Don't STEM the flow of your ideas!

As a student of science and an aspiring evolutionary biologist, I was delighted when I went through Unstable spoilers and saw this little gem:


I recognised it as a Markov chain, a probability model in which the probability of an event depends solely on the previous state the system was in (to put it simply). I went through Frank Karsten's excellent article on CFB where he discusses its expected size. I then wanted to make more scientifically accurate cards, and came up with this:


(In hindsight, the CMC should've been XXUG)

So here's a challenge: make some scientifically accurate cards. The cards can feature scientists, inventions, scientific concepts, scientific phenomena, living beings, substances, materials, etc. Anything. They just need to be scientifically accurate.

If any guidelines are required, I had made this scientific colour pie a while back, based on the colours that I felt best depicted various fields (edit: interchanged Mono-B and BR. Felt the chaotic nature of red and the risk-taking of black made Rakdos the right colours for probability theory, while Black's preoccupation with flesh, blood, murder and dissection will still accommodate anatomy and physiology):

C: Technology, engineering
Mono-W: Inorganic chemistry
Mono-U: Classical mechanics
Mono-B: Physiology and anatomy
Mono-R: Electrodynamics and electronics
Mono-G: Ecology, conservation biology, environmental science
WU: Pure mathematics (calculus, topology, etc)
UR: Thermodynamics, electrochemistry
BR: Probability, statistics, applied math
WG: Medical and agricultural science
WR: High-energy/particle physics, quantum mechanics
UB: Neurobiology, psychology, behaviour
UG: Evolutionary biology, genetics
RG: Organic chemistry
BG: Microbiology, molecular biology, biotechnology
WB: Optics, astrophysics

This is just what I felt, you may tweak this as you like or do something completely different.

1. Cards that highlight the STEM fields are to be made.
2. No joke cards, although humour is allowed and appreciated.
3. Cards will be judged on the basis of scientific accuracy, flavour, balancing, and art (in that order, although all are nearly equally important).
4. Try to capture the spirit of the challenge. For instance, if you want to highlight the field of medicine, do not make cards with healers or medics in it. Magic has plenty of those. Rather, make cards that involve cancer researchers, drug development, etc.
5. Up to 4 cards per person (think like one each for physics, chemistry, math and biology, or something like that).
6. Do not put down any field in the cards. They are all important.
7. Do credit the artist.
8. Cards can be edited/changed out at any time. Old cards are allowed.
9. Deadline is Jan 31.

1st: 5 favourites and a follow. Can nominate an HM.
2nd: 3 favourites and a follow.
3rd: 2 favourites.
HM: 1 favourite.

In the name of science, SMITH!


  • edited January 11
    Not quite sure I know what to do here...
    What's your take on this? (Biology)
    Or that? (Chemistry)
  • @Faiths_Guide: it is really neat. It's the classic chameleon colour-changing, but instead of real colours of light, it 'camouflages' into various colours of Magic, becoming indistinguishable from a typical 3-drop in those colours. Would have been great if green was the hexproof colour (since that is the 'camouflage' colour for most reptiles), but I suppose a 3 drop 2/2 hexproof that can do many other things would be a little too good. Great submission!
  • @Faiths_Guide: Love the flavour on Cytotoxin Vial. Certainly don't want to spill that. You might have the smallest of cuts on your skin!
  • edited January 11
    Awesome, what about Cytotoxin Vial?
  • edited January 12
    Feel free to steal these mathematical ideas (which I was thinking of doing):

    "Random isn't Random" - Any list of any numerical data tends to have about 30% of the numbers starting with 1 and decreases consistently for those starting with 2-9.

    "Predictable Patterns" - A finite number of distinct geometric patterns: 17.

    "Specificity Simplified" - Euler's formula consists of very specific, strange, and even unreal numbers, yet, they combine to simply equal -1.

    "Same Result Either Way" - A commutative property (ie. addition) doesn't care about the order something is done in, the result is the same.
  • edited January 13
    Does this count?

