I X U

Hello everybody, I am happy to have you for episode 155 of Ominous Designs. Today we are going to review another couple of designs from my personal vault, both of which happen to cost 1 generic mana, 1 blue, and one of another color of mana – hence the title. Let’s start with red and an izzet instant.

multiply-angles Multiply Angles

This one is similar to something I did a couple of weeks ago, and its main goal is to finally bring us a spell that could copy either a creature or an instant or sorcery. I could be wrong, but I don’t think it has been done before!

I did want to keep the spell cheap, and I also had in mind a particular way I could make both sides of the spell weaker, with a Phantasmal Image downside or the ability for your opponent to counter the spell. It makes for an interesting and flexible package overall, but hard to evaluate without play.

jara-azorius-representativeJara, Azorius Representative
This one started with hearing someone complain about Dovin Baan. I set out to create my own cheap Azorius planeswalker, and it came quickly clear that I wanted an ultimate that would mirror Sphinx’s Revelation and a minus ability that would detain.

3 might actually be a little cheap, especially since the plus ability technically could protect it as well. It might be the case that Jara should come into play with 2 loyalty counters or cost 4, I just wanted to push the sphinx a bit. I also wish I found an illustration for Isperia – Azorius guildmaster – that would work here.

That is all for the day! As usual I hope you enjoy the designs and I invite you to provide feedback on the social outlet of your preference. I will be off now and until next week for episode 156.

See you then, and play responsibly!

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Ur League

Hello everybody, welcome to episode 140 of Ominous Designs. Today we will be looking at two cards for the blue-red Izzet League. Surprisingly for such guild, the designs are mostly clean, simple and straightforward. So Let’s just get a look at them then, shall we?

HypnotizeHypnotize.
I am having a hard time believing this name has not been on a card yet! The effect is also quite intuitive, a Threaten for two turns.
Planeswalkers in recent past have introduced the concept of effects that last for your whole turn and your opponent’s as well. I think this opens a great design space that could show up on regular cards, and makes a card such as Threaten much better in defense.

Now you can steal your opponent’s biggest creature and either attack or block the rest of their creatures with it next turn!

Manacoil WeirdManacoil weird.

There are strangely few effects out there that just add one damage or one extra card to other spells and abilities. Those usually double numbers instead, and as a consequence are usually printed on mythic rares. Our weird friend here will do just that, at a lower rarity.

One extra damage everywhere is obviously very good, but it’s not Gisela good. An extra card when you draw a card is alright as well but requires some extra work from you, and this one will not compound with Howling Mine effects.

And those are your two new members of the Ravnica Engineers Association, a.k.a the Izzet League. Hope you enjoyed, I find that those two are clean and mostly well-balanced but I could be convinced to tweak the creature. Do let me know if you have feedback either way.

Now is time to say goodbye though, so see you next week and until then play responsibly!

One last round

We passed the 50th article mark last week, and now is time for a last article before I’m off for a week on holidays! I’ll make it worth your time though, by posting a whole cycle of 5 cards. This one is about pushed 2 drop creatures with a downside, in allied color combinations. Sounds good? So let’s see what we have in store for Azorius, Dimir, Rakdos, Selesnya and Gruul.

Harsh SergeantAzorius isn’t the easiest color combination for downsides. Sending your own creature to your hand would be an obvious solution, but it can be used as an advantage too easily. I figured that detaining your own creature could be an interesting downside. It also makes it so that you can’t play it before having another creature, which I now realize resonates a little too much with another creature we will see later on.

The body on Harsh Sergeant was much simpler to figure out. Flying was obvious, and I needed a good creature, so 2/3 sounded like a fair deal. I do feel like 3/2 would have been too strong.

Frenzied Ghast
Frenzied Ghast
was my original idea for this cycle. I just wanted an unblockable 2/2 for 2 and tried coming up with a reasonable downside.

Losing 1 life every time might be too much, as it really only gives you 1 life margin, but if you ever boost Frenzied Ghast or give it lifelink you’ll be good to go!

All in all this is not the most powerful of the cycle but I believe it is still an ok card.

 

Helian Protector Helian Protector brings with him the perfect Selesnya downside. The conclave is all about all inclusive symbiosis. Selesnya creatures want to have their friends with them. This is why Helian Protector needs you to have another creature before he will even consider entering the battlefield.

As I was mentioning before though, I now feel bad for including basically the same downside and more into Harsh Sergeant as well. The two creatures basically have the same power level as well – even though they are obviously meant for different usages. But I guess they don’t have to have the same power level either, so just let me know if you think one isn’t well balanced!

Tortured RevenantIt is hard to come up with varied downsides for black creatures. You want a downside that hurts. Most likely sacrificing life, permanents, or cards. I did consider making Tortured Revenant‘s controller discard a card instead of sacrificing a creature, but opted not to. It’s hard to have enough gaz in an aggressive deck.

The idea was that in Rakdos, you want to attack fast with a lot of fairly small creatures. It isn’t too hard to imagine having one to sacrifice, especially as it might have done its damage for the turn already. If it’s too small to attack through blockers, at least it will be used by Tortured Revenant.

