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!

 

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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!

Enabling Prowess

If you know anything about Tarkir, I dare you to not guess what clan we are going to talk about today. Jeskai and its masters of the way is the answer, obviously. We are going to give Jeskai Monks their first Planeswalker, which is actually the one that sparked this whole cycle, then focus on an enabler trick for the Prowess mechanic. Should be fun!

Xiu of the Dancing BladeXiu of the Dancing Blade is first. I could not pass the opportunity to make a card based on such a gorgeous illustration.

Xiu costs 4 in 3 colors, and as such gets a fairly strong +1 ability. Prowess Monks are strong, and could potentially help a whole lot in a control deck. Her -2 on the other hand is less powerfull, but enables Prowess. Getting your best spell back is great, but maybe not as good as having a spell-like ability instead, since you still have to pay for it.

Last but not least, her ultimate is almost an infinite flying crane technique! That’s nothing to sneeze at.

Burn from WithinBurn from Withing is our prowess enabler. In the Jeskai tradition, I wanted a cheap tempo spell, which isn’t the easiest to come by in red. Cantrip would be a little much to ask in red as well though, so I figured I was going to help a creature gets through this turn then give it rummaging, which would be close enough for the color.

I still needed something to make the card not boring, and this was the hardest part. At first the ferocious trigger was what prevented a creature from blocking, but you can’t really have a new target in a Ferocious trigger, or it would be weird. I ended up with this “gravy” ability, ok but not great.

I was on a bit of time crunch this time, but the results are fun enough. I would definitely work more on the sorcery card if I had more time, I do think there’s potential there.

Before I leave you, I want to show off that I won a little ongoing contest on reddit that you can find here. The challenge happens almost every week and I won the 60th edition. The winner from the previous round submitted their card, and everybody must draw a magic card at random and create a mashup design between the two cards.
My duty now is to judge for the next iteration of this contest, and I will be picking a winner tomorrow! So that’s exciting. Do check those out and tell me what you think.

Now is time for me to get back to my non-magical tasks and wish you a great week. See you next time!

Feeling Blue

Welcome to our second installment in this new series of lame title puns. To be honest I almost postponed this article for I was feeling out of it and behind things of life, but I powered through though, so here we are for blue cards! I picked blue because I was feeling complacent with my previous green choice, and I think blue is harder for me to design. Red is probably up there as well.

I have recently started listening to Constructed Resources from our friend Marshall Sutcliffe, and he was lamenting that blue wasn’t doing so great in standard since the release of Khans of Tarkir. I thought I would try to make some nice cards for Jeskai and possibly Sultai. I don’t feel Temur needs much of a push – to be honest Jeskai probably doesn’t either – and mostly I was thinking very blue, lean and efficient cards. Let’s see them!

Way MasterWay Master is my attempt at giving blue a good 1 drop creature.
Seeing the impact of Monastery Swiftspear helped me a bunch there. I certainly didn’t want to create another Delver of Secrets though, and this is where the challenge often lies: create something that isn’t too crazy, but you don’t want to hear people complain all the time that it isn’t as good as something else they knew.

I think Way Master does a just ok job at that, and I’m having a hard time figuring out what I could add or upgrade on him without helping blue more than it needs with delver-type spell decks.

Trick the MindTrick the Mind was made in exact same spirit of doing what blue really likes to do, as a price even modern and legacy deck could be interested in, but yet trying to not provide them with another completely busted card. Call it having more choice.

Like Thought Scour, I figured most straight forward blue decks would want to play a better 1 cantrip instead, but depending on what the deck wants to do Trick the Mind might be perfect. Thinking more about it thought, I’m not sure drawing two cards for 1 mana is ok for power, even if you allow your opponent to draw at the same time… Think Storm would love it too much?

What do you say? I’m sure I can still fine tune and make my blue spells better, but I’m fairly happy with the results on those ones. Let’s see what I come up with for the next colors. Until then, have a great week!