Monthly Archives: May 2012

Goku

Art is a screenshot of the series.

Well, this one was a headache for balancing.

Let’s start with the basics. Goku gets more and more powerful as Dragon Ball got more and more letters added to its title. In the show, the way he got powerful is mostly “deciding” he needed to be, screaming a lot, and dying his hair.

I found that difficult to work with.

So I went back to the roots: he gets powerful because his enemies become so, and by fighting them, he becomes a better combatant.

Anyway, at the end of the show Goku is nothing short of a demigod, so I knew the end state would have to be a quasi-Progenitus beast. The problem was getting him there without: a) starting off too close as to not make the transition fun or motivating, and b) starting off too weak and getting our of character (he was a powerhouse already as a kid).

I think I managed to get a pretty cool balance. Okay, for six mana you get a 4/4 guy. But picture this. If they chump block it, next turn you get a flying 5/5 – and now they’re in trouble. If they don’t, you are getting four damage through consistently. And you still are motivated to keep leveling him up, of course – there are worlds of difference between a 5/5 with flying and a 10/10 with flying, first-strike and indestructible. I almost feel like attaching annihilator there.

Cost was upped enough so at first the card is disadvantageous, so you are motivated to look for a level up. Color was picked  because Goku is a simple minded creature guided by emotions (hunger and rage, most commonly).

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Douchebag jar

I am not a big fan of Fox’s New Girl (every time I give it a new chance, it disappoints me again by not being funny). But it inspired this card. The douchebar jar functions exactly like you would expect (that is, like a swear jar  for douches).

In Magic terms, I chose to represent being a douchebag as killing your things, burning your face or making you discard – so, mostly anything that targets you or your things. I thought simply “playing a spell” was too harsh.

Easiest way to compensate? Giving you mana! Also considered – getting back at your opponent making him discard, exiling his creatures… But punishing bad behaviour feels quite white, so I thought it would be better to take a Gandhi approach and not retaliating in the same terms, but in a more soft subtle indirect way.

The green is to make the mana feel more at home. Yes, I know that this is more multicolor than hybrid, but I wanted the cost at one (hybrid – classic trick to keep costs down). This artifact is only useful played as soon as you can.

Finally, I made it legendary to avoid abuse by having a lot of them in the field, and rare because it’s legendary – c’mon, what is this, Kamigawa?

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Rage quit

Art by Francisco Ibáñez.

I had no instants or red cards so far. The concept for rage quit came from red mostly always meaning fury and anger, and non-permanent spells usually representing actions.

A rage quit, for those that don’t know, it’s when a player quits a game after losing or just before actually losing, usually storming off and spouting insults and complains.

Your creature is not destroyed; before that happens, it leaves the battlefield by itself, flaming everything on its way.

So in this case, the rage quit card actually prevents rage quitting. If your big bad creature would be destroyed, instead of crying, you can wipe out your opponent’s board and smack him in the face.

It enables such a come back I feel tempted to call it “blue shell”!

Cost and rarity were a given.

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Mercadia mercenary

Art is a still shot from the beloved TV show Firefly. I never played in Mercadia block, but the treacherous bazaar feeling always reminded me of Firefly.

In Reddit, at the Custom Magic subreddit, there was a challenge to come up for a card that could be in a hypothetical Future Sight 2 set.

Since when you have a hammer, all you see are nails, and I still had my Special Promotion ability keyword rummaging through my head, I went with that.

I was thinking on how could I apply that keyword for creatures. Because of memory issues, I knew it could only be a vanilla or virtual vanilla. Black is supposed to be third at haste, and Future Sight (although less than Planar Chaos) was not afraid of some colour bleeding.

In the end, the creature is something quite simple and not overpowered, so common seemed like a natural fit (I have a saying: if something can be a common, let it be a common…). I think the contest was looking for something a bit more splashy, but every set needs its commons, and this one does it job of showing a new cool mechanic!

I am not sure of its design space. Perhaps converted mana costs don’t need to be even, and the recruitment cost can be rounded down. But I’m sure the creatures need to be of low complexity. ETB triggers, french vanillas and that’s it. At most, you can squeeze a spring large set out of this.

Final touches of flavor came from me feeling like previewing a return to a previous plane and Mercadia was the first thing that popped into my head. In that block, mercenaries, like rebels, fetched each other from the battlefield. This is a new take on representing that kind of mechanic.

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Market thugs

Art by Forges.

This card was inspired by two things. First, my attempt to make a simple common instead of a splashy uncommon/rare; and preferably black. Second, the financial crisis. Flavor behind the card is the market hunger for bringing countries down to their knees and raze them.

Initial version of this card was as complex as it gets. By discarding a creature card, you placed a +1/+1 counter on it. Then, by removing three counters AND if you had threshold, you could destroy a target land. I wanted to symbolize how the economic powers get big on personal tragedy, and once they get out of control, they can even tackle whole countries.

Then I remembered I wanted a common. After New World Order, I can’t spare so many complex points. So I completely removed the second ability, and kept the first albeit discarding a land card. But markets have a demonic sense into them: it’s not that they get bigger when you sacrifice countries to them, it’s that you are forced to! Or else!

You don’t always have land cards in hand to spare, so instead of making you lose life as consequence of noy paying your debts, I decided to simply tap it. Markets won’t collaborate with you unless you concede to their wishes.

I changed the card to this kind of demonic ability and called it a day.

Then I realized I had reinvented Carnophage.

Well, here it is, as is, as a testament of my honesty.

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