Freestyle

What’s up everybody, welcome to episode 160 of Ominous Designs. This week I brought you two cards I created within two days of recording the episode, with no particular theme to them. Good designs though, I hope.

assert-dominanceAssert Dominance

I believe this one was influenced by my great experience with Rishkar’s Expertise a the Aether Revolt pre-release, though I am pretty sure my main intent was to reproduce or fix an old design of mine you can find here.

It is a rather hard design to balance, with wild variation in power level. It can easily be a Careful Study or a Divination, but in the late game it will likely dig fairly deep into your deck.
Combine with bounce effects or pump spells for maximum effect!

sublime-battle-armorSublime Battle Armor

What can I say. If you don’t see where this is coming from you probably have never heard of Sublime Archangel.

I actually first thought that it would be a good way to somehow still get a use out of the creatures you have tap to crew a vehicle, which lead me to investigate the Exalted route.

Battle Armor looks great but it is mostly a give and take twist on the original design, which was a good card. I kept it white to fully mirror Archangel’s design.

That is all for today! As per usual do give me all your feedback on your favourite outlet, I shall see you again next week for episode 161. Play responsibly!

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!

 

More or Less Lands

Hello everybody and welcome to Ominous Designs again, here on the Responsible Gaming Megacorp. This week our cards are centered around lands, and playing more or less of them. We are going to start with playing more.

Kerathan LandkeeperKerathan Landkeeper features my new strategy of pushing concepts by putting them on powerful cards.
Only two Mana to start doubling fetch lands is a little over the top, but at least the only go in hand and they have to be basic. It still makes Landkeeper an extremely powerful card as is. I could see it played in random combo decks including things like Scapeshift, Valakut, Life from the Loam, or even Seismic Assault.

I played around with the idea of making it a huge commander card, but I prefer the flashy over the top constructed version.

Zameck BotanistZameck Botanist is somewhat the opposite design to landkeeper.

This scientist – I wish that was a creature type – will reward you for not playing a land during your turn. Interestingly enough it actually combos with the landkeeper.

For this one I went with a much more reasonable cost, inspired by Prophet of Kruphix and I think it was the right decision. You don’t want a cheap creature that saves your mana screw hands – or rather you probably do, but it has to cost at the very least four to no be ridiculous.

And that’s an episode. So what do you want to do now, play less lands or more lands? It’s up to you! Feel free to tell me what you think about the balance on this week’s cards, I’m happy with the concepts behind them which is the most important to me.

Hope you enjoyed our episode number 131, now is time for me to say see you next week and have a great one!

 

Nothing is Lost, Everything Propagates

Hi everyone! I am quite pleased to announced that today we are going to look at a brand new mechanic I created for the Simic combine. Introducing Propagate, with three new cards! No need to waste any more time, better check those beauties out.

Apex BeetleApex Beetle is our Propagate variation on bears.

As you can see the mechanic is somewhere between Graft and Scavenge, giving you the opportunity to turn your creature into counters provided that you have the mana to do it right when it dies.

For the power level, I mostly based the design on Drudge Beetle. Provided that Propagate is quite a bit harder to pull off than Scavenge, especially on a low cost creature with a high cost ability, I gave a little boost to the effect. At the end of the day it’s a 2/2 for 2 with a nice upside, which is always nice.

Adaptive DrakeAdaptive Drake is the flying creature bringing Propagate to blue.

Along with Grizzly BearsWind Drake is one of the most commonly adapted design when coming to a new mechanic in a new set.

Being more powerful than bears to begin with, and since blue should probably not get too much beefy abilities, I kept Propagate to the lowest possible.
It allowed me to use a very affordable cost – one that would be much easier to have saved up when it dies – which makes drake for a very powerful card in limited, possibly an uncommon.

Apex WurmApex Wurm is our two color rare and last card.
You always need a rare when trying to showcase a new mechanic. A 6/6 for 6 with trample is a very nice start but if it dies on your next turn when you have the mana available to pay again, you can get 4 counters back onto another creature!
I added the cute ability that lets Apex Wurm propagates its trample as well when it dies, making sure you still have a powerful threat left on board.

I am now realizing that if the wurm gets killed right away, you most likely won’t have the mana to use its ability. With such a downside, I guess I could have bumped the ability to 6 counters.

And that’s it! What do you think? Baring some power balance I think we are on a good track. The issues with Propagate would be that you need to have mana available to use it when the creatures are dying, but that doesn’t seem too hard to make happen for the Simic, sporting the colors of flash, especially if you bend the format somewhat towards making it easier. People love mana sinks and instant speed effects anyways.

