The search continues as we move from seven to five!

The Great Designer Search Episode #5
“Once More With Feeling”, Part I

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The letter H!ello everyone. It's time for the fourth Design Challenge, so let's get right to it. Here's what was sent to the seven remaining applicants:

Dear Applicants,

Congratulations! You've advanced past another round.

Now it's time for Design Challenge #4 – “Once Again With Feeling”. This week we're going to be testing a very important design skill, the ability to do design by extrapolating from other people's work.

Here's what we're going to do. Below are eight cards (one from each of the final candidates eliminated so far). With each card is a note from the Lead Designer about what we need. You will need to design one card for each request, eight cards in total.

For this assignment assume that these eight cards will not coexist in the same set. Each one should be designed in a vacuum.

Conrad Corbett

Really Focus (uncommon)
4U
Sorcery
Discard any number of cards, then draw that many cards.
Then, discard any number of cards, then draw that many cards.

Lead Designer Notes: I really like how this card does the same thing twice but in a way where the two have some interaction with one another. Design another card that can go in a cycle with this one (and yes, it will be uncommon). This means the card cannot be blue. The card must be an instant or sorcery.

Andrew Emmott

Skritano Tumbler (uncommon)
2R
Creature - Human Nomad Shaman
2/1
Whenever you play an instant or sorcery spell, for each red mana spent on that spell, Skritano Tumbler deals 1 damage to target creature.

Lead Designer Notes: I think having cards that add effects based on the mana spent for the spell is meaty design space. For this set, I want to do a vertical creature cycle in red. This will be the uncommon so make a common or rare (in red – vertical cycle means a common, uncommon and rare in the same color). As this one's effect is damage, don't use damage as an effect.

Christopher Jablonksi

Pants of the Dead [Macabre Pants--I mean Dance](uncommon)
3BB
Enchantment - Aura
Enchant black creature
Enchanted creature gets +1/+1.
When enchanted creature deals combat damage to an opponent, return target,creature from your graveyard to play. Attach CARDNAME to that creature. If you can't, sacrifice CARDNAME.

Lead Designer Notes: I like how this spell creates a reason to change the target of the enchantment. This effect seems cool enough that I want to sprinkle some more in the set. Lose the “enchant colored creature” and the “If you can't, sacrifice enchantment”. The effect doesn't have to be a combat damage trigger. Finding one that can work in common would be a big plus.

Greg Krajenta

Expansive Gardens (Rare)
GGG
Enchantment
If Expansive Gardens is on the stack green spells and abilities cost 3 less to play.
Whenever a forest is tapped for mana add G to your mana pool.

Lead Designer Notes: I'm obviously nervous about mentioning the stack, but there's something interesting about spells that have an effect while being played. I'd like to see an example of something in common or uncommon that would have an interesting play in limited.

Andrew Probasco

Infernal Contest (rare)
1B
Sorcery
Search your library for a card and remove it from the game face down. Target opponent chooses a card type. Reveal the removed card, if it is not of the chosen type, put that card into your hand.

Lead Designer Notes: I like the idea of cards that allow a mind game between you and your opponent where each one of you is trying to figure out what the other is thinking. Let me see another rare, not black or blue.

Noah Weil

Seraphim Surge (rare)
6WWW
Sorcery
Pyre: 3(When you play a spell with Pyre 3, you may remove any multiple of 3 cards from your graveyard from the game. For each instance of 3 you remove, reduce this card's casting cost by 1) [In these cards' case, if you remove 18 cards from your graveyard as you play it, its casting cost is CCC]
Put all creature cards with flying from all graveyards into play under your control. Pyre X:

Lead Designer Notes: I like Pyre because I like the idea of using your graveyard as a resource. Common cards with Pyre seem straightforward. I want to see an uncommon card that will have some build around me appeal for the budget player and drafters. Don't feel tied to Pyre 3.

Aaron Weiner

Persistent Armorer (common)
2W
Creature – Human Soldier
2/2
Other creatures you control get +0/+1.
0: Persistent Armorer becomes an enchantment.(It's no longer a creature. This effect doesn't end at end of turn.)

Lead Designer Notes: The persistent mechanic seems cool. I want to see a splashy rare with this ability. Something sexy we can preview. Add mana to the activation.

Landon Winkler

Invisible Presence (Common)
1U
Enchantment – Aura
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature can't be blocked except by creatures with defender.
Auratide 3 (When you play an Aura with converted mana cost 3 or more, you may put this card from your graveyard into play.)

