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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New Legends

Hello everybody, and welcome to episode 137 of Ominous Designs. The topic for today came to me while browsing /r/custommagic. What we are going to do is create legendary creatures for subtypes that never had one. Spoiler alert: it’s going to be a pegasus and a wurm.

Pelianos Mount of the GodsPelianos, Mount of the Gods. Didn’t think how close the name was from Paliano – main city in Conspiracy – at the time…
It seemed pretty obvious that the pegasus should serve as a mount to other legendary creatures.
I toyed with the idea of implementing this myself but in the end nothing serves this purpose as well as bestow does.
I based the design on the better version of limited all star Nimbus Naiad. I needed to make the legendary creature better so costed it more aggressively, seeing that its extra ability was a fringe one: the faithful companion is ready sacrifice himself to save his legendary friends.

Talath Volarian SovereinTalath, Volarian Soverein.
This one was harder to come up with. Wurms are not your typical sentient and charismatic legendary creatures! I also hoped to make it a Naya creature so it could serve as a commander for a deck containing most existing wurms. After playing around with the idea of a big creature with activated abilities granting keywords from various colors, I discovered I could afford up to 6 of them as long as I picked them well.

So this guy does have a ton but I don’t even think he is more threatening then Soul of Theros or Akroma. In the end he looks like a Naya Cromat.

Those are your – legendary – creatures for the day. Let me know if you think of some other types that need a hero to represent them.
I hope you all have a great time, and I’ll see you next Wednesday!

Planswalker Corner

Hello everybody, welcome to Ominous Designs episode 126. I had to improvise a recording on Monday night again, and it turned out to be the most catastrophic of all episodes! You can check out the video and see by yourself, though fortunately not all the issues I encountered ended up on this week’s episode.

I do have a theme for today – as ever so subtly evoked in the title – and that theme is Planeswalkers.

Kal Guardian of the SparkKal, Guardian of the Spark.

After I came up with the theme, I quickly thought of doing something similar to Sylvan Advocate.
I immediately fell in love with the idea, even though there just aren’t that many planeswalker that can turn into creatures.
In addition to them being red and white, – namely Gideon and Sarkhan – I felt they could potentially be green in the future, hence Kal’s colors. I also think that the ability itself feels green.

Worth noting too, I decivded a base of 4/4 with Trample is acceptable for a legendary 3 color card.

Keht Void IncarnateKeht, Void Incarnate.
Here is our weirdest card of the day, possibly week, month and year. I wanted to make a Planeswalker with a bunch of zeros and found the execution of that to be extremely challenging. The result is a less than satisfying card, but some interesting things to think about.

It is hard making a “minus” ability with a cost of 0, as you can’t bound its power. This turns Keht into a 4 mana unconditional removal that might stick around, which is already very strong.
The “ultimate” is the same deal: hard to define and to balance, ultimately cute but mostly functional.

As I said, our cards today are the byproducts of urgency and how little time I had for the article. The “zero themed” planeswalker was definitely something I would have to work hard and a long time on to make work. The result is definitely lacking, but in a way I am happy with how far we got in a relatively short time.

This weeks designs are still definitely worth considering and thinking about, so I hope you enjoyed them for what they are. Now is time to say see you next week, and have a good one!

Nayan Gold

Hi all. Good old last minute article this week, but this time with a twist! After getting a couple of designs out from my vault to make into cards, I found a theme, which brought us to a bonus third one. Ready to see all of them?

Rethik Combat TrainerRethik Combat Trainer I meant to make into a card for a while. I wanted a creature that enables all your guys to start fighting on demand, and RCT does just that.

Well, not only. First, I thought it would be reasonable to balance it with a +1/-1 clause for a more recklessly aggressive effect.

Secondly, I figured I might want something a little splashier for the trainer himself so I gave him the over costed “shotgun” ability you can see there. Does he seem fun to you? What about the power balance?

