Last fall I had to give up writing for this blog regularly. When the summer came to a close and my duties as a graduate student became greater with the new school year, I simply didn’t have the time to write as often as I had gotten myself into. I continue to post to the blog occasionally, and these posts have gained me even more followers than previously. As much as followers have the ability to look back on the archives of those they follow, there’s a lot there, and I know they don’t really have time. I still don’t have a whole lot of time to write weekly articles with any regularity as I used to, but for now I’d like to provide something regular on here, even if it is a “Best of Disciple of the Cards.” There are some posts as well as card designs that I’m really proud of, and reposting them should make it easier for newer followers to check out my past work. I started by reposting the details of Booster Cap Magic, a constructed format I created, to make it easier for my brother and his friends to find. From now until the summer, when I may have time to get back into writing more regularly, I would like to continue to repost some of my favorite work (with edits) during these Friday Flashbacks.
Friday Flashback this week and every other week until the summer are cards I designed using Magic Set Editor. They were previously posted along with the descriptions of 15-30 other cards I’ve designed, so it was easy to lose the gems amidst the chaff. Instead, I’d like to showcase the cards each week one at a time, where, standing alone, they can shine all the brighter. May I present to you…
My 4-color legends. I know these were posted this year, but without a doubt these cards were the ones that I had the most fun designing, that I’m most proud of, and were probably the ones that were most well-received. As my #1 Magic-related endeavor, I felt I had to revisit this for Friday Flashback.
As I mentioned when I first posted these on January 1st, the big question for me in designing them was what made them unique. Check out any of Mark Rosewater’s articles on Ravnica and Shards of Alara design and he does a great job explaining how the flavor of those color combinations were created. For 4-color cards, their flavor could be as the combination of two allied color pairs (e.g., GWUB = Green/White + Blue/Black) , the combination of two enemy color pairs (e.g., GWUB = Green/Blue + White/Black), or the absence of that fifth color (e.g., GWUB = hate on Red and all that it stands for). I felt that colors tend to find enough hate in their enemy colors, so that wouldn’t be a good idea to build 4-color cards out of. From the first two options, I understand the motivations of allied color pairs better, so I went with that option.
When you look at the following cards from that angle, they seem a lot less hard to design than they would otherwise - after all, I basically stapled what one color pair does well with what the other does well all in one card. But perhaps that’s why they’re so cool, because they’re so elegant.
Green and White love pumping your guys, and Black and Blue love drawing cards. Of course, Green’s been getting better at that too, so this guy could be a real dominant force. And that’s why he’s only a 2/2 for 6 mana. And that is also why I switched him from adding +1/+1 counters to mass pumping the team. After all, in a normal turn without other effects going on, you’ll at least draw 1 card, so he’s at least a 6-mana anthem. But he’ll probably be way, way better than that. I also added the ETB cantrip effect. Originally I was thinking of wording it as “if you cast it from your hand or the command zone” (a wording I hope R&D uses in the future for Phage-like creatures to work in Commander). At first I didn’t want this guy to get better with bounce effects, but then changed my mind. If he gets to be too crazy that could always be added on.
White and Blue like to counter stuff, and Red and Black like to punch opponents in the face. This is likely the most awful combination of abilities, because you just got your spell countered by this girl’s controller, and then you get punched in the face too?! The only thing worse could possibly be if the card actually read “and punch your opponent in the face.” It seems the colors would like to punish players for even attempting to do what they want. 5 damage might seem too much, but I love the 5 mana, 5/5, does 5 damage connection.
Blue and Black like forcing discard, Green and Red like creature pump. I was quite happy when I came up with this card’s name. It evokes what it does perfectly: it’s forcing the defender to discard a card from his or her hand, and the hand is the short-term memory… it’s feeding on your memories. Eww. It’s possible the card could get +X/+0 instead of +X/+X. It’d still be pretty good, you would just have to try and protect it in some way. And that’s why R&D playtests so much, as doing so would likely determine if such a change was required.
Black and Red like sacrificing things, and Green and White love wheenie swarms. It seems to me that at least one of the 4-color legends had to be a dragon. If you’re going to play at least 4 colors, the thing better be great, and dragons are often great. Especially 3+ color ones. Especially legendary ones. Ultaem’s ability doesn’t scream card advantage right away, as you’re changing a decent attacker or blocker into chump blockers, but that sacrifice will likely trigger whenever a creature dies abilities; those 1/1s will trigger enters the battlefield abilities; more creatures are sometimes great, such as when being pumped by Moonveil Dragon or pumping the single 1/1 that couldn’t be blocked; and those 1/1s are great for equipping with Skullclamp if they survive combat.
Red and Green like big creatures, and White and Blue like countering stuff. I figured a Draining Whelk would be a fitting use of that combination. I am also quite proud of the name for this guy, as Manavoid sounds fantastic for a creature that absorbs the mana put into the countered spell.
Well, that’s it for this one. Let me know what you think! This post will actually be the second last Friday Flashback this year as my summer’s will finally start next week, and this will be the last Build-a-Card post revisited with Friday Flashback this year.