Lead Designer Notes: I think we're going to do a common and uncommon cycle of this mechanic. What I'm missing is a card that while doesn't have auratide would play well with cards that do. But you need to be subtle as I don't want it obvious that this is what the card's supposed to do. Don't mention the words “enchantment” or “aura”.

There you go. For each card you may write up to fifty words about its design.

Have fun!

Mark Rosewater

The skills of this challenge are ones that designers use every day. So how'd our applicants fare? Let's see.

Mark Globus

Card #1 (Conrad Corbett) – “Do twice” instant or sorcery

Nightmares upon Nightmares (uncommon)
3BB
Sorcery
Sacrifice a creature. If you do, return a creature from your graveyard to the game. Then, sacrifice a creature. If you do, return a creature from your graveyard to the game.

A double Recurring Nightmare generates anything from trading up two weak creatures for two strong ones, to clearing a negative enchantment off of a favored creature, to the generation of out of order effects by returning and sacrificing something like a Faceless Butcher.

Card #2 (Andrew Emmott) – “Effect if red used” common or rare creature

Skritano Striker (rare)
3R
Creature - Human Nomad Shaman
2/2
For each RR spent casting a creature, target creature gains double-strike until end of turn.

This card is a fairly straightforward extension of the "effect if red used" mechanic by triggering off a double red instead of a single.

Card #3 (Christopher Jablonski) – Aura that moves

Spread the Health (common)
G
Enchantment - Aura
Enchant Creature
Whenever CARDNAME becomes attached to a creature put a +1/+1 counter on that creature. Whenever an instant or sorcery is played, you may choose a new target for CARDNAME.

This triggers off of instants and sorceries so that it can save itself, a creature (or both) from creature removal. By having the attachment of the aura to the creature trigger the +1/+1 counter, the power granted by this card continues to grow throughout the course of the game.

Card #4 (Greg Krajenta) – Common or uncommon card with effect on stack

Fury of the Spikes (uncommon)
RG
Instant
While CARDNAME is on the stack, all players gain "2: put a +1/+1 counter on target creature."
Deal X damage to target creature or player where X is the number of creatures with +1/+1 counters.

The stack effect is small, yet repeatable; the resolution effect is scalable off of the stack effect. Together this provides a clean, grokkable package. Even though the various cards are not part of a set, I like the synergy this one has with Spread the Health.

Card #5 (Andrew Probasco) – Rare spell with a mind game

Potential Reinforcements (rare)
2G
Sorcery
Search your library for any number of copies of a creature in play and remove them from the game face down. Target opponent states a card name. Reveal the removed cards. If the cards match the name stated, put them in your graveyard. Otherwise put the cards into play. Shuffle your library.

This card improves upon the unsuccessful Bifurcate with a better risk/reward payoff. Bifurcate would fizzle when its target was removed, and that was enough to cause that card to be unplayable. Here, removal only reduces the odds of success, and the payoff is greater.

Card #6 (Noah Weil) – Uncommon “Build around me” spell with pyre

Releaser of the Past (uncommon)
3W
Creature - Human Cleric
1/4
Pyre: 2
Gain 2 life whenever a card leaves a graveyard.

Directly, this particular challenge is about extension of other work. However, I also wanted to showcase some 'design design' on some cards as well. This one uses a new effect - there are many cards that trigger off of entering the graveyard, but none (yet) that trigger on leaving.

Card #7 (Aaron Weiner) - Splashy rare persistent creature

Master of Persistence (rare)
2W
Creature - Human
2/2
W: CARDNAME becomes an enchantment. (It is no longer a creature.)
2W: Remove target enchantment from the game and then return it to play.

Enabling enchantments to 'Flicker' not only creates a reset button for persistent cards, but also dodges enchantment removal as well as allows auras to retarget. This is an extremely natural fit for persistence.

Card #8 (Landon Winkler) – Card that subtly plays well with auratide

Memory Refiner (rare)
3
Artifact
Tap: Search your library for any card and put it into your graveyard. Shuffle your library.
5, Sacrifice CARDNAME: put target card from your graveyard on top of your library.

This artifact appears at first to be simple deck thinning, but also provides a nice tool for re-animation strategies, flashback spells and, of course, auratide.

Graeme Hopkins

Card #1 (Conrad Corbett) "Do twice" instant or sorcery (uncommon)

Brain Surgery (uncommon)
XB
Sorcery
Choose a player. Look at the top X cards of that player's library. Remove any number of those cards from the game, then put the rest back in any order. Repeat this process one more time.

