Fusion

Hello everybody! Welcome to Ominous Designs episode 157. Today we are making some fuse cards. I am going to keep the design that inspired me with this theme for the end, so that we can start with an uncommon and then do a rare. Shall we get started?

lockLock // Key

Incidentally, I made my second design based on names that I found on some wikipedia entry. – siamese twins names, a very useful one – It is also my favourite design of the week. It is simple, elegant and probably well balanced as well as powerful!
There isn’t too much to say about it, except I did consider using the detain mechanic because it and fuse are both native to the plane of Ravnica. But since Lock is meant to be a tempo play, I wasn’t too fond of having it last two players’ turns. By tuning its power level a bit that way, I could also make sure that 3 mana would be reasonable for the two effects, making it much closer to Artful Dodge than you might think, though it does have the upside of a possible use defensively. – albeit not to the greatest effect –
Like I said I quite like the card, so I hope you do too!

aliveAlive // Kicking

The concept of putting a creature into play and having the possibility of making it fight was in my vault for quite some time. I didn’t know it would turn into a fuse card but it is quite fitting now. The tricky part was to balance it.
On one hand Alive is just about a reprint of Dramatic Entrance, and on the other Kicking is even closer to Pit Fight. I lean on the fact that both of those original cards are good but I hope not so good that they can’t be put together if I throw in two very slight mana downsides. I am not aware of Dramatic Entrance being used outside of commander and Pit Fight outside of Limited, so my take is that I have made Alive // Kicking slightly better than those two in their respective formats, which might just be fine.
Some time this morning, – I believe it was one of those shower thoughts – I realized that Alive was already the name for an existing fuse card, half of Alive // Well. What can you do… I’m sure there is another name out there for our design.

It’s been fun making fuse cards! Give me your thoughts on those, I think the rare is acceptable and I am rather excited with Lock // Key.

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If This Then That

Another computer science pun! The video for this article is called “Switches” (link here) and it also hints at today’s designs are checking for some information in order to have different effects, somewhat like programming languages work. Fascinating, isn’t it?

volarian-wildernessVolarian Wilderness

Volarian Wilderness will ask that you reveal the top card of your library at every upkeep, reward you with a token based on the card you revealed.

About a third of your deck – lands – will get you a 1/1 insect, while the rest will either give you a 3/3 beast or a 6/6 wurm, based on how many high mana cost cards you have put in your sixty – or fourty, or one-hundred? – cards.

I feel the card is somewhat similar to Primeval Bounty and it’s hard to tell if it is better or worse.

aethercasterAethercaster
This one is quite a bit weirder. Activate the golem and what you will get is a copy of either a spell or a creature.

The price is quite high – 5 mana in two colors – but it has potential to have some devastating effect! The way I see it, even getting a “free” spell should be kept in check by having to pay 3 for a creature and 5 for an activation. I could be horribly wrong though, so do let me know if that’s the case!

To me, the ability reads like a “draw a card” that has you cast the card for a nominative fee.

What do you think about the cards of the day? I find them interesting. The enchantment might be tweaked but it’s the gold that has the biggest potential for ridiculousness. So hopefully I didn’t go too wrong with it. You tell me!

Now’s time to say goodbye and see you next week though. Play responsibly!

 

Mana from the Vault

Hello everybody, welcome back to normal life and our cycle of weekly episode of Ominous Designs. This one is mighty number 151. Yesterday, while recording our live episode I searched my design vault for mana producers I added in there recently. Here are two of them, an artifact and a land.

altar-to-the-forgotten-godsAltar to the Forgotten Gods

I don’t remember the exact time I thought of filtering colorless mana but I know it didn’t take me long to come up with a mana stone that could do exactly that and also create a mana of its own.

There are many three-drop-all-colors mana stones out there, much like Darksteel Ingot for example, but really Altar is Chromatic Lantern‘s cousin in spirit.
I can see this one be quite powerful in Cube, especially combined with cards like Sol Ring, Basalt Monolith or Worn Powerstone.

overlooking-lakeOverlooking Lake

Our second card was inspired by the recently spoiled commander card Ash Barrens.

Adding land cycling to a land is difficult to do properly, as you want to know where exactly it will fit on a mana curve and balance that with the types of mana it grants you access to. I started with a two color version and it was quite hard to make it better than a mere gate.
This version though, while unassuming, provides great flexibility, especially if you factor in the powerful ability of cycling at instant speed.

And here we are: first article of a new batch of 150. Let’s see if we can get there!
Either way I do hope you liked the cards, do let me know what you think and I’ll see you next week. Play responsibly!

The Haunting

Hey all, welcome to Ominous Designs 146. Our title today, The Haunting, tells us a bit about the process behind a new mechanic. That mechanic is called Imbue, and it’s a combination of Haunt, Bestow and potentially Cipher.

We are going to look at three different rarities of mostly simple implementation of the mechanic, – french vanilla if you will – and next week we will try and do some fancier things with it.

galewingGalewing is our common, and the usual blue flyier, except this time it is not a Wind Drake. It borrows more from Gravity Negator.
As you can see, the idea with imbue is that when your creature dies, it will lend some of its power to another creature until that one dies.

