Category Archives: Cards

Currency exchange

Art from CurrencyNews.

This one started as an attempt to make a translation card. Turn something into the same thing but different (gods, I am great at explaining). The idea just sort of popped into my head, I guess because transforming cards is to typical but counters I think it hasn’t been done before. In the end translating didn’t fit the flavor as good as changing currencies.

Of course blue is the master at manipulation, and the pricetag goes in the line of Polymorph. This could be used to turn -1/-1 counters into +1/+1 (or viceversa), or mess with time counters from vanishing. Notice it says permanent, not creature — you can deactivate artifacts with charge counters or even kill planeswalkers!

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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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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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Pizza

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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