The key here was having your first decisions impact your second decisions. This templating allows you to choose your second player after seeing how the first one turned out. Many play options with this one, strong but still played well.

Card #2 (Andrew Emmott) "Effect if red used" common or rare creature

Angry Dwarf (common)
1R
Creature - Dwarf
1/1
Whenever you play an instant or sorcery spell, this gets +X/+0 until end of turn, where X is the amount of R spent on that spell.

I wanted to use the +X/+0 mechanic as the common representative of this cycle. Making its cost (and consequently size) as small as possible was key, to get the most effect (and most fun) during the course of the game. Interesting deckbuilding choices, and proved fun to play.

Card #3 (Christopher Jablonski) Aura that moves

Jaunting Rage (uncommon)
1R
Enchantment - Aura
Enchanted creature gets +1/+0 and has haste.
Whenever a creature comes into play under your control, attach CARDNAME to that creature.

A limited version of "creatures you control have haste." Initially I liked the idea, but thought it would be too rough. Playtesting proved it to be both manageable and fun. Tried fiddling around with cost and bonus to make common, but was shown that this effect shouldn't be in common.

Card #4 (Greg Krajenta) Common or uncommon card with effect on stack

Regroup (uncommon)
1W
Instant
Tap an untapped creature you control: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to target creature or player this turn. Play this ability only while CARDNAME is on the stack.
Untap all creatures you control.

I'd like to make this common, but following the strict warnings about mentioning the stack (with which I agree), I'd submit this as uncommon. Deals with a minor "downside" of untapping your creatures (some are already untapped and get no benefit), and makes sure each creature benefits in some way.

Card #5 (Andrew Probasco) Rare spell with a mind game

Goblin Chucker (rare)
2R
Creature - Goblin
3/1
2R, T, discard a card face down: Target opponent may have CARDNAME deal 3 damage to him or her. Turn the discarded card face up. If your opponent chose not to take damage, CARDNAME deals damage to him or her equal to the discarded card's converted mana cost.

I like this take on the mind game aspect; your victim chooses the known value or the hidden value. Playtesting actually exceeded my expectations for fun and interesting situations. I like how the "hidden choice" is wrapped into the activation cost.

Card #6 (Noah Weil) Uncommon "Build around me" spell with pyre

Graving Shade (uncommon)
5B
Creature - Shade
2/2
Pyre 1
B, Remove a card in your graveyard from the game: CARDNAME gets +2/+2 until end of turn.

Uses cards in the graveyard as a resource in more than one way, one costing mana, the other "providing" mana. I like the tension of elements; you have to figure out the optimal time/situation of playing him. Testing suggested decent on its own, very nasty when built around.

Card #7 (Aaron Weiner) Splashy rare persistent creature

Blood Mist (rare)
2BB
Creature - Spirit
4/2
At the beginning of your upkeep, destroy target creature with the lowest toughness among creatures in play.
2B: CARDNAME becomes an enchantment.

I wanted interaction between the effect and the fact that this may or may not be a creature. A creeping death, praying on the weakest on up. The two toughness played the best during playtesting, which proved this card to be quite interesting, rather than irritating like I envisioned.

Card #8 (Landon Winkler) Card that subtly plays well with auratide

Echo Caller (rare)
3G
Creature - Beast Druid
3/3
Trample
Whenever CARDNAME deals combat damage to an opponent, reveal that many cards from the top of your library. Put all creature cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest into your graveyard.

Auratide seems like an interesting Timmy mechanic, so I tried to make an interesting Timmy card for it. This does a number of things that would benefit an Auratide deck:

  • gets auras into your graveyard
  • gets more creatures for your auras
  • provides a good creature to enchant; its power matters

Alexis Janson

"Once Again With Feeling" (this was fun, wish I had room to submit about twice as many cards for this one)

Card #1 (Conrad Corbett) - "Do twice" instant or sorcery

Hateful Lies (uncommon)
1BB
Sorcery
Name a card type other than land. Target opponent reveals his or her hand and discards a card of that type. Then, name a card type other than land. That opponent reveals his or her hand and discards a card of that type.

Very few effects are "interesting" done twice in sequence, compared to simply affecting two targets. Effects can't rely on state-based effects between iterations. A variation that fixes both is "Do this. At end of turn, do it again." As templated, most interesting effects involve zone changes or hidden information.