Also keep in mind that if no better option presents itself, the zombie warrior can sacrifice himself, after having killed all his friends and hopefully done some damage to the opponent. Not so bad for two mana. It can also trade up for more expensive creatures, and you won’t even have to sacrifice anything else in that case. Tortured Revenant would be great with undying creatures.

Tollan BruteTollan Brute is based on my childhood friend Rogue Elephant.
Making its transition to the Gruul clan, an extra red mana will get you a 4/4 trampler, much similar to the deadly Ghor-Clan Rampager. You also get the choice to sacrifice a forest or a mountain, better than forcing you to do away with a certain type of land when you might not have several.

Note that Tollan Brute will be considerably worse in constructed format, the more you play non basic lands. Ravnica shocklands like Stomping Grounds will still work though, as they are both Mountains and Forests.

And that wraps it up for this week! I will try and make enemy colors 2 drops for my return in two weeks. Until then take care of yourselves and have a great two weeks!

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!

Colorshifted!

Hey all! I think we’re getting to a good place with the new article size, themes, and the use of Magic Set Editor. This week we will revisit a plane we are going to say goodbye to very soon: Ravnica. By now you probably know that Khans or Tarkir is just around the corner, and will make it in standard along with Theros. Today let’s celebrate our departure from Ravnica, with staples from the block, re-mastered in different colors. Because we can – and because someone gave me the idea.

PPack Oozeack Ooze is quite obviously the green version of Pack Rat.
Now you might want to discuss the likelihood for such card to exist. Slow incremental gain doesn’t sound like a very green thing to do. Black is much better suited to protect its rats with surgical removal, and turn after turn, make them into a huge army.

Green play style doesn’t favor that, and also rarely brings any type of card advantage to the table in order to motor it, but I can’t say the existence of Pack Ooze couldn’t be, since obviously it wouldn’t be overpowered.

Bramble WeirdBramble Weird.

I could have only color-shifter Frostburn Weird. I felt like making the card a bit more white-green feeling though. As I made it, it’s still mostly balanced, and would trade with a Frostburn, though Frostburn would have to pay twice before Bramble started caring.

I also understand that Bramble Weird can boost its defence as much as it wants, to which I answer: Groot. Personally, I like it!

 

Master of WindsBonus Card: Master of Winds.
This one isn’t from Ravnica, but it’s too fun not to showcase. Devotion has this way of making a card deeply liked to its color, which makes it all the more interesting to shift.

Here I can see a big issue: white can take advantage of token strategies much better than blue. That being said, I don’t imagine it would have been so powerful that the whole meta-game would have shifted. I could be very wrong. I can imagine it would have been played in competitive play but maybe not into a top tier deck as powerful as blue devotion has been recently.

Wasn’t this great? I know Magic colors have a very strong identity, but in the end there is a fair space to work with and around each of the factions. It’s probably for the best, we don’t want design to be overly stiff in that area. The colors of magic, much like people, have several dimensions to them and that makes them all the more interesting!

Hope you had a great time, enjoy your week and see you next time!

We Have a Winner

Hey everybody! After about a hundred votes, we finally have a winner to our 2014 design contest, and it is Binding Ritual with 63% of the votes! I’ll be honest I’m glad it’s over; it was a lot of work! Ritual was also one of my favorite, though for reasons previously mentioned – mostly templating – it would have looked even better in the Return to Ravnica block, as an Orzhov equivalent to Detention Sphere.

Binding RitualSome people called it unimaginative, which I think isn’t quite fair for a card that is a deliberate twist on a popular design. I believe some have called it too powerful, but others also said it could have costed only a white and a black, as it only targets creatures.

Like I said last week, the last version works better in multiplayer, since you might give the life you stole from an opponent back to another one. That’s just a detail though.

All in all I’m glad this design was enjoyed by many.

Redditor IAMACasualRedditor is the lucky winner of the contest and gets a steam edition of the game Terraria – an awesome 2D clone of Minecraft, with more weapons and monsters! I’m stocked to have discovered the reddit community of /r/custommagic, which is full of amazing creators and great feedback. I will spend a lot more time there in the near future.

One of the recurring topics on this subreddit is card mashups. The winner of the previous round will post a random card, and all participant will also figure out their own card at random, and mix both of those in one new mashup design. Let me give you an example.

Click here to see a random magic card.Mashup


I had to pick two cards at random to play on my own for this post, and I picked Patron Wizard and Reprisal.

TPatron Warleaderhe result is Patron Warleader! I was on the fence about keeping the triple white mana cost, but consider this: alongside a turn 2 knight, you can start killing attacking creatures with power 2 as soon as turn 3!

In fact, if you played a 2 drop vigilance knight – which isn’t that rare – the turn before, it can attack nicely, without worrying about being blocked!

Either way, I don’t imagine the card is constructed playable, but isn’t it a blast to create designs that way? I think it is great. I also had some fun with the flavor text, and obviously the name.

If you can’t get enough of my designs, don’t hesitate to check out my reddit profile, as I’m posting extra designs there every now and then.

Either way, it’s time for me to wish you a great week, so see you next time!

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!