Monthly Archives: April 2012

Teddy bear

I realized I haven’t been giving proper credit to the people creating the images I use in my cards. I’ve been mercilessly ravaging the internet and not looking back. And that is wrong. Like, wrong wrong in the sense of “come on, man”.

So starting from this entry, I will add proper artist credit on the cards and the post. This great imagery for today was drawn by begemott.

Now on to the card!

By now you probably realized I am a sucker for epic, sweeping one liners on cards. I blame my foil Tenth Edition Time Stop, which is simply gorgeous. But they have their advantages: brevity is elegant, as they are easier to grok, and get to the point.

Flavor for this one is self-evident. When we were kids and things lurked in the dark, we all knew what to do: shielding ourselves with our blankets and trusting our brave teddy bears to fight the terrors for us. We had nothing to fear with them on our side!

Unfortunately, they are stills teddy bears, so don’t expect them to endure a lot. As for crunching the other factors, knight connotations placed the card on white,  and cost at a minimum since actual utility is doubtful.

But it’s short, resonant, and sweet. Definitely one of my favourites so far.

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Crash Test Dummy

In my mind, I picture the dummy jumping in front of an incoming Lightning Bolt or charging Progenitus to save a fellow battlemate. Poor expendable soul.

Instead of regenerating a creature, preventing all damage to you by one source was my other main contendant. But the effect wasn’t good enough. And preventing all damage for the turn dissolved too much the idea I reflected on the first paragraph.

(mm, now that I think about it, Meat Shield would’ve been a more fitting name…)

For costing I based myself mostly on Herbal Poultice (although with an eye on Pteron Ghost). I costed it a bit more aggresively, since for a mana less in casting and no mana in activation you get a 1/2 body. I never put Herbal Poultice in my Limited decks, but I think I would play Crash Test Dummy.

The 1/2 allows you to get something else besides the ability from it. You can use it to block incoming damage, then sacrifice it to save another blocking creature. With nothing else on the battlefield, and being an early bird at 2 mana, perhaps you can even make it deal some damage through.

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Summer at the beach

(For those of you that speak castilian, the original playtest name for this card was “verano guiri” ;))

So what does summer do? In Spain, a typical picture of the coast beaches includes pale people, wearing very little sunscreen and turning crab red.

The enchantment (that could’ve been a Planechase plane… perhaps another day), in its first iteration, affected “all creatures that have been continuously on the battlefield since the beginning of the turn”. That is, those that had already been for a little while at the beach. It was quite a mouthful though.

One of the axioms of design is “less is more”, so I looked for ways to reduce that criteria, and the easiest was this. I love cards with short text because they are so elegant and aesthetic.

The cost was a difficult decision. The only similar precedent I could find is Darkest Hour, from Urza’s Saga; but there’s also Blood Moon having a similar vibe. The cost had to have red in it. But since the flavor this card is playing upon involves the sun, it felt wrong not to have some white.

For a while I was going to go with RW, but this could be a nice hoser against Crusade and similar cards, so I made it into hybrid to allow it in monocolor red decks. White can use it to, hum, bypass protection from white perhaps? I’m sure the Johnnys in the audience will find a way to break it.

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So when I decided to make a card about pizza, I thought: “what’s the most characteristic thing they have?” And that is, of course, all these 2×1 deals.

I tried that idea first. The initial iteration of the mechanic was called “Tuesday’s Special Offer” and offered you the copy token when you casted it on a Tuesday. That felt a little too Unglued-y, and since I try to keep the cards as real-Magic as I can, I settled on a “second pizza for 50%” deal that is also quite common.

Again, I am sure that since this is an additional cost for casting, that ability should be the first line on the card. But remember to never put the punchline on the title, kids.

And what other characteristic does pizza have? You share it with your friends and feel great eating it. So a buff that many creatures can enjoy – bit by bit. Counters came to mind. It also had to be an artifact, because everybody loves pizza.

I needed an even casting cost for the extra 50% and pizzas are usually cut into six or eight portions, but that was too unplayable, so I reduced it to four. With the special promotion, for six mana you can pump +8/+8 permanently, at delayed instant speed, among your creatures; it also interacts great with persist, proliferate and metalcraft.

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Tetris Player

I wanted the ability to be reusable, so I chose a negligible casting cost and paired it with a high activation cost. I didn’t set it that higher, though, because I compensated by making it quite frail. You would probably get at most one use out of this before being killed, since you are probably casting it in a dedicated deck and sort of abusing it.

Blue is the color of messing with tapping and face-down, so that was a no-brainer.

Templating is probably not right; I tried changing it to “Choose one – Target permanent spell enters the battlefield tapped, or target permanent spell etc” — I think that’s how it would be written in real MtG. But it became too wordy and ofuscated the joke. So I let this one slide too.

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Link, Hero of Time

Costing Link in anything but green would feel just wrong. That’s why he is not in blue, despite destroying plants and surrounding himself in ancient mystical trinkets.

If we go by flavor, you could even argue for white/red, seeing as how he’s a crusader of peace fueled by the Triforce of courage.

Templating would mean the owner getting seven more turns instead of the opponent skipping, but as I find again and again, sometimes I need to make flavor trump wording or the effect is lost.

Mana cost and loyalty values were handwaved – the first ability is unplayable anyway. This was one of those cases where I wasn’t aiming for something a hundred percent printable, but just close enough.

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