Aevis Guardian of the CitadelAevis, Guardian of the Citadel. Here is a pretty legendary creature now. And by pretty I really mean badass.

For a while I wanted to make a card similar to Gaddock Teeg, helping small creatures and hindering bigger ones. I figured basing it on power and toughness then modifying those would be a nightmare, so I went for converted mana cost instead.
Fun story, I thought of making her a sweet token helper, as Selesnya doesn’t really have that, but I ended up removing the ability when I opted for a good and cheap body.

Kerathan WarlordAnd now for our bonus round: Kerathan Warlord.

When I discovered this week’s theme would be Naya two color combinations, I quickly came up with a simple and beefy design for the Gruul clan.

Our warlord is big, and she hits hard. 6/6 trample for 5 isn’t too shabby but not too crazy either, especially considering our friend Sagu Mauler.

The deathtouch part I mostly added because the design still felt a little too vanilla for my liking but I could easily see removing it. What do you think, is it a case of “less is more”?

That wraps it up for today! Fun times as usual, gold cards are pretty aren’t they? The more I make designs, the more I want to create more good commons and uncommons but today was a fine escape from that – not that I have been following my new common new diet too strictly recently anyways.

I hope you enjoyed them, let me know what you think over here or on facebook, twitter, Imgur or reddit. Time for me to say see you next time, and have a great week!

Mana Mana Mana

…Batman? Nevermind. As it turns out there was another subject I haven’t dealt with this year, and not that much since the beginning of this blog either: it’s making mana. At large, mana producing isn’t the biggest space in magic cards design – you don’t want to get too fancy with it and instead rely on good old basic lands – but it’s definitely an interesting area to explore.

Lucky you, this week you are getting an artifact – what we call a mana rock – and a full cycle of 10 two-color lands! Let’s check those out right away.

Eye of KerathAs you can see Eye of Kerath is the mana stone.

I was wondering what kind of card could be made, using for downside that producing mana of any color would let an opponent draw a card. I believe a free artifact might be it!

Now to keep this card in check, there are a couple things to look at: would the modern deck Affinity play it? What about Storm? Lastly, how does it impact Legacy? Commander?
I think we are mostly safe on all fronts, but just in case I wanted to experiment with making it legendary. I wonder why it was hardly ever done.

Citadel RuinsNw for the big cycle. Citadel Ruins is the first land I created.

My main idea was to make a cycle of dual lands with a color making you lose life, but the other one gaining you some back.

My biggest worry was that the downside wouldn’t be great enough, and soon that you would find yourself with a bunch of lands gaining you life every turn.

You are looking at my second iteration. It would still need work and testing, as we need a strong incentive to not just play 12 of those is every deck!

Do tell me what you think of those. Now I’ll be leaving you with the full cycle of those beautiful lands, hope you will enjoy them. It’s been tons of fun working on their flavor; I wasn’t really set to make a cycle but I could help myself in the end.

I’ll be talking to you next week, until then have a good one!

Cursed Crater

 

 

 

 

 

Frozen Necropolis

Hexed Jungle Highfalls Castle Marsh Road Raging Peak Rethik Academy Rumination Pool Woods Edge Temple

The Last Clan

How Ominous. Well as it turns out it was a fine idea taking care of those 5 clans as soon as possible. This week we are tackling the last of them and this Saturday is the pre-release of Dragons of Tarkir, where all the clans are gone for good! I’m reasonably excited for the pre-release, as it is becoming one of my main if not my most important interaction with a new set these days. I’m not as much into the idea of the two-color broods and craptons of dragons, but I’m sure it’ll still be fun.

As I mentioned, now is the time to talk about clan number 5, which turns out to be Abzan. We are going to do so with a planeswalker and a creature. Abzan hasn’t really been missing on much as it had a plethora of amazing cards in the first two sets of the Tarkir block, but let’s see what we can make anyways.

