Breeding Pool

Hello again everybody, and welcome for episode 154 of Ominous Designs. This week I am putting on my mad scientist hat and proudly bring you a Zompire and a Spidrit! What are those you might ask, an air of incredulity on your face and a vague sense of fear taking over you? Well, why don’t we just have a look?

kelh-val-deathless-overseerKehl Val, Deathless Overseer

This, my friends, is a Zompire. As it turns out none of his kind ever saw print before. What a shame.

In substance, a pretty simple mashup of +1/+1 mechanics, related to both the zombie nation – coming back from graveyards – and the vampire family – getting bigger when hitting a player apparently is a vampire thing.

The power level is quite high, but for a 4 mana 3/3 legendary creature, it should be fine. The abilities exist on commons 2-3 drops after all.

lothna-hauntweaverLothna, Hauntweaver

Now I’m introducting the Spider Spirit! First one as well. Quite a gorgeous creature.

I had a harder time, here. It is in fact not easy to find common ground between two creature types that are mainly defined by having either flying or reach. I decided to give pseudo-flying to my spiders so that everyone has some evasion, and tried my best to reward creatures for connecting with an opponent by awarding them new tokens.
I am just sorry the end result takes 9 lines of text, because I really like most of the ideas in there.

What do you say? Would you ever create a zombie/vampire or spirit/spider commander deck? Seems to me that would open the door to some fun combinations. I reckon this is the kind of casual fun that commander players love to build around. You tell me!

Now is time to say goodbye though. I wish you all a great thanksgiving and hope you can relax and enjoy some family and a ton of food. I’ll do that as well and I shall see you next week. Play responsibly!

 

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Evil Sparks

Hello everybody, today I welcome you to an episode of Ominous Designs nice and divisible by 5: here comes number 145! Our big 150 is approaching fast. I set out for quite the topic this week and might even have bitten more than I could chew, though looking at the results I am not too ashamed with what we ended up with. What topic, you might ask? Sparker Villains! Starting with the one who inspired me with that theme, and Magic’s biggest archenemy, Nicol Bolas.

bolas-rising-menace

Bolas, Rising Menace // Nicol Bolas, Planar Tyrant

A tall order, isn’t it. Bolas is quite the legendary foe. I almost immediately decided that he needed to flip based on controlling an opponent’s permanent, to refer to the elder dragon’s favourite hobby: manipulating people. This allowed me to pack a little bit more power in the card since the condition is quite narrow and that was a good thing since I didn’t want to have the card cost a million, or be more powerful that the previous incarnation of the planeswalker.
I wanted Bolas to be big, somewhat impactful, but not a 6 drop either since the card was only his origin story. This lead me to create a 4 drop flyer with upside, which seemed reasonable. For the planeswalker abilities I figured that doing something with stolen permanents could be fun and this would demonstrate the black aspect of Bolas, as well as his contempt for the tools – people – he uses to his own means. The abilities need more work but I like the direction I took, if only as a base.
I doubled down on the controlling aspect with an ultimate allowing you to steal something every turn. I think it is realistic, yet obviously quite powerful.

xenagos-satyr-hedonist

Xenagos, Satyr Hedonist // Xenagos, Multiverse Explorer

Xenagos is our second evil sparker! I figured he would keep his “thirst for mana” style. This was achieved my making him a fairly reasonable mana maker, and requiring 6 mana to transform.
His first ability also is that of old school Orcish Lumberjack fame, still in the mindset of abundance without a thought for the consequences. Xenagos 0 ability was not the most inspired, but I figured it would be nice if he could still bring more people – satyrs – to his party. I switched haste for trample to change something from the original incarnation, as well as make the card slightly less powerful.
I am happy with the ultimate, a one sided Heartbeat of Spring which sounds fun, and hopefully had not been made before. I now realize that plays with Xenagos might sequence a little too well, landing on turn 3, making 2 mana on his own AND using his + ability the turn he flips, allowing to -5 on the next one. Then again, the ultimate isn’t all that powerful so maybe we are fine.

Like I said earlier I didn’t get as much time as I wanted to balance those but honestly for planeswalker we are probably talking hours of work and as many of play testing, so I think for a concept piece the two are pretty fine and fun looking Do let me know your ideas about modifying and balancing them.

That will be it for today’s article, looking forward to seeing you all again next week for numero 14. Until then, play responsibly!