The other issues would be that the flavor of the mechanic isn’t quite ready to print yet, but that’s also something that can be improved on. I wanted to evoke the idea of some sort of symbiote that transmits some of itself away when the host dies, but without using a word that would sound too black like Parasyte for example. For the flavor of the cards themselves I had to try and bend to the illustrations I had handy. I’m still quite happy with the results! You’ll tell me what you think.

That’s it for this week. I have some exciting news coming up but I haven’t fully finalized my preparations to publish them so for now I will leave you with a spoiler image.
Have a great week and see you later!

 

IMG_20151118_125309

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

Filling the Gaps

Hi all. Something happened this week. Or rather something didn’t. I wasn’t inspired by anything. It is a pretty occurence, as it doesn’t take much to get my creature juices flowing. It’s not like I haven’t checked out /r/custommagic every now and then, I was just too busy with work I guess.

Worry not! Do you know what we do when not inspired? Well, there’s a few different strategies, but when you don’t have the time to just patiently listen to the muses, add some method in there! What I set up to do this week is to catch up on lacking areas of my creations this year, figure out what is currently missing from my 2015 portfolio and make up for it. Let’s see what it takes to make my legacy complete!

Well spoiler alert, we are going to need more instant and sorceries. Lots of them. I am afraid nothing I will do today will fully compensate for the head start creatures have had so far – 23 or so creatures compared to 3 instants and 3 sorceries in 2015 – but we are going to make it worth our time.
I pinpointed two more things missing. First, I didn’t create many gold cards this year, and none one with my two least represented colors either, blue and green – apart from a certain Sultai Smiter, as you might guess of Sultai colors. Second thing, there are no commons! I actually consider this an utter failure, as a game maker really needs to be able to handle simple and elegant designs.

Kerathan ExperimentSo here it is, Kerathan Experiment. I have a little trivia for you: do you know how many Simic common sorceries there are in the history of magic? One! I’m not the only one needing to work on that apparently.

There are a couple things green and blue have in common and I wasn’t inspired by: ramping and bounce – I wonder how so many bounce effects made their way into Simic cards actually.

Instead, I leaned towards the aspect of spell-creating tokens and I think I have an interesting and clean one here. Tell me what you think!

Command the WindsNext is Command the Winds. As it turns out, blue was the least common color among my designs this year, and yet I have made two blue instants already! We are focusing on sorceries today. Even better, I had not made a card-drawing spell yet, here is a good occasion to do so.

What flavour do you add to a common draw spell? It isn’t that easy to figure out! I did find one though, drawing more when you control flying creatures.

I thought about it closely and Command the Winds is definitely both balanced, limited playable and interesting enough in that field. It isn’t exciting but I could run it in control decks. Would you?

What would you say of my latest efforts. Commendable? It is good to work on a mandate – albeit self-assigned – for a change, creation can’t always be wild and free. Delivering on pieces needed for the overall health of the game is also a very important part of game design.

Hope you enjoyed it, I’ll see you next week for more!

Bear Claws

Hmm… Pastries. Hi everybody, welcome to our third clan article, this one is Temur! No big news this week, and I’m little pressed by time for a change, so why not just get started.

Udagan Bear WhispererUdagan, Bear Whisperer is our Temur Planeswalker.
As you can see, it can be used as a 4/4 for 4 which is in flavor in Temur even if not the most exciting.
Udagan’s ultimate is also transforming her into a yet bigger and badder Bear, which does seem a little more boring when combined with the -3 ability, but I think I would keep that one over the previous if I had to, I love to see my PW transform into a ferocious beast!
The thorny one is the +1, providing such a big ramp. I checked and it’s faster than Garruk or Xenagos, but I can’t tell if that makes it broken.

RRoam the Battlegroundsoam the Battlegrounds is my attempt of finding something that was missing in Khans.

It might have been missing for the reason that fetches weren’t that important, and it was actually more underwhelming that missing with Seek the Horizon and Map the Wastes, but I think this instant might still help the Temur Frontier nicely.

Instant speed Rampant Growth is already basically good enough, and the additional land with ferocious could be amazing, if you have already powered out an early ferocious creature and are looking to play a couple more fatties, Temur style…

Having a good time! I still am! I’m not fully sure I will keep on creating a Planeswalker for each clan but so far it’s been enjoyable so why stop. Those are hard to design though, I’m not sure I nailed any of them – actually I’m sure enough none was a complete home run. Maybe that’s all the more reasons to keep on making them!

Either way, now that Dragons of Tarkir is around the corner, I’m that much more assured that I should finish the cycle sooner than later, so I think you can look forward to either Mardu or Abzan next week. Good times either way, have a good one and see you next week!