Abzan Leech LordAbzan Leech Lord is here to provide us with another “+1/+1 counters matter”, one that cares about holding the fort – and by that I mean blocking.
I pushed its stats a bit, and its effect is semi splashy so I might have made him a rare.
On the other hand I’m not sure the overall power level is a lot above an uncommon, so I decided to go that route in the end.

In reality if he is too powerful as is, we can change its cost, base power and toughness or outlast cost, hence making him into a normal non-rare, so I’m not too worried.
Diane Warrior AscendedDiane, Warrior Ascended is our last Tarkir Planeswalker.
I don’t know that any of her abilities is correctly balanced, but I love the idea behind all of them. The first one is a lot in flavor for Abzan, Outlast and even Anafenza or Dragonscale General, and is a welcome twist on a Ajani-dominated +1 counters theme.
-2 is my attempt at “great protection through creatures”, which Abzan should be able to pull off. Diane’s ultimate finally brings in the warriors, again with hopefully one of the best defense you could need. Admittedly it’s not infinite Krakens, but it’s also a pretty cheap ultimate.
I think we have another case of very fun designs with probably more development work needed on them. As usual this doesn’t surprise me, as design is fun, and balancing is hard! Playtest is just mandatory for that, and obviously I don’t have time for that kind of things, as I do have a real job. I’m still please with today’s designs, more so than with the ones from the Mardu clan the previous week.
I hope you liked them too, I’ll be seeing you next week with a whole new article theme. Until then have a great week and a great pre-release! Dragonspeed.

Seeing Red

Sticking to the dad jokes! I’ll see if I can do something different for the title next week 😉 Well no need to explain what exactly is going on this week, if you have seen our green and blue articles, you know what’s about to happen and we’re good to go!

Hymn to the FlameHymn to the Fire is a good old X mana burn spell. Usually this kind gets a “boo it’s not original” but let’s say I’m doing a development exercise.
Convoke was originally a Selesnya mechanic, and only printed on two red cards in M15. Hymn to the Fire actually compares poorly to Stoke the Flame, as it costs 2 extra mana.

But how about versatility? In the long run, imagine an aggressive red deck sitting back on 3-4 mana and 3-4 small creatures unable to get through. Thanks to Hymn to the Fire, those are worth 6-8 direct damage! If your Rabblemaster tokens stuck around somehow, this could be pretty good.

Blaze ElementalBlaze Elemental is my attempt at creating the mystical great red 2 drop. A creature that duplicates itself every time it hits. Seems pretty good, doesn’t it? Obviously there is the potential to kill it right away, block it, or let it spread once and kill plus block, etc.

On the other hand, say you let it go through once and can only block from there on, well there will be two of those, and one will always get through. But that’s not all: what if the player using this card can remove your blocker? What if they play two Elementals?
This is going to get out of hand pretty fast.

Blaze Elemental obviously has the potential to be busted, but I’d like to know how it compares to Goblin Rabblemaster and Pack Rat, strategically and mathematically.

Pretty exciting either way, isn’t it? I’m fairly happy with this red designs this week. The last one is really on the edge and might be broken, but if it’s not it seems to me like a fantastic answer to the ancient question: who will challenge Snapcaster Mage, Dark Confidant, Tarmogoyf and Stoneforge Mystic?

I hope you enjoyed those. There are two more articles left in this cycle, let’s see which color gets the spotlight next week!

Now I want to invite you to a special bonus feature called: “check out my draft deck”. Arguably I need to rework the title a bit, but I’m so happy with how it turned out, I couldn’t help myself. I really wanted to draft a 5 color deck and boy was I rewarded! Look at this beauty.

4 colors

Trail of Mystery is a powerhouse, me and my friend stole several games on its back. Icy Blast is also amazing, Sage of the Inward Eye and Surrak Dragonclaw are obviously fantastic as well. Add some Trap Essence, tons of great morphs and spells… We didn’t even play our Siege Rhino!

We even won through starting with 80 cards due to a mtgo bug…

So much fun. Hope you are also having fun with the new expansion, and I will talk to you again soon. Until then, have a good one!