When the Times Get Tough

Hey everybody and welcome again, this time to a 142th installment of Ominous Designs. This week a per – quite – usual, I have come to our episode with a design ready, and made a friend for it. The design in question is a three punches draw spell, why don’t we look at it right now?

Final InspirationFinal Inspiration.
As you can see the concept behind this draw spell is that the worst the situation is, the more cards you are going to draw.
You will always get one, then another if you don’t control any creature, and a bonus one if you are low on life, say 5 or less.
I feel like the low upside probability of getting card 3 is made up by the average probability of missing out on card 2, which allows us to make it an instant speed Divination in two colors.
If you plan on playing control though, it is looking like a very solid card, so you might be excited to see what our second design is…

Final OutburstFinal Outburst.

This one was quite pushed, as you might be able to tell!
Destroying one creature at sorcery speed for four mana of two colors isn’t really something to be excited about, but it can always get you out of a bad situation. Being able to destroy two is already quite a bit better, but is only getting closer to a wrath effect, when you don’t control a creature yourself.
I tend to consider the third effect like a fringe one, but I do believe it still makes Outburst a very powerful card. Any thoughts?

So here we are for the “Final” mechanic. As I mentioned, putting those in similar colors was a deliberate desire to hint at a very powerful draw-go control deck. I do think that if such a deck was a thing the two cards would make it a lot better. I am not convinced they are over the top in terms of efficiency yet though, but only time and test would tell us that. Either way I would be happy to tweak some knobs and make the cards viable, as I’m quite fond of their underlying concept.

I hope you enjoyed those as well, that is going to be it for our weekly gathering. Now is time to say goodbye, see you next week 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!

After the Maths

Hello everybody, welcome to episode 122 of Ominous Designs. Today we are finally going to see the mechanic I teased last week: Aftermath. It took me a whole day to upload my video this week but I had recorded it a day early so everything is fine. Since our mechanic is so interesting and pretty easy to come up with cards for, we are going to see three of them today. Starting with…

Survive the SlaughterThe first card is Survive the Slaughter.

As you can see, aftermath is a variation of flashback where the second time you cast the card causes a different effect. It was pretty hard to find a template for it and I don’t think I came up with the best one yet. Either way as you can see Survive the Slaughter is a mass removal spell that hopefully will give you a creature back.

I wanted the card to be over-costed enough so that it isn’t too oppressive but it definitely will still be very good, especially when combined to other removal spells.

Toy with MindsOur second card is Toy with Minds.

This one is very straightforward. It starts with an over-costed mind rot and follows up with a very over-costed divination.

We obviously don’t want a card of the sort that doesn’t cost something like four extra mana, because it is a 4-for-1! I still think it’s good as it is.

I decided to go for black cards with an aftermath cost of an other color, and that’s entirely arbitrary and mostly an esthetic choice. We could play with any color combination instead.

Succumb to RageFinally, we have Succumb to Rage.

This one is either two combat tricks or a removal, albeit conditional.
I didn’t want a card to be a removal and also two efficient combat tricks, but as a result the trick parts seem fairly boring. I’m pretty sure we can do better but then again there is the whole “trick + trick + removal” upside.

As it is, the deathtouch part can give you a 1-for-2 and sometimes a 1-for-1, while the aftermath can give you a 1-for-0 so even playing it that way is somewhat acceptable.

And that’s going to do it for today! Aftermath is worth thinking about and coming up with lot of new cards, as well as other wordings or templates. Let me know if you can think of other designs I’ll be happy to look at them.

Before I leave, I want to announce a couple new features for Ominous Designs and Responsible Gaming. I am still updating our branding, you might have noticed a couple changes on this site’s header. I also booked the url www.responsiblegmg.com, you can now go check out Responsible Gaming portal there, which contains most of my social links. You can also contact me at ominous@responsiblegmg.com, which is pretty sweet.

That’s about all for this week, once again thanks for reading/watching. I hope you liked the cards and all have a great week. See you next time!

Planeswalker Appreciation Week

Hey all! Welcome to Ominous Designs episode 119, as per – recent – usual available on Youtube for your viewing pleasure. This week we are going to play around Planeswalkers, which should definitely be an enjoyable ride. Wanna get started?

Watchful FamiliarOur first card is Watchful Familiar, and it features the new mechanic Disciple.

As you can see Disciple cares about you controlling a planeswalker at your upkeep. I opted for that particular template so that I could open the mechanic to multiple types of triggers, – such as dealing damage, draw cards, any type of effect really, but this also means that the toughness boost here will have to be until end of turn, each turn.

