Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Fulmer Iterating

So fiddled around a bit more with Fulmer and raised his stakes a little bit, but also his impact.

So let's kind of go over my intent a bit.

-2: This is essentially Fulmer cackling with glee and giving the player permission to raise hell by preventing opponents from protecting themselves (with the exception of counterspells). The power technically does nothing on its own, but assumes that the player has a hand full of nasty spells and/or some aggressive creatures. Note that it lasts until your next turn. And it also includes you and your creatures, though this is typically not a problem for Rakdos. Black does have access to life gain, though, so something the player needs to keep in mind with building around Fulmer.

-3: So, I'm not entirely sure about the timing of loyalty and turning planeswalkers into creatures. There's a reason Gideon never minuses to transform. I realized that if Fulmer remains a planeswalker, he dies immediately if you activate this ability with 3 loyalty. So I took out the clause that he remains a planeswalker. I'm not sure if that fixes this problem. And now with this iteration I've made the change permanent. Fulmer becomes a demon if you use this power and is no longer a planeswalker. If you use this ability first, he's a demon creature with two loyalty counters, LOL. Not sure about rules issues, but with his ultimate, it seems like it's actually okay to do this. Obviously if he leaves the battlefield he becomes Planeswalker Fulmer again.

-5: I've changed the emblem to make it a very expensive life trigger and no longer requires casting him. Technically this means you can summon him, kill him by activating his ultimate, then summon him right back to the battlefield and use one of his other abilities. He's balanced around the idea of him returning to the battlefield repeatedly, so I don't think this is a balance problem, but he'd have to be tested quite a bit.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Vermin Frenzy

For Overgrowth I'm considering a B/G theme based on a small, scavenger creature army. Reave could be compatible with the idea of these creatures eating the dead. I don't want to make a scavenger lord, because I do not envision this all being organized. But I have an idea of the uncontrollable growth and death facilitating a fecund ecology for vermin.

So I'll probably want some token creation in green, template some of the smaller creatures in this type, and then some reave triggers in black in some of these small creatures. Right now I have reave in black as being used by necromantic types. But I can imagine small creatures in common getting more modest benefits.

Hex-Burnt Harvester

As an alternative to Aetherial Phantasm, what about this guy?

So the weird thing about green is that it's the color that is most connected to lands, but is also the color best positioned to produce mana without lands. It made it very odd to try to flavor a card that rejected land mana.

I happened to be listening to a podcast about MTG design and was listening to some complaints about the lack of design concepts in black/green. It occurred to me that a sort of corruption of mana to be used for dark means could fit in a sort of curse-style approach to these creatures. Think of the green/black elves.

Not sure how I feel. I kind of like it. I don't think it could go in just any set.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Aetherial Phantasm

So, is this even playable? I mean, I know it is in certain environments, but think about the kind of set this weird-ass creature would belong in.

So the inspiration for this was partly from Ari Nieh's interesting Kaladesh-inspired Steamfist Enforcer for the Great Design Search entries, which cares about whether you used mana from an artifact source to cast it.

So I had the idea of an undercosted creature that forbid you from using mana from lands to summon it. I originally templated it in blue. Then as I was thinking about what such a creature would look like, I visualized it as a spectral creature that was alien and artificial because it had no direct ties to lands or life or leylines. So I started thinking of it in terms of blue-black. But it felt like it would be very, very difficult to make different iterations of this creature and be usable in a colored deck in a limited setting.

So I essentially came up with artifact ghosts. I suspect these are probably going to still be too difficult to play in multiples in most limited sets. It would need to be a set specifically designed with non-land mana in mind available to a significant decree. It could fit into Ixalan, actually, with the treasures, but the flavor just doesn't feel right.

It could maybe find space in constructed formats that allow for older cards, though I'm not sure if it complements artifact affinity decks or competes with them.

