The Great Cardsmith Designer Search - Stage 1: The Design Challenge



  • Hm. I didn't even think of that card when I was creating Slow Death.
  • One Thousand Lashes predecessor was Pillory of the Sleepless from Guildpact.
  • So what if it happens to be an inspiration with a sort of transitive property thing?
  • I think it is good to take inspiration (if not too directly). We need to reference past designs for balance purposes at the least.
  • edited October 2018
    I've decided to list my cards in the order of creation. I'll give a brief blurb for each behind my reasoning and why I made the choices I did. May I say that I find many of the entries before me to be very good designs and Good Luck on the contest to all entrants!


    Design 1.
    For my first design, I went with a black/green sorcery. I'd already given some thought to one of the other designs, but I ended up publishing this first. I really wanted to try a "choose one or both -" card because I find them so challenging to design and balance. I feel like this card found that fine line and offers a lot of interesting uses that may not be evident at first glance. It's a combination of Gilder Bairn and Vampire Hexmage (both uncommons) on a sorcery. Green is well known for passively doubling counters with big enchantments etc. and recently has been seen to remove single counters at a time in Amonkhet, though it is said not to be primary, secondary, or even tertiary in counter removal. Black, though, is primary in removing counters and is the only color to ever remove all counters from a permanent. This card is good for doubling all the counters you like to have on your permanents--most often +1/+1 counters--and good at getting rid of counters on your permanents or your opponents'. It will simply remove a planeswalker from play, take a 0/0 with counters out, or remove -1/-1 counters from your own dudes which can be good with cards that enter giving -1/-1's to your own creatures. It won't always have two good targets, but when it does it won't be overly powerful while still being a good and fun play.
    (Please note that, for this card only, I put extra periods in the text. This was for visual spacing purposes only. @bnew07, if you'd prefer I removed them, just let me know. Otherwise, I hope that they can be ignored in the context of the card.)

    Design 2.
    This card is a simpler design. It focuses on small dude recursion that white is known for with the added haste-then-sacrifice that red has often done. The student himself has greater than 2 power, which helps to balance him IMO, and ties into his flavor text by showing how the ancestor's methods were different. He works well with creatures that have triggered abilities or activated abilities and is also good at getting a little extra damage in. In multiples he acts like red's slant on white's flicker.

    Design 3.
    This one is interesting (at least to me) and extremely versatile. It has hexproof--green/blue--can't be blocked--blue--and fight--green. I was attempting to create a spell that makes a creature that has just fought another less vulnerable and more useful, and Green/Blue was just the colors to do that in. Normally a creature that has just fought is easier to block or shock, that isn't the case here because he can't be blocked and can't be targeted after fighting. But, when cast on an opponent's turn, this card reads "Counter target spell that targets a creature you control. You may have that creature fight target creature you don't control." This isn't broken by any means, but it will feel like a bit of a blowout in some situations, and that is one of the best feelings when played. Remember that WotC recently printed Ancient Animus as an instant speed fight card for {1}{g} at common.

    Design 4.
    By this point, I still hadn't created an enchantment and I knew that I wanted to design a White/black one. White/Black always feels tricky to me when I try to get both aspects into a single card because they often do so many of the same things (which is fairly unique among the enemy-colors). I ended up doing a "white prison" enchantment with greater functionality and did my best to make it really flavorful. The black lifedrain punishes opponents who use mana for something other than attacking. In the end, it might not be powerful enough... but I can't tell. Baird is comparable and makes me feel pretty good about where this sits, but it's disappointing that this won't always be useful; on the other hand, it would probably be too good otherwise.

    Design 5.
    This brings us to the last card. Creatures average over 6 times more plentiful than the other card types, so it made sense to me to do another. Here I opted for a Weird (in more ways than one), and I think he turned out pretty well. He has the "switch power/toughness" of both his red and blue side along with card reveal from blue and direct damage from red. I like how your opponent has to think about this one, and, this being an opponent chooses ability, makes this creature able to be more powerful than if he hit every time. He has self-synergy and feels like a really fun card.


    Please stop by and leave comments on my submissions if you think of something you'd like me to hear!