A 2/2 flying vigilance that turns into a 2/4 and gains you life a turn sounds exiting for 3, isn’t it?

Domesticated WurmDedicated Wurm.

Wurms are out of fashion but I am actually a huge fan of them. I even have a small collection I brought back from home after my last holidays!

This one is very powerful and if you do control a plainswalker – notably not the most frequent thing to have happen in those colors – you will get an even bigger pet, as it will virtually be a 6/5 trampler thanks to the free damage. At the very least it will actually be a 5/5, which isn’t too shabby.

For some reason I really like it! Hope you do too.

And now for a little bonus, I present to you Tibalt, Nephalian Outcast.

Tibalt Nephalian Outcast

Isn’t he pretty? If I learned one thing from making that card, it’s that double face planeswalkers are truly hard to balance. One thing I really wanted for him is to be as close as possible to a sorcery speed Terminate with ‘planeswalker upside”. This is what we achieve with the first -2. Both +1 are mostly kind of cute and such is the -3 on the flip side, and there is a reason with that. If a 2 drop planeswalker isn’t actively bad, – see original Tibalt – it really needs to be kept in check in terms of power level. Turn two is so early to drop a planeswalker that actually does something, legacy would have so much fun dropping it on turn 1…

For the 0 ability, the one that transforms Tibalt, I was into the idea of having it be the same on both sides, in great part for simplicity reasons. Now getting a -1/-1 counter every turn on a 2 loyalty planeswalker, is that too much? I’m having a hard time telling but it think it might be.

It was a good week, wasn’t it? Hope you enjoyed the designs. One thing is sure though, it took me a while to make the live episode! That was also because I came in with little to no idea about the cards I would make, but if you enjoy almost an hour of card making you’ll get a treat this week. Either way, let me know what you think about those, I will talk to you again in seven days. Have a good one!

Magical Poultry

Hi all! This year I have been encouraged to make a thanksgiving special episode. Since it isn’t easy to create straight forward magic designs about holidays and eating a lot, we are getting an Un-article today!
As you might know Unglued and Unhinged are the two silver-bordered, humor-driven sets brought to us mainly by Maro. The designs you are about to see are made in a similar fashion. We have 4 cards today! Might as well get started right now.

Young FeatheredYoung Feathered. Our first turkey card!

Let’s first acknowledge quickly that it is a terribly cute creature.

This one sports a powerful version of the Rootwalla ability that also comes with the Thanksgiving twist of having you express your thankfulness.

At the risk of overloading the design, I opted to add a “vegetable” clause as well, to help with this theme I am trying to push for and you will see more of in the next cards.
How do you like the little turkey-bear?

Feathered CannibalFeathered Cannibal. Not so cute anymore…

When I saw this illustration I knew it had to become a card for this article, and it was pretty clear as well it was going to be black.

Sacrificing turkeys seems obvious as well, though I will admit that the card ends up looking too much like a regular magic one.

This un-article was somewhat of an improvised thing, so I actually didn’t have a genius funny mechanic ready. Have players come up with things to say is an amusing thing to do though.

To-FeatheredTo-Feathered. Get it? Like Tofurkey…
There had to be a card for vegetarians as well; we don’t discriminate here.

I am pretty happy with both vegetarian themed abilities but I have to admit the “illusion” part definitely overloads the design. It is coming from the joke of it being an illusion of a Turkey, since it’s not actually a bird… I hope you find To-Feathered at least a bit funny because it was the whole point!

Compared to Gossamer Phantasm and Phantasmal Dragon I suppose it is under-costed.

Memory Leek

Memory Leek.

As a final entry for this article, I want to re-post this design I made a few months ago since it inspired the “vegetable” theme you can see in the turkey cards.

Memory Leek is some sort of Shadowmage Infiltrator focused on milling your opponent, and it desperately needed more vegetable cards to be played in its limited environment.

While I actually only made one today, you can see how I pushed for that design space on other cards.

That will do it for this foodie episode of Bullzzai designs. Now I want to mention something about the teaser I published last week. I still need to take more pictures and make time to do a full post about it, so instead of publishing the whole story today I will give you another picture and confirm that yes, my girlfriend managed to download over 200 designs from this blog and have them printed! We have play-tested them twice so far and it’s a blast.

IMG_20151118_124320

Look forward to knowing more about those! Until then, hope you have a great thanksgiving and I’ll see you next time.