Card #2 (Andrew Emmott) - "Effect if red used" common or rare creature

Jokul Hopper (rare)
3RR
Creature - Human Shaman
3/3
Whenever you play an instant or sorcery spell, sacrifice Jokul Hopper. For each red mana spent on that spell, each player sacrifices a permanent.

Effects must be fair but interesting at a range of sizes. My devious side wanted "spells cost you an additional Red Mana to play" as a "benefit". Common seems obvious with "firebreathing", so I went splashy rare. It's intentional you can play multiple instants; mandatory sacrifice keeps it distinct from Braids.

Card #3 (Christopher Jablonski) - Aura that moves

Fleeting Rage (common)
1R
Enchantment - Aura
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +1/+1 and can't block.
When enchanted creature attacks, you may attach Fleeting Rage to target creature.

I wasn't sure if the goal was simply "a moving Aura" or "an Aura that has an effect, then you want to move it." (normally I'd try to clarify.) The first is quite simple at common as "Whenever a creature comes into play, you may attach CARDNAME to it."

Card #4 (Greg Krajenta) - Common or uncommon card with effect on stack

Ambush Scout (uncommon)
2G
Creature - Elf Rogue
2/2
Flash
If Ambush Scout is on the stack, creature cards you own that aren't in play have flash.

To minimize confusion, "stack" effects should only affect things played later. The effect can't be responded to, so affecting permanents is problematic. Worse, most effects would be nearly identical as "until end of turn". I question commons referencing the stack. I chose relevant, elegant, flavorful, and understandable over confusing innovation.

Card #5 (Andrew Probasco) - Rare spell with a mind game

Contested Recall (rare)
XG
Sorcery
Shuffle your graveyard face down. Search it for X cards and remove them from the game face down. Target opponent names X cards. Reveal the removed cards. Put each card that was not named into your hand. (Turn your graveyard face up afterwards.)

Figuring another tutor was duplicative (search for creature, opponent guesses cost or color) I went with another zone where the opponent has perfect information. At first, it only returned one card. That version would still be solid, but I think it's more interesting now- "Regrow X cards" is sexy.

Card #6 (Noah Weil) - Uncommon "Build around me" spell with pyre

Vampiric Rites (uncommon)
4BB
Enchantment
Pyre 2 (Remove any multiple of 2 cards in your graveyard from the game. For each 2 you remove, this spell costs 1 less to play)
Whenever you gain life, target player loses that much life.

Not every pyre card needs graveyard-related effects- sometimes pyre would just be cost reduction. X spells seem obvious. I aimed for something generally interesting, using pyre as a way to make it possible but tricky to play early. Flavor connection- using the dead to grant yourself undead-like powers.

Card #7 (Aaron Weiner) - Splashy rare persistent creature

Awenyedd, Truth Incarnate (rare)
3WU
Legendary Creature - Angel
4/4
Flying
Whenever a creature or spell deals damage to a player, that player may pay 1. If that player does, he or she draws a card.
2: Awenyedd, Truth Incarnate becomes an enchantment. (It's no longer a creature. This effect doesn't end at end of turn.)

Random thought- A tap activation could be more interesting than just adding mana on some other cards. The ability can't rely on it being a creature, but the best ones will still interact with it as a creature. I think this card could also be Black ManaRed Mana, with a different flavor.

Card #8 (Landon Winkler) - Card that subtly plays well with auratide

Tome of Greed (rare)
3
Artifact
X, T: Reveal the top X cards of your library. Put all cards with converted mana cost equal to X into your hand. Put all other revealed cards into your graveyard.
/"It teaches you what you want, but not what you need."/

Obvious auratide supporters would fill your graveyard or bounce permanents. I had several uncommons with variations of bounce, looting, and combinations thereof, but I ended up settling on what I think is a very intriguing rare. (On the job, I imagine I could just submit all my ideas for perusal.)

Chris Luhrs

Card #1 (Conrad Corbett) - "Do twice" instant or sorcery

Till Thoroughly (Uncommon)
1GG
Sorcery
Sacrifice any number of lands. Reveal the top card of your library until that many lands have been revealed and put them into play.
Sacrifice any number of lands. Reveal the top card of your library until that many lands have been revealed and put them into play.
Shuffle all other cards revealed into your library.
(You can't tap lands for mana during the resolution of this spell.)