  • @faiths_guide

    Fun How we both came up with "remove all counter" cards. Mixed Emotions is so fun for sultai jank edh. I have the art for mocking barrier saved as future card art. You beat me to it!
  • @Faiths_Guide, my point exactly.
  • @brcien
    I'll leave some comments on your cards later if I find time. I didn't actually realize you'd done a "remove all counter" card, and I don't think it is actually viable in those colors. Perhaps we can discuss a bit later on. ;)
  • edited October 2018
    Entry No. 1 - WB Enchantment
    I started playing just before Theros block was released so I developed a love for auras as a 'young' player. Armament of Nyx was my inspiration here, a situational attachment that could benefit you or hinder an opponent when needed.

    Entry No. 2 - UR Instant
    The concept of a current traveling along 'like' creatures has already existed in cards like Izzet Staticaster but I wanted to explore the idea on a mid-size removal spell. There's a game to be played here since your own creatures are susceptible to matching CMCs with your target.

    Entry No. 3 - BG Sorcery
    The mindset of 'trash for treasure' is right in line with this color pair and I imagine limited players especially would have a field day with a value card like this one. In the spirit of representing the life cycle, you can't retrieve something bigger than you destroy and you can always get a land card.

    Entry No. 4 - RW Creature
    One of the more challenging color pairs for me. This takes the essence of Spark Elemental and mixes in the damage prevention spirit that W provides. It's ultimately fragile but it should be able to punch through some damage before it's snuffed out. Notably, it can always be removed by noncreature means as a safety valve.

    Entry No. 5 - GU Creature
    Coiling Oracle is an oft-overlooked early game ramp piece, providing either a land in play or card in hand - what everyone really wants. This wily serpent takes that effect and sends it to the air, pairing G's and U's collective penchant for saboteur effects and card-drawing (tied to creatures in G's case).

    Feedback is always welcome and appreciated on the card pages!
    Gatherer was down for maintenance at the time of posting - I'll update external card links at a later time - Done!
  • @DomriKade
    I started playing in Theros, I still really like that block.
  • Ravnica the whole way!
  • God damn there are some strong entries everywhere, that's a scary competition xD
    I'll try to give some feedback as soon as I get the time ^^
  • @ningyounk, now imagine it for someone who sucks at balancing! ‘XD
  • Big thanks to @DomriKade and @Phelgming for help with edits on Pulsing Informant.
  • I added little descriptions to mine like everyone else did. As always, feedback is appreciated!
  • @faiths_guide I think you can remove counters in blue green. Green cares about counters, blue can blow things away. I think it is nowhere near as much of a stretch as Vedalken Anatomist. The bigger reason I added that effect is when I play with new players, if a land becomes a creature for a turn or a creature becomes a land, always have to pull up rulings to show them about "what if such and such counter is on," so figured that would lead to less annoying moments. Also this.
  • @Aggroman15 I can't access the card pages of your entries by clicking on them (at least not from my phone) did you add a link to them?
  • @ningyounk No I didn't. (honestly I just don't want to take the extra time to put the link in there.) Here are the links to the cards:

    Sky Attack:
    Slow Death:
    Unearthed Elemental:
    River Hydra:
    Burning Waves:
  • edited October 2018
    Thank you, @ningyounk.
    Student of the Ancestors has been updated.
  • edited October 2018
    I think you found a good middle ground, moving counters! That could be a fun twist.

    Personally I think Vedalken Anatomist is less of a stretch, but he is also quite old in today's terms and shouldn't be referenced too specifically for this design challenge.

    Take a look at the reference @bnew07 provided (or take my word for it). According to MaRo's mechanical color pie, neither green nor blue removes counters primarily, secondarily, or even as a tertiary function. Black, on the other hand, has "removing counters" listed in its primary list.
  • A quick reminder:

    If you edit your submission after the original posting, just let me know
  • @bnew07
    Is it that big of a deal if we update the original links/images?
    Have I been notifying you adequately so far?
  • Crap. I have one published and one made... welp time to get them out and get feedback.
  • @Faiths_Guide

    I have already started judging the submissions posted so far so I want to make sure that if anyone makes changes to their cards that I see them and reevaluate my judging based on the changes. I think the best way for me to avoid missing anyone editing their cards would be for them to tell me by posting that they made a change.
  • @bnew07
    I thought that might be the case, and it's a good approach.

    Have I made my changes obvious enough?
  • @bnew07, are you willing to tell people scoring via pms?
  • the number of black remove counter cards is smaller than other colors though? Quarry Hauler is the newest card to remove counters is from Amonkhet and is green.
  • edited October 2018
    I have edited Mistwoods Dragon thanks to feedback from Faiths_Guide. The effect hasn't changed but it's now a flying panda called "Pudgy Skypanda" ;)
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