  • @sanjaya666: It does! Try to submit a Virion token to go with it.
  • edited January 13
    @KalamMekhar Maybe later on the PC. Can't do it rightly without using the MSE.
  • RESERVED - The Fibonacci Sequence! I definitely want to make an MtG card on that so NO-ONE else should do that, just a heads-up. I'll get around to it eventually. But @KalamMekhar , which category would that fall under in the list you gave in the challenge description?
  • @Swegboss12: Fibonacci numbers originated as a way to analyse real-world problems (Fibonacci himself used the analogy of an ideal rabbit population), however, they have been used to prove several mathematical identities and have some very neat properties, so it could fall under both applied math and pure math (although I would edge towards pure math). Let's see what you come up with!
  • @KalamMekhar I ended up going with UG Simic Evolutionary biology, because I tried to make WU Azorius Pure math work but it really couldn't. It has no relation to counters which of course is what would be used in MtG in order to perform a sequence. If you could give me some feedback it would be greatly appreciated.

  • @Swegboss12: Sorry for the late response. The card looks great. However, could it be reworded in such a way that it doesn't make a reference to the nth Fibonacci number?
  • Also, bump.
  • edited January 22
    imageimage moves up on the food chain as it evolves. Maybe not the most complicated idea, but it works! is based on organ donation, but with a Phyrexian twist.

    (Tell me if either of these aren't scientific enough and I can change them.)
  • @NicolBolasFTW: Those are some great cards there! Involuntary Donation in particular is very flavorful.
  • And, bump.
  • I haven't seen enough entries yet, but whatever I've seen has been good. Here's a little something for inspiration (sorry for my evo bio biases):


    Come on people. Start brewing some organic syntheses, um, I mean, ideas!
  • So I was inspired by this idea thread to make a Schroddinger's(?) cat post. This concept in quantum mechanics is probably my favorite, and while it doesn't fit the color pie, or is super scientific itself, I though it should still belong here. I hope you enjoy!

  • @gterww123: That is a great card. That is not a great card. (Get it?)

    @Everyone: I'll extend the date to Feb 15, if I get more entries within the next few days.
  • @KalamMekhar, yes, I get it, thanks!
  • If entries are not forthcoming, I will begin judging this contest on Feb 5, with whatever I have got.
  • Will be closing this contest later today. Hope there will be a few submissions within that time.
  • This contest is closed. Judging will begin after my exam (:/). Thanks to all who participated.
  • @KalamMekhar
    Do well on your exam!
  • After acing my exam (read: it was bad), I finally got around to judging this contest. Despite the small pool of entries, this ended up being rather hard to judge, as all the entries were so good! Without further ado, here are the results:

    Honourable mention: Amphibious Precursor by @NicolBolasFTW


    That is one menacing Icthyostega. Devonian land animals, beware.

    3rd place: Otherworldly Infestation by @sanjaya666


    First off, I would like to commend your correct use of the word 'virion' as opposed to virus. An interesting card depicting a rapid, exponential affliction that spreads across the land and eventually kills it. Seems like a fun build-around.

    2nd place: Involuntary Donation by @NicolBolasFTW


    'Your pieces would better serve Phyrexia elsewhere' -- your doctor's final words to you, before revealing his true form.

    Excellent flavour, both in exiling 'parts' of the dead patient and in relocating them elsewhere, where Phyrexia needs them.

    1st place: Cytotoxin Vial by @Faiths_Guide


    Even if my biases were nonexistent (as an aspiring herpetologist, I am deeply interested in all manner of poisonous/venomous species, from snakes to dart frogs), I am fairly certain this would've won. This is an example of how the simplest of cards can be very flavorful. And that simplicity is what makes them beautiful. Congratulations, @Faiths_Guide!

    In recognition of how good all the cards were, I have favourited all of them. All the winners and mentionables happened to have a a biology connection, but that was the case with most of the entries (i.e.,not my biases!). Winners, please tell me which cards of yours you want me to fave. @Faiths_Guide: you may choose an honourable mention.

    I had fun with this, my first contest. I might be holding another one soon! (I should be studying, though...nah!)
  • Please do another one! I am so sorry I din't find this sooner!
  • edited February 7
    @HeroKP: I will :)
  • Congrats winners and mentionables!!
This discussion has been closed.