The best thing about Really Focus was that you didn't know what you would do the second round until you saw the first results. I wanted to keep that. This card fixes mana, searches for Cloudposts and Urzatron, functions as a Mana Severance, and accelerates once.

Card #2 (Andrew Emmott) - "Effect if red used" common or rare creature

Skritano Elementalist (Rare)
3RR
Creature - Human Barbarian Shaman
3/3
Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery reveal the top card of your library for each red mana spent to cast that spell. For each card revealed in this way put an X/X red Elemental token into play with haste where X is its converted mana cost. Put the revealed cards on the bottom of your library in any order. Remove all Elemental tokens from the game at the end of turn.

I played around with a lot of effects for this card: colorless mana for each red mana, +x/+0 to target creature…. I wanted to do something that felt different and unpredictably powerful. Eventually, I came up with Skritano Elementalist. The text is kind of long but the idea is understandable.

Card #3 (Christopher Jablonski) - Aura that moves

Shared Ferocity (Common)
G
Enchantment - Aura
Enchant Creature
Whenever Shared Ferocity becomes attached to a creature put a +1/+1 counter on that creature.
Whenever enchanted creature attacks or blocks you may attach Shared Ferocity to another attacking or blocking creature.

I thought about making Shared Ferocity also give untargetability and adding 1 to the cost, but that would certainly bump it to uncommon. At the minimum, you can use Shared Ferocity to put +1/+1 counters on two attacking creatures. If it moves a few times it will be very strong.

Card #4 (Greg Krajenta) - Common or uncommon card with effect on stack

Swiftcaller (Uncommon)
1G
Creature - Elf Druid
2/1
Flash
While Swiftcaller is on the stack all creature spells in your hand have flash.
While Swiftcaller is on the stack put a +1/+1 counter on all other creatures that come into play.

If you're going to mention the stack you better have a good reason. Swiftcaller lets you play other creatures once during your opponent's turn and buffs all those creatures. You might create a card similar to Swiftcaller without saying "stack" but you couldn't get the same flavor.

Card #5 (Andrew Probasco) - Rare spell with a mind game

Bluff (Rare)
RR
Sorcery
Name a card. Target opponent says yes or no. If he says no you may play that card without paying its casting cost until end of turn. If he says yes you may reveal your hand. If you do and the named card isn't in you hand draw 2 cards and return bluff to your hand.

The idea here is you would name a big spell and your opponent would have to decide whether or not to risk you having it. If they don't risk it you might get extra cards and get to Bluff again. Since Bluff does nothing sometimes, it needs a big reward when it works.

Card #6 (Noah Weil) - Uncommon "Build around me" spell with pyre

Fungal Harvest (Uncommon)
6GG
Instant
Pyre 1
Put a 1/1 green Saproling token into play for each card in your graveyard.

I feel cards with pyre should reward you for having a big graveyard. Obviously, any card with pyre will combo with self-milling effects. This one also plays nicely with anything that likes lots of token creatures. There are a lot of cards like that around. It also breaks stalled games.

Card #7 (Aaron Weiner) - Splashy rare persistent creature

Defender of All (Rare)
WW
Creature - Spirit Knight
2/2
Permanents you control that don't share a type with Defender of All are indestructible.
4WWW: Defender of All becomes an enchantment.

I wanted a card that acted differently as an enchantment than as a creature even with the same text. In constructed Defender of All protects your non-creature permanents. In limited, he can dominate late by flipping. He's absurd with Armageddon but he wouldn't be the most broken thing in Vintage.

Card #8 (Landon Winkler) - Card that subtly plays well with auratide

Garyx, Overlord of the Crypt (Rare)
2BB
Legendary Creature - Human Wizard
2/3
Whenever a card in your graveyard would be put into play or your hand you may remove it from the game instead. If you do, put a permanent in your graveyard into play.

This card makes auratide activations get you anything in your graveyard, which is pretty powerful. I added the "to your hand" clause because I felt there aren't enough graveyard to play effects in Magic. That clause could be removed if you really want it to just break auratide.

Kenneth Nagle

Card #1 (Conrad Corbett) – "Do twice" instant or sorcery

Rupture Eardrums
Uncommon
3B
Sorcery
Target player separates his or her hand into two face down piles.
Reveal a pile of your choice, choose a card there, then that player discards that card.
Repeat this effect one more time.

Hardest task. I wanted hidden information turning known, then again hidden turning known, so I chose the opponent's hand. The version that templates close to Really Focus (two piles, Coercion one, Coercion the other) lacks the discovery and 'I wonder what exactly his hand is' depth of this textier version.

