finals

Here we are, the finals of the contest we started two weeks ago. Binding Ritual and Lord of Lambholt won the previous round with respectively over 84% and 58%. I guess the pairings on the first was fairly unlucky since it was a crashing victory. More popular designs might have lost in the previous round. That being said it’s not the most surprising Forges of Insanity lost, it was a pretty simple dual land design – so maybe not the most exciting. It’s time to elect the best design of last year now, so let’s have a last look at them in their latest updated version:

LambholtLord of Lambholt
If you remember the original post, this was my attempt at creating a vampire lord in the vein of Mayor of Avabruck.
Obviously the design isn’t print ready, but I think it could have led to some great human / vampire fun in Innistrad. Kinda makes you want to try and build a tribal deck, doesn’t he?

Binding RitualBinding Ritual

Quite troublesome to adapt to the new Banisher Priest template, since I could’t say “opponent loses life and you gain life until…”. You have to explain what happens then. At least my solution enables you to steal life to a player and give it back to another in a multiplayer game!

This design was very popular, which had to be expected, as similar cards also are, and this one is a tasty twist on Detention Sphere, including a significant drawback – it can only target creatures and not permanents.

Come on and vote now! I know which one’s my favorite, but I won’t tell! Instead I’m going to slip in a design that I’ve posted on a my new mild obsession: the subreddit /r/custommagic. They have lots of great designers and regular contests on there, you should really have a look!

Soul of RavnicaSoul of Ravnica – I wish the name wasn’t taken.
I got inspired by a contest to redesign all the souls from M15 and make more. I couldn’t stay on topic though, as I felt an intense urge to merge every single of the 10 guilds in an Avatar creature.

And they are all here! I’m particularly happy I could merge Battalion, Detain and Populate, and that I could add Instant and Sorcery effects. Making sense for those wasn’t easy, especially on a creature. You might need to zoom to see…

Obviously it’s wacky, but I love it. Check out this Bullzzai expansion symbol too!

That’s it for this week! I’m starting to feel the need for some holidays very soon, so we will see if that impacts the pace of my publications. No matter what I will come back next week for the final result of 2014 design contest!

Quick shoutout to Anthony Milano who plays at my local shop Endgame of Oakland, and went all the way to Top 8 of a 400 person Pro Tour Qualifier this weekend! Seems he was playing some variant of Junk midrange, since I’m seeing Tarmogoyf, Liliana of the Veil, Dark Confidant, and Lingering Souls. Congrats for the great achievement!

Over and out, have a great week!

Manalicious

Welcome again, hope you had a great weekend! I have a quick announcement to make: in just over 7 weeks, this blog will be a year old! I’ll try and think of something to celebrate!

As promised now, we are going to take a look at the last 5 of this dual land series, the ones corresponding to enemy color combinations: Boros, Golgari, Izzet, Orzhov and Simic. Let’s get started!

borosImperiled Village.

I’ve been looking for innovative downsides in this series, and most of the time I’m trying to figure out something that the corresponding guild is going to be able to take advantage of. Well Boros can make sure they have some agents – typo alert, I meant power 2 or less – protecting this village, so that you don’t have to sacrifice it.

Note the alternate “do this or the land is destroyed” template, which is different from “downside when entering the battlefield” or “either downside or enters tapped”.

golgariMarsh Shrine is following third template.

Golgari specialty being to fill their own graveyard, putting cards back into their library shouldn’t be too hard. That being said it’s pretty hard to insure it will be possible, – as taught by Innistrad zombies – so let’s make sure failing this condition will only cause the shrine to enter tapped.

Keep in mind that moving cards from your library to the graveyard back and forth can easily help create crazy combos – see Life from the Loam.

 

izzet Dragon’s Cliffs.

I have pushed creativity to the extent where the template of that card becomes slightly over complicated. Basically, the izzet dual land will inflict you one damage when coming into play, – untapped – and one more if you don’t use it right away.

What it ends up meaning, is that you don’t have a choice but play it untapped, – as opposed to Steam Vents – and if you can’t make a use of it, it will cost you the full price. Less choice, but higher upside.
orzhovEverdark Ghost Town.
Very similar idea here. Unlike with shocklands, you don’t chose whether this one will enter tapped or not, and the cost is slightly different than usual. Instead of losing 2 life, you lose 1 and your opponent gains 1.

Generally speaking, if you are aggro you would prefer your opponent not to gain 1, if you are control you would enjoy not losing 2. So this should fit well in the Orzhov syndicate.

This should be fun in multiplayer, as you chose which opponent will gain the life.

simic


Spore Valley
.

This one is amazing! I see it being similar to Temple of Mystery, except you can chose between an untapped land and a powerful effect.

I do think Scry 1 is more powerful than looking at your opponent’s hand, but that’s very close! All in all, Spore Valley should be very efficient, and control players would probably love it – which seems to be a recurring theme for my lands, and I think I know why.
The theme of this series was to make dual lands with various, creative downsides. I do believe imposing something on control players is easier for them than for the aggressive ones. Think about it that way: pretty often, a highly defensive deck will just draw cards during its first many turns! If you impose restrictions on them, they might very well shrug it off and be patient, while building a great mana base to play many various control spells to react to multiple possible situations. Meanwhile, disrupting the mana base of the player who is trying to be proactive is going to have more of an impact. If I ever go back to making utility lands, I believe more of them will work better with lots of creatures.