With flying, it is tricky to balance power level since depending on the situation, the imbue ability could be quite powerful.
When in doubt though, I go back to Nimbus Naiad and tell myself that for 5 mana I could have +2/+2 flying as well as a 2/2 flyer, so there is still a chance that our version is reasonable.

gleambearer-elementalGleambearer Elemental.

For the uncommon, we are looking at a smaller creature. I first considered using first strike for this one but didn’t like the potential swinginess of it.

I went for lifelink, giving us something similar to Hopeful Eidolon. As eidolon taught us, giving lifelink to a big creature can be quite the pain in the butt, so even if the power might be fine, I don’t think we would what it to be a common thing.

Still, Gleambearer is a tight little designs and a pretty great 2 drop if you ask me.

blazelasherBlazelasher.
Our rare is red, and angry! A double striker who gives double strike to another creature should be a lot of fun to play.

I danced around for a bit, trying to figure out what the cost of a 2/2 double strike should be, seeing things like 2 mana for Scourge Wolf or 4 for Hounds of Griselbrand. I think we should be good at 3 mana, just looking at Silverblade Paladin and Arashin Foremost which mostly have better upsides.
The one remaining question is should red have access to those stats, and I don’t see why not.

This is it for the week! I am happy with the design. It is not the most creative but definitely solid and tight. I cannot really think of a reason it would be a developmental problem and I can on the other hand imagine it be fun to play with. Hope you will agree! If you don’t just let me know why.

That is all for the week, I will see you next time for episode 147. Until then, play responsibly!

Fast Auras

Hi everybody, welcome again to Ominous Designs. This time we are doing our 143rd episode and I am going to solve try solving the issue with Aura cards which is : what if it doesn’t even hit the battlefield because the target is removed in response? Our live episode was a bumpy one as it started with the assumption that Split Second would solve all of our problems, only to realize mid-stream that it only insures the enchantments does come into play but doesn’t help with the fact you are committing two cards on one creature. Regardless, I proceeded on creating two auras with a guaranteed trigger.

Migth of the PackMight of the Pack.

I first toyed around with an aura split between a static and a temporary effect, only to discover that you could still destroy the targeted creature and get rid of both. My next move would be to allow targeting any creature.
Split Second will ensure the card will enter the battlefield, and your opponent will have two bigger creatures to deal with, unless of course you decided to target only one, in which case you are still under the threat of a single card taking care of the two of yours and of your temporary +4/+4 trample creature.

Revenge CommitteeVengeance Committee.
I went through all the recent auras and I found a couple that would benefit from being guaranteed.
One of them is Murder Investigation. Getting a lot of 1/1 is a desirable effect and with Split Second we find ourselves with something pretty close to a Sorcery that says create X 1/1 where X is the power of target creature. Pretty good for 3, isn’t it?
I started by attempting to create a card one could consider play in Bogles, but gave up. Now I think you might consider siding one of those if you think one of your huge hexproof creatures is still likely to die.

Split second is a 7 on the storm scale, which means it isn’t very likely to come back but if you ask me, everything that is even remotely possible will end up happening again considering how many sets we’re going through nowadays. It is also slightly surprising that the only Split Second aura ever created was a control magic effect but since there was only one altogether I suppose it had to be arbitrary.

That will be it for today! Like I said before I didn’t end up achieving exactly what I had in mind originally but at the very least this was good food for thoughts. I hope you liked the cards and/or got some inspiration from them. I will see you next week for another episode and another theme and 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!

Yesland Permanents

Hello everybody and welcome to episode 139 of Ominous Designs. New week, new mechanic! I feel like I have done a good job creating more of those this year. I glad to have all that material to revisit and perhaps even a couple of those mechanics could be hand picked, tweaked added to a custom set!
Today’s mechanic is pretty ambitious as we are trying to create cards that can either be lands or creatures, and I am hoping to do so at lower rarities as well.

SproutlingSproutling is the mascot for the mechanic Surface.
Lands with surface can basically awaken themselves. If you do use the ability, Sproutling well be a 2/2 for 1G, which is fine though not particularly popular these days for green creatures.

If you don’t so it’s simply a land that comes into play tapped and produces green mana, which obviously isn’t great but not awful either. It becomes amazing when you can choose between the land and the bear. Hopefully we can keep the power level in check by limiting it to either small or over-costed creatures.

Reef ElementalReef Elemental is the blue flyier herald of our mechanic. You will get a tapped Island or a 2/2 flyer for the high-high price of 4 mana.
Now let’s think about the implications being able to fetch such cards: this was the reason I could not default those to be creatures. They might be low-powered, but you still don’t want Primeval Titan to just get two of those and put them directly into play. Is it okay for fetch-lands to get you various small creatures in hand? It’s hard to say but the gut feeling would be that it might not be. It is still hard to imagine a constructed deck bothering to pull such antics for a 2/2 but maybe we still want to not give it access to abilities like flying.

And this it for the week. A particularly difficult balancing act this time, as I have gone through at least three iterations of the mechanic. Power level will also have to be closely monitored but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the kind of challenge Wizards try to tackle in the near future. Do tell me how you think you would implement it.

This is it for real this time, episode over. I’ll see you next week for number 140. Until then have a good one and play responsibly!