It's also not right for Overgrowth either, at least not in my current conceptualization.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Fulmer, Rebel Hellspawn

So, I'm not entirely sure if Fulmer is meant for the Overgrowth set. If so, he's definitely meant to raise the stakes of the conflict. Perhaps he had some demon blood in his family tree and in the midst of this some sort of confrontation with troops from The Arbor, his spark triggers.

He was originally thought up as an actual Rakdos planeswalker from Ravnica. I wasn't playing back then and didn't follow the story, but apparently several Rakdos cult members actually drank the demon's blood and consumed him? I have an idea that perhaps Fulmer was one of them, or was the child of one of them, and sparked to become a planeswalker that can turn into a demon.

Mechanically the point of this card is to experiment with a red-black planeswalker that feels on color without succumbing to the typical planeswalker style, which I'm starting to feel like doesn't work for these two colors. When red and black play together, they're 100 percent aggression, destructiveness, and speed. There's no defense. There's no protection. So the natural concept that a planeswalker needs to be able to protect itself doesn't fit. Even the idea of "loyalty" seems wrong.

But when you take that stuff away, a planeswalker feels less like a planeswalker and more like an enchantment creature combo with a very short life span. So I thought about how I could make a planeswalker that was extremely impactful but also pushed for riskier play styles. Here's what I came up with after iterating on him for a while:

Ergh. Yeah, lots of text, lol. Fulmer isn't the first planeswalker to only minus, or even the only R/B one. Sarkhon Vol the Mad didn't have any way to gain loyalty counters either.

But Fulmer's emblem really changes the way he operates as a planeswalker. So you can ult him immediately and send him to the graveyard, only to return him next turn. But if you're truly either desperate or confident, you can activate his other skills. If you've got mulitples of this guy in your deck. You can always ult the second Fulmer you play. And then you can bring back either of them.

It's a high-stakes risk, though. I imagine pretty much every player is going to ult him immediately, lest he get hit with damage or removal before doing anything.

I really like the concept behind him because RB planeswalkers are so very hard to conceptualize. The big question is whether he's actually balanced. Or even playable.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Karya, Battlewright Captain

So I'm considering the possibility of using mono and allied colors to establish the world of Guthreham as things stand right now, and incorporating enemy colored cards to represent the growing conflict as the overgrowth, mutations, and disease make the status quo untenable. Maybe I will rethink Estavan as a white/black legend.

I just brainstormed this angel legend.

I bounced around through a couple of choices as to where this kind of ability might fit. I knew it would be red and another color. At first I thought about red/green, and then red/black, but the martial concept of focusing most instant-speed effects (it doesn't hit enchantments or artifacts) into combat just felt red-white with the rules setting component.

As a devoted blue player, I hate myself a little bit for coming up with this card.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Burgeoning Enchantments in Dominaria!?!?!?! (Spoilers!)

So, looks like Wizards of the Coast had another massive, awkward leak. Today the Chinese FAQ for the upcoming Dominaria set leaked out and folks have been translating it. This just prompted WotC to acknowledge what had happened, and shift gears on pre-release. More info here.

So for me, the big news is that idea I had been hammering out here in this blog for my Overgrowth set is in Dominaria! Burgeoning Enchantments.

In Dominaria they're called "Saga" enchantments. They are, of course, better crafted, have rules on them that make sense, and have been carefully hammered out. They obviously didn't steal the idea of it from me. I mean, I was inspired by a Magic card myself and the idea of making modal enchantments that change and grow from turn to turn. It's a logical progression, and so I'm not really surprised they came up with it, too. It's just funny that it comes out in this set while I'm still brainstorming how to make it work.

To refresh, here's one of my rather tame ideas for a burgeoning enchantment:

And here is how they're being presented in Dominaria:

The Antiquities War
Enchantment — Saga
(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I, II — Look at the top five cards of your library. You may reveal an artifact card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.
III — Artifacts you control become artifact creatures with base power and toughness 5/5 until end of turn.

So they use counters to avoid memory issues, which makes total sense, and I feel stupid for not thinking of it.