I hope you enjoyed those last few lands and like the ideas I implemented for them. I will come back to this theme and make more utility lands some day, and possibly try and stray away from bi-color lands for a change. Maybe I’ll consider commons and uncommons as well. For now I’m going to leave you with a bonus card: Zerglings from Starcraft! I believe this one don’t need too many words so I’ll let you enjoy it and wish you a great week.

See you next time!

zerglings

Born of Theros

Hey all,

I’ve just finished designing two limited decks and printing one of the them and I figured I would give you another taste of those.Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 5.21.06 PMEvery one of those is centered around members of my playgroup, and obviously enough I started with my girlfriend’s and mine, respectively Selesnya and Golgari. I’m really looking forward to play-testing them, but this will have to wait until after this weekend, as I’m going to Austin for South by Southwest. Let’s look into the detail of some of those designs now though, as I’ve created about 50 already!

possessedskeleton2This one is actually not part of one of my decks yet, but I do like it because it would fit right into the Theros block. I’m actually suspecting they might make a similar card for the third block!

Most limited players these days don’t seem to value regenerating as much as deathtouch, though it is true that in recent history regenerators have had a high cost of activation. But the deathtouch bestow guy does exist! It’s Baleful Eidolon.

I think you can’t get away from regenerate costing more than 1, and I’m on the fence for bestow being 3 or 4. This makes Possessed Remains similar to Everflame Eidolon.

towneater2

Town Eater Hydra is my take on monstruous, and it did make the cut in my Golgari deck.

I find it to be a creature that’s both interesting, playable, and good without being over powered.

I love the alternative cost for monstruous, I think it’s fun and flavorful. I would have liked to see more alternate costs for those kind of creatures.

I had another version of this guys who regenerated and got a +1/+1 counter by sacrificing lands, and another that destroyed lands when it hit.

firemace

Firemace Mage is obviously not part of either the Selesnya or Golgari deck. But it’s a great, simple design mostly created by one of my friends and I think I’ll make a case to make his limited deck to be the Boros one, and include this card in it.

Firemace Mage was inspire by Leonin Snarecaster, and becomes somewhat of a Skyknight Legionnaire. It’s not a crazy powerful card, pretty much ok compared to the other two drops from Gatecrash and Theros, but it’s a fun and elegant design, and it fits Boros perfectly.

So it has been a great week for my designs. I’m yet to get better at block coherence, but single designs are making me happy these days. The community at MTG Cardsmith is actually pretty helpful and inspirational, and if you want to see more of those designs I’ve created, you can see a whole lot of them on my profile there:

http://mtgcardsmith.com/author/Bullzzai

This will be it for now, but as you could tell I’m sure I’m getting excited and having tons of fun and I will be making more stuff and keeping you posted about them. Until then, have a great week!

Return to Return to Ravnica, Part 2

Happy Monday everyone! I do hope you enjoyed the previous batch of guild-hybrid cards from Return to Ravnica, because I kept the most fun ones for today. Please check out last week’s post if you haven’t yet and need to understand what’s going here, but it’s pretty simple if you are familiar with the edition. Now let’s jump right in.

Tenacious_Mangler_by_Tenacious Mangler. Gruul/Golgari. Two guilds very enjoyable to make work together, because they are straight forwardly based on creature’s size. This could lead to very lean design, even with two guild mechanics in one card, as usual.

Tenacious Mangler fills the bill, with a sweet +3/+4 bloodrush, a good 3/4 body if played, and a whooping 3 +1/+1 counters for 3 with scavenge. And you are guarantied to get two out of those 3! It is fairly cheap, but reasonable, considering the card is 3 colors. I like it a bunch.

Allied guild: Rakdos.

Obzedat's_preachings_by_

Obzedat’s Preachings. Orzhov/Selesnya. I do like this one as well! Go figure. Because it’s pretty simple, I guess. And because I find it fun to add extort on tokens.

Finally, and that wraps this pretty simple design, those who played in Return to Ravnica will remember Eyes in the Skies, and how you can always populate some other token if you do have one, like a 3/3 or if you’re lucky a 4/4 trample or a 8/8 vigilance!

Allied guild: Golgari.

 

Cross-faction_Arrester_by_Cross-faction Arrester. Boros/Azorius.

Another beautiful one, because of the simplicity of its design.

This time I managed to squeeze the two guild abilities into a single one! Feels good and powerful, and for a 3 colors 2/3, it should be.

Allied guild: Izzet.

 

 

Grave_Walker_by_

Grave Walker. Dimir/Golgari. Maybe not the most faithful design of the bunch. Almost all the other ones actually contains the mechanics from their guilds, and this one contains none!

It works in the spirit of said guilds though. Golgari will appreciate the self-mil aspect, and Dimir will enjoy getting to either mil the opponent, or have an unblockable creature. Loading it up with scavenge counters won’t be too bad either! Cute design, but not powerful or even synergistic enough.

Allied guild: Simic.

 

Breeding_Pool_Sentinel_by_Breeding Pool Sentinel. Simic/Azorius. Fun little one. Mixing evolve with detain is what you want to be doing in that little exercise of mine, but I wish I found a more powerful way to do it.

A 2/3 for 3 different colors will take a little long to build up to be able to use the detain more than once, and when you do that it will go back to being a 2/3. The good part is that it will evolve again, potentially for-virtual-ever, but still it’s a little slow.

Allied guild: Selesnya.

 

That’s it for those! It’s been really fun. I think some day I might revisit those designs, fix them a little and look for illustrations to make them look beautiful 🙂 Hope you liked it, don’t hesitate to send feedback!

Have a good week 🙂