Back to Basics

What’s up everybody? Welcome to Ominous Designs 176. There is a non-zero chance I bit slightly more than I should chew today, but chew I will. I started with an idea that turned into a card, a card which turned into a cycle. We are going to have some time to talk today so without further ado, here I come with your five designs of the week.

Ashes // Ashes

The original idea. Some cards have “to” in their name, so why don’t we try and pretend their are Aftermath cards just for the fun of it?

Ashes to Ashes was one of the staples of my young magic life. What would happen if I tried to split it in two? One of the reason I was particularly tempted is that it would create two Ashes halves, and I wanted to be cheeky about it. The other reason is I could be relatively faithfully do it. Ashes to Ashes killed two creatures and made you lose 5 life, this version splits those into two payments of 3 life.

Dust // Dust

As I set myself on track for remaking a few cards, it was only normal I would look into adapting Dust to Dust next. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

This one was also a simple double effect card that could be easily split into two smaller effects.
Now I should mention, my point isn’t to split those exactly in the middle. Mind you, my point isn’t either to make a completely viable version with aftermath. I aim somewhere in the middle of those, I want the reference to be a fun and somewhat plausible, albeit imperfect design.

Bash // Bits

We are now cruising in our cycle, going through names of cards containing the word “to”. While looking for a red card, I found Bash to Bits.

The amazing factoid about the card from Odysseys is that it was featuring the flashback mechanic. In that respect, our version can be almost exactly the same as the original!

Basically the only difference is that ours doesn’t reference the actual flashback mechanic so Catalyst Stone wouldn’t work.

Gnaw // The Bone

And now for the green card. Gnaw to the Bone is a famous limited role player from Innistrad and also a pretty easy one to make into an aftermath card.
Gnaw to the Bone was another flashback card, and it was also doing the same thing twice! No big deal in terms of mechanics, not too brain intensive in matter of balancing either, we just split the card in the middle!

Originally both sides even costed the same in terms of mana so the funny part here is we created two almost identical sub-cards, one with aftermath.

Reduce // Dreams

Our final, blue card is a rare! Reduce to Dreams was also an interesting one to split. Since the original was returning both all artifacts and enchantment to their owners’ hands, I am separating the two for our last design of the day.

This makes for a lot more flexible and efficient card. I took to heart to keep the mana cost overall the same here, which might have lead to a slightly undercosted combination. I also made sure to keep most of the cost for the artifact half, so as to not make it a sorcery speed Hurkyl’s Recall.

I am not going to lie, I am rather glad we are done with those! I was a fun exercise and I invite you to make more of them but they are not as interesting to debate over. I hope you enjoyed the thought process and the cards, though.

My work is done here, I will now say good day or night to you, see you next week, and play responsibly.



May’s Fools

Hello everybody, welcome to Ominous Designs episode 175! I have two punny cards for you today so we’ll call them your May’s Fools cards, seeing that April 1st was about exactly one month ago. Let’s get to it.

Mana Sink
The funny story about Mana Sink is that in my head this was a pun. Little did I realize at the time that the two ideas I had in mind were the same word! The other interesting factor is that Mana Sink isn’t an existing magic the gathering card, while Mana Drain and Power Sink are.

As far as the card itself goes, it seemed obvious enough to me it had to be a counterspell. In the great Unglued tradition, the wacky element here is fun, in flavor, and asks something somewhat achievable from you though in this case I would be impressed if someone would get to actually pay the cost.

Laughter Pact is clearly enough a riff on Slaughter Pact. Talk about putting laughter in slaughter, am I right?
I always knew I wanted the card to revolve around who laughs first. It in itself is a fun mini-game to play and it fits the name.
I also aimed at mimicking the original as much as I could but I decided that wouldn’t include the “pay next turn or you lose the game” bit. Close enough though, I added the condition that you would lose if nobody laughed by the end of next turn. If you can’t make this into an edict effect for free by tricking your opponent into laughing, you will have to put on your own fake laugh and sacrifice a creature.

That is all, hope you like the puns and cards. Magic is ripe of opportunities for those, as exemplified by the two “Un-sets”. Let me know if you have more and I will be sure to mention them in our next episode.

See you next time, have a great week and play responsibly!

This is getting // contrived

Hey everybody, welcome to episode 174 of Ominous Designs. This week we are going to look at another of the brand new mechanics from Amonkhet, the aptly named aftermath. Aftermath cards have a second half that can be cast only from the graveyard. This enables some great synergies and hilarious card names. Let’s see what we made for ourselves.

Bored to Tears

I case you didn’t know yet, this is how you are supposed to read the full name of an aftermath card: adding “to” between the two names.

Our instant(s) here makes for a simple yet fun cousin to Agony Warp. On one hand it will cost one more colorless mana to cast both ends but on the other you can always decide to cast those two sides separately, and quite often still as a surprise to your opponent if they aren’t tracking your graveyard perfectly. I do think the added flexibility completely justifies this card’s increased CMC.

Tearing to Shreds

I fell into the trap of trying to use “Tear” as a card name, then remembering that Wear and Tear already exists. I did not want to fully rethink the name and mechanic though, so Tearing it is!