Card #2 (Andrew Emmott) – "Effect if red used" common or rare creature

Flame-Wreathed Dragon
Rare
6R
Creature - Dragon
Flame-Wreathed Dragon comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it for each R used to play it.
Flying, protection from red
Remove a +1/+1 counter from Flame-Wreathed Dragon: Add R to your mana pool.
0/0

(Flame-Encrusted Dragon)
Straightforward task. I took the concept "the redder, the better" from Skritano Tumbler. Red mana that summons this dragon forms a wreath of flames around it. I replaced the Rock Hydra ability with the Workhorse ability. I tacked on pro red for flavor and as a 'Dragon Bonus'.

Card #3 (Christopher Jablonski) – Aura that moves

Stormshell Armor
Common
1G
Enchantment - Aura
Enchant creature
Whenever you play a spell, you may put a +1/+1 counter on enchanted creature.
Whenever an opponent plays a spell, you may reattach Stormshell Armor to another target creature.

(Quirion Dryad's Armor)
Open-ended task. I tried to fix shortcomings of creature auras. I fiddled with putting charge counters on the Aura itself, but I liked +1/+1 counter interactions and movement incentives better. I even 'stored' this on my opponent's creature once. I inserted 'mays' to stratify players' skill levels.

Card #4 (Greg Krajenta) – Common or uncommon card with effect on stack

Thorough Interrogation
Uncommon
1U
Instant
While you are playing Thorough Interrogation, your opponents' hands are revealed. (This happens before you choose targets.)
Tap target creature and target land.
Draw a card.

Strangest task. The rules do allow you to begin playing a spell whose 'stack' effect reveals information, then you can choose the (new) optimal mode and target(s). The stack reveal in lieu of Peek enables Thorough Interrogation to color screw better. This feels like confusing yet unexplored design space.

Card #5 (Andrew Probasco) – Rare spell with a mind game

Return to Battle
1W
Sorcery
Put one or more target creature cards from your graveyard on top of your library in a hidden order. Target opponent names a card, then reveals the top card of your library. If it's the named card, put it into your graveyard. Otherwise, put it into play.

(Operation: Bone Harvest)
I'm a proponent of this mechanic in white (my Strategic Retreat): militaristic strategy involving planned attacks and reserve troops. Retemplating to "For each creature card - mind game" makes it saucier, but less parallel to Infernal Contest. I flipflopped amongst 2 ManaWhite Mana / 1 ManaWhite Mana / Instant / Sorcery.

Card #6 (Noah Weil) – Uncommon "Build around me" spell with pyre

Stoned
Uncommon
XUU
Sorcery
Pyre 1 (Stoned costs 1 less to play for each card in your graveyard that you choose to remove from the game.)
Target player puts the top X cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.

(Millertime)
Can finagle your own graveyard, or via self-milling (Cephalid Illusionist) or dual-milling (Mesmeric Orb) blue fireball a library away. Pyre 1 means if your graveyard is close or > their library, it's game. Relatively lethal in Limited but a dead opening draw and you can't Pyre-power multiples in tandem.

Card #7 (Aaron Weiner) - Splashy rare persistent creature

Persistant Enchantress
Rare
WG
Creature - Human Enchantress
G: Target non-Aura enchantment you control becomes an X/X creature, where X is its converted mana cost. (It's no longer an enchantment.)
2W: Target creature you control becomes an enchantment. (It's no longer a creature.)
2/2

Fun task. My envisioned 'lord' of Persistant. She's somewhat 8.5 Tails-ish, but it's the game text I was instinctively trying to play. I desynched her activation costs away from 1C, pushing her slightly toward enchantment (Opalescence) decks and away from creature (Ghazi-Glare) decks. Plays well with Glorious Anthem.

Card #8 (Landon Winkler) – Card that subtly plays well with auratide

Backward Progress
Uncommon
U
Instant
As an additional cost to play Backward Progress, discard a card.
Return target nonland permanent you control and target nonland permanent an opponent controls to their owners' hands.

Arduous Task. This Peel from Reality upgrade playtested the best of my ideas. More than once I discarded an Auratide or land, bounced my Aura or creature, and also wrecked something my opponent was trying to do, coming out ahead because of Auratide. Could be too subtle / versatile, though.

Ryan Sutherland

I'll take the physical challenge, Mark.