Tearing is a simple sorcery speed Naturalize and Shreds quite obviously is what happens when you blow up artifacts. Your opponent is going to take a bunch of damage for having had artifacts in the first place! I think the effect is rather powerful, but I do not know if there would be a red and green deck in any eternal format to take advantage of it.

Those are your aftermath cards. Hope you enjoyed them, let me know your thoughts on the usual outlets and I’ll be sure to think on them and mention the best ones in our next episode.

Thanks for reading as usual, I’ll see you next time and until then have a great time and play responsibly!

I Hate It When You Do That

Hey everybody, welcome to episode 172 of Ominous Designs. Today we are going to look at hosers of a particular kind: two cards aimed at shutting down specific strategies that are pet peeves for many players. Let’s see what those are.

Current Shaper

This merfolk has one goal and one only: do away with Hexproof and protections of all kinds. Those have been deemed so unfun and non interactive that they aren’t part of the evergreen abilities any more.

I figured that only merfolks would care for an ability carried by a small body, the race being home to very strong tribal themes. Shaper has an interesting application to a True-Name Nemesis mirror match-up, deactivating the aforementioned merfolk altogether.

Stern Chaplin

Our little hate-bear arguably aims even wider, since he attacks all alternate win conditions that come on permanents.
Do you hate people randomly winning games with Azor’s ElocutorsBiovisionaryBattle of Wits and the likes? Chaplin is here for you. Note that this won’t prevent things such as Coalition Victory or Pact of Negation shenanigans, since those aren’t permanents. For some reason, even though I don’t hate alternate win cons – quite the opposite – I love the idea of referencing them all and shutting them down in such a simple way.

That’s it for the day! Two hateful – but really just for fun – designs that I hope you will like. Can you think of more of those? Do let me know.

See you next week for episode 174. Have a good one and play responsibly!



From the Vault Vol. 2

Hey everybody, welcome to episode 172 of Ominous Designs. Today we are going to continue a long trend of designs taken from my personal vault of ideas and make it official this time by calling this article “Episode 2”. The two cards won’t be related in any other way that they are fun and well suited for limited or casual/commander play, so without further introduction, let’s have a look at them now.

Zombie Mass

I had many versions of this card in the back of my mind for quite some time now, and I am glad it finally makes it to… I was going to say the physical world, but I guess virtual will do for now.

The idea is to make a Zombie Giant who can pop out smaller zombies from his huge, reconstructed body, reducing its own size. The ability while useful isn’t particularly powerful, especially only when attacking. Considering that it comes on top of a very flexible creature though, – mostly in size – it should be enough for a fun casual rare.

Rush of Expandables

It is somewhat hard to believe that this was never made before. Creating expendable tokens is a very red thing to do, so why not create a ton of them!

I believe the hardest part in justifying this design is the cost, provided that the effect could reveal quite powerful. Here I took a hint from Gruesome Slaughter which I decided to make more powerful by not raising the cost, while adding effect. I think it is still within the bounds of a reasonable power level, but I will trust your opinions on that.

I would love to get to try those designs and evaluate how powerful exactly they are, either in limited or casual commander format. Do tell me what you think about them.
That is all for now though so see you next time for episode 173, have a great week, and play responsibly!

Tips and Tricks

Hey what’s up everybody! Today we are not going to be creating cards, but instead I have prepared a mixtape for you, with all sorts of technical tips and tricks for creating magic cards.

Those go from finding art and names to slightly modifying illustrations to fit various templates, – think planeswalker, full art, clear border, etc. – and create custom keywords and set symbols.

Do check out the video as all details are in there and I’m not going to try and make a wiki about it, just link you to it! Just click here: video.

I hope you’ll enjoy it and learn some, then share your own tips with me. Do let me know what you think, I will be back next week for a more classic episode.

Until then, have a great time and play responsibly!

Let’s Exert Ourselves

Hey everybody, welcome to Ominous Designs 170 where we feature a new mechanic from the upcoming block Amonkhet. The mechanic is called Exert and it means you can have an extra effect from your creature in exchange for it not untapping next turn. At the time of this article there is still only one exert creature spoilt in previews and it can exert when it attacks. I am going to use that but also a new way of getting your extra value in the following two cards.

Deep-Alaria Druid

Our elf druid here is featuring a new way to use exert indeed.

The idea would be to allow exert when using an ability. If you do so, you will get a second green pip from your mana dork. In exchange you won’t see it untap the turn after.

I think the idea is pretty strong though the balance isn’t too obvious. A two mana elf that enables you to get your 5th – or 6th if you had a 1 drop mana elf too – on turn 3 is pretty ridiculous.

Rethik Battle Scout

Battle Scout is pretty simple in its use of exert. Note that I did add an ability that lasts until your next turn, which is very new and mostly featured in Hope of Ghirapur so far.

If you commit to let your soldier not untap next turn, it will gain double strike in return for the sacrifice. What makes the card very interesting though is that you can make it not tap to attack for two white mana, rendering the downside of exert irrelevant! It’s a fun spin on exert, albeit going against the original idea.

That’s going to be it for the day! Hopefully we got your creative juices flowing in time for the new set that’s about to be previewed and released. As the preview cards featuring exert come out we will see how close we got from predicting its actual use!

I shall see you next week, wish you a great time and until then play responsibly!