Card #1 (Conrad Corbett) “Do twice” instant or sorcery

Grave Robbery (Uncommon)
2B
Sorcery
Sacrifice a creature and put a creature from an opponent's graveyard into play under your control. Then sacrifice a creature and put a creature from an opponent's graveyard into play under your control.

Originally, I created this as a Victimize variant, but when I remembered how much fun it was to thieve your opponent's graveyard for men I quickly edited it. It is still playable with zero men out, and may get both a creature and an additional come into play ability.

Card #2 (Andrew Emmott) “Effect if red used” common or rare creature

Skritano Weredragon (Rare)
1RR
Creature – Human Nomad Shaman
2/2
Whenever you play a creature, for each RRR you spent on that spell, Skritano Weredragon gains +3/+3, flying and is a Dragon until end of turn.

The statement I wanted to make with this card was: Werewolves are pansies. Wanting the rare Skritano to be reminiscent of Shivan Dragon when he changed over, the first three mana invested match Shivan's stats. From there his firebreathing is mimicked by each additional Red ManaRed ManaRed Mana pumping his power by three.

Card #3 (Christopher Jablonski) Aura that moves

Defender's Mark (Common)
1W
Enchantment – Aura
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gains +1/+4.
Whenever enchanted creature becomes tapped, attach Defender's Mark to target untapped creature.

While the Mark deters you from alpha striking, it still allows you to attack with your defender by passing off the pants to a future blocker. Throw it on something with an ability that requires tapping and you get a good combat trick out of it to boot.

Card #4 (Greg Krajenta) Common or uncommon card with effect on stack

Roar of the Sleuth (Uncommon)
XXG
Sorcery
Put X 2/2 green Bear creature tokens into play.
Whenever a player plays a spell while Roar of the Sleuth is on the stack, put a 2/2 green Bear creature token into play.

Say it with me now... "Da Bears." This card allows you to pull off your own stack shenanigans by responding to it with instants and flash critters. However, it also deters counterspells since at least one of those Bears will get through, even through a Time Stop.

Card #5 (Andrew Probasco) Rare spell with a mind game

Dawning Enlightenment (Rare)
2WW
Sorcery
Remove an enchantment card in your hand from the game face down and search your library for an enchantment with a different name and remove it from the game face up. Target opponent chooses one of those cards. Put the chosen card into play, the other one into your graveyard and shuffle your library.

While at first I shied away from tutors since that ground had been covered, I later came up with this “Let's Make a Deal” style card that seems like it would play interestingly. Do you choose the Debtors' Knell? Or do you choose door # 1?

Card #6 (Noah Weil) Uncommon “Build around me” spell with pyre

Vang Bonedancer (Uncommon)
4BB
Creature – Zombie Shaman
4/4
Pyre – Creature (When you play a spell with Pyre-Creature, you may remove any multiple of creature cards in your graveyard from the game. For each card you remove, reduce this card's casting cost by 1.)
You may play the regeneration costs of any face up creature card removed from the game to return that creature to play under your control.

I started off by tweaking Noah's original ability for the Bonedancer's flavor. At one point, he was Pyre – Zombie (pun probably intended), but I'd think everything would want to dance. I owe the inspiration for this card to everyone who first started playing Magic and used imagination rather than rules.

Card #7 (Aaron Weiner) - Splashy rare persistent creature

Dreamlight Seraph (Rare)
4WW
Creature – Angel
4/5
Flying
Whenever a source causes a player to gain life, that player gains twice that much life.
XWW: You gain X life and Dreamlight Seraph becomes an enchantment. Use this ability only if Dreamlight Seraph is a creature.

I enjoyed playing around with persistence, since it reminded me of an inverted version of the Sleeper creatures from Urza's. Although, this time the enchantments were useful. Adding on an extra become enchantment ability, along with the reverse Furnace of Rath gives life gain a nice kick in the pants.

Card #8 (Landon Winkler) Card that subtly plays well with auratide

Ravishing Drake (Common)
2U
Creature – Drake
2/1
Flying
Whenever a card leaves your graveyard, put the top two cards of target player's library into that player's graveyard.

Auras being reincarnated, sounds like fun. If only we could get more of them into the graveyard. Enter the drake. With a streamlined body and ability good for either finding more auras or just flat out milling for the win, Ravishing Drake is at home with any graveyard centric set.

Have a great Turkey Day

-RS
HARD WORK AND DETERMINATION!

Scott Van Essen

Card #1 (Conrad Corbett) – “Do twice” instant or sorcery

Pain Intensification (Uncommon)
1R
Instant
Deal damage to target creature equal to the damage dealt to it this turn.
Then, deal damage to target creature equal to the damage dealt to it this turn.

This card can be the finishing blow on either one large creature or two medium creatures. It would be nice if it could affect players too, but even if you were able to cost that fairly, it would be more of a game ender and rarely used on creatures.

Card #2 (Andrew Emmott) – “Effect if red used” common or rare creature

Skritano Channeler (Rare)
3R
Creature - Human Nomad Shaman Lord
3/2
Whenever you play an instant or sorcery spell, for each red mana spent on that spell, Shamans you control get +1/+0 until end of turn.

BONUS CARD
Skritano Stoker (Common)
2R
Creature - Human Nomad Shaman
1/1
Whenever you play an instant or sorcery spell, for each red mana spent on the spell, put R into your mana pool.

As a bonus, I've finished out the common card of the cycle. The goal is to get all three into play, chain a few cheap spells through the stoker, destroy all the blockers with the tumbler, and then attack for the kill with everyone getting +5/+0 from the channeler.

Card #3 (Christopher Jablonski) – Aura that moves

Gift of Strength (Common)
2G
Enchantment – Aura
Enchant Creature
Enchanted Creature gets +2/+2 and trample.
Whenever a creature becomes blocked, you may attach CARDNAME to that creature.

Gift of Strength creates challenging blocking decisions, and supports aggressive decks. The “may” is just so that the spell doesn't attach to every single creature. One might change it to “Whenever a creature you control” just to make it less annoying in Magic Online.

Card #4 (Greg Krajenta) – Common or uncommon card with effect on stack

Impending Doom (Uncommon)
1UB
Sorcery
All creatures get -2/-2 until end of turn.
While CARDNAME is on the stack, all creatures have “1, sacrifice a creature: return this card to its owner's hand.”

The art for this card should show big creatures pushing little creatures in the way of a great cataclysm to save themselves. Choosing the time to cast this spell should be interesting, but even if your opponent is able to save some creatures, he'll take a big tempo hit.

Card #5 (Andrew Probasco) – Rare spell with a mind game

Gifts Given (Rare)
4G
Sorcery
Search your library for up to three creature cards with different names. Target opponent may choose one and puts it into play under his control, then you pu the rest into play under your control.

Sort of a green Gifts Ungiven. The “may” is necessary so you can't just instakill your opponent with something like Phage or Leveler. As your opponent will get the “best” creature you present, there is a definite mind game in picking cards that will help you and not your opponent.

Card #6 (Noah Weil) – Uncommon “Build around me” spell with pyre

Immorality shift (Uncommon)
6BB
Pyre 2 (When you play a spell with Pyre 2, you may remove any multiple of 2 cards from your graveyard from the game. For each instance of 2 you remove, reduce this card's casting cost by 1)
Swap your graveyard and your library, then shuffle your library.

There are three really interesting things about this spell.
1) There's good tension in choosing how early to cast it.
2) The Pyre ability gives you control over what goes back in your library.
3) Dumping your library into your graveyard enables future Pyre spells
(especially Immorality Shift itself).

Card #7 (Aaron Weiner) - Splashy rare persistent creature

Phyrexian Channeler (Rare)
2BG
Creature – Zombie Shaman
2/2
Pay 1 life: Add 1 to your mana pool. Use this mana only to play creatures.
BG: CARDNAME becomes an enchantment. It's no longer a creature. This effect doesn't end at end of turn.

Channel was banned, but we can find the black/green crossover on spending life energy to get out cheap creatures. As this is a vulnerable vehicle, and creatures are slower than sorceries and instants, this should remain fair, if quite interesting.

Card #8 (Landon Winkler) – Card that subtly plays well with auratide

Fumbling Beaurocrat (Rare)
W
Creature – Human
1/1
Spells and permanents have their converted mana costs increased by 1.

This is a narrow uber-Johnny rare card. It will have subtle effects on everything from Disembowel to Soulshift to the Scourge “cares about converted mana cost” cards. It also enables Auratide by allowing cheaper enchantments trigger it.


So how did our seven remaining candidates do? Check in tomorrow to see the judges' comments on each submission and to see which two candidates get eliminated. Please join in on the thread to give your opinion on how the applicants did and who you think should (or will) be eliminated.

See you tomorrow,

Mark Rosewater

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