Year of Conjuring Retrospects

edited January 2023 in Custom Card Discussion
Hello there everyone! As you may or may not know, I'm running a reverse challenge where I make a card every day. The twist, however, is that they're based around challenges folks like you send me, either on the challenge page, on the Prompt Sheet, or on Discord! That way I can think outside of the box, purpose-making cards rather than just spamming them out like the coffee fueled idea printer I am. However, the point of this challenge isn't just to make cards, because we all know I make plenty of those; the point is to hone my ability to make cards from the bottom up.

As part of this challenge, I also planned to create wrap-ups for every 14 days, posting my cards here on the forums and talking about what went right and what went wrong. This page is for that; it'll function sort of like a blog, allowing me to review my cards and for you guys to give your input (now that the cards are final). I'm open to outside input here, and if someone brings something to my attention, I'm ready and willing to adjust my card ratings and retrospects.

Now, how will I go into this? Let's look at the ABCs...

Rating Criteria

  • Actuality: Could Wizards of the Coast actually print this card? How well does it fit into every possible format it could be in (Modern, Legacy, Vintage, Commander, sometimes Pauper)? Does it use proper grammar and syntax? Would people want to play this?
  • Balance: How well does the card fit into the game from a balance perspective? How does it compare to similar cards? Does it do a good job of competing with existing cards while not overshadowing them?
  • Creativity: How innovative is the design? Does it manage to push the boundaries and innovate? How does this card set itself apart from the others to draw players in?
  • Delectation: How fun is the card? Does it manage to have an enjoyable impact on the game for all involved? Does it avoid being too complicated, slow, or just plain unfun? Is it able to avoid being "feelsbad?"
  • Execution: How good does the card actually do at completing the request? Is it a natural solution, or does it feel forced? How much of an effort was put into completing the challenge while fitting in the other important aspects?


  • Week One (12/31 - 1/6)

    Week one was already off to a wild start with some of the more quirky early suggestions. Some were obviously harder than the rest, and I actually had to make a completely different card for Day 1 than I'd made originally!

    Day 1 (12/31)

    Make a Mythic card with one line of rules text. [From @TenebrisNemo]

    • Actuality: 8/10. "Phases out" has made a strong renaissance in Magic the Gathering as a deciduous mechanic, allowing temporary removal with less rules text and less implications. This combined with the fact that there isn't really a proper competitor to Cyclonic Rift makes the printing of a card like this a very real possibility, if without the ability to hit lands.
    • Balance: 7/10. Flood of Tears is a good point of reference for what a blue board wipe is allowed to do; for six mana, you clear everything with a bit of upside, but only temporarily. Altered Realities does this just fine. However, while it may be better in balance than the utterly game-warping Cyclonic Rift, it's still a bit much I think? Sure, it's not format-warping, especially without the option of two mana spot removal, but it's good enough to be a go-to boardwipe option for blue decks. You can cast it just before your turn to essentially keep your opponents for doing anything, then finish them off. Lastly, hitting all permanents allows this to do one thing Rift can't do, and that's force an immediate response; if your opponent casts it, you can let it resolve, then respond to their attempt to win the game. This, in turn, can cause a blowout if an opponent doesn't see it coming. With Altered Realities, however, you'll have to use your spells and abilities then and there, as you won't have lands to tap for mana until your next turn.
    • Creativity: 8/10. While simple, this spell manages to create a unique and innovative board-wipe while remaining in blue's pie of temporary answers. It's simple and easy to understand, yet it works completely different from comparable cards. The one thing going against it is hitting lands, which blue can't do anymore.
    • Delectation: 7/10. Another strike against this card in the lands department. Players don't like feeling hopeless, without the ability to respond. While this card is interesting, and can make for some fun politics situations, keeping people from using their lands is a big no. It falls in the same variety of salt as Cyclonic Rift's "instant speed stop people from playing the game", but at least it's far more temporary.
    • Execution: 10/10. Despite all of the problems this card has, I'm very proud of how I tackled this challenge. My first thought was a creature, but when I went back to fix the grammar and syntax, I realized it was one word over and couldn't be shortened. Also, the card looked fairly blank. Altered Realities manages to look properly spaced out while still only utilizing one line of rules text.
    Overall: 8/10

    Day 2 (1/1)

    Make a card that causes a player to lose the game in a situation where they'd normally win/be at an advantage (i.e. Transcendence) [From @Jadefire]

    • Actuality: 7/10. With the recent printing of Sinner's Judgement, we've seen that Wizards of the Coast is willing to put potentially lethal effects on Auras again. This was an excellent boon, because it meant that Aura Curses like this are feasible. However, due to the inclusion of Serf tokens, the chance of this getting printed goes down by a good bit. Never say never though, because we've seen unique tokens in Commander before!
    • Balance: 6/10. The biggest problem with slow-burn cards like this is that you generally have to build around them in order to win with them. However, it isn't terribly hard to do so with cards like Clackbridge Troll. In fact, certain matchups might cause a loss by default if you play this against someone with a huge board. Overall, this one has problems in both directions.
    • Creativity: 10/10. The challenge by its very nature tested my creative muscles, requiring me to think of an innovative way to make a player lose when at an advantage. While a bit bendy, black does get to create permanents under your opponents' control when they're a disadvantage imposed. Then there's also the application of using this on yourself!
    • Delectation: 9/10. This is a pretty game changing clock in the right hands, but it manages to be one without feeling like too big of a threat on its own. Every color can deal with it somehow so it's not too terrifying, and its low cost and weak tokens means you won't feel bad losing it.
    • Execution: 8/10. I think I did a pretty good job completing the challenge without making a card that feels forced. It's off kilter, but it definitely fills the gap.
    Overall: 8/10

    Day 3 (1/2)

    Make a common Legend. [Pulled from my emergency list by @Jadefire]

    • Actuality: 5/10. Wording error on lines 4-5, yay! Also, this is a pretty quirky concept that would probably only be printed in some kind of draftable Commander set or a Commander's Arsenal product. A common Legend was pretty hard to pull off, but in hindsight this is probably not it.
    • Balance: 10/10. I made this card to fill in a specific gap; what if you want to play a partner commander but no partners out there synergize with them? I don't foresee any problematic interactions that weren't already easier to do. For example, it's much easier to double up a problematic commander with Sakashima of a Thousand Faces than to play a Mirror Box and Fractured Self.
    • Creativity: 6/10. I'll slap myself on the wrist for this one; this is basically another Prismatic Piper-esque card, and we're going to get one of them every Commander Legends set from the looks of it.
    • Delectation: 10/10. This is a card that will only have problem interactions with specific commanders, which already have much worse interactions available. This gives players new deckbuilding options without introducing more potentially problematic partners.
    • Execution: 6/10. This was a pretty lazy way for me to deal with the challenge. Yeah, it's a boon for commander players, but it clearly rips from an existing card. My apologies.
    Overall: 7.4/10
  • Day 4 (1/3)

    Make a card that exiles from both the top and bottom of your library. [From @cadstar369]

    • Actuality: 6/10 (10/10 from a digital perspective). The challenge in of itself kind of nixes the realism factor on this one, but I gave it a shot anyways. Bottom of library interaction is something players don't want to deal with, as it slows down games. However, in a digital game like Arena/for play on tabletop emulators like Cockatrice, this card suffers no such problems and is quite a solid piece.
    • Balance: 9/10. This card may not be as good a play for ramp as, say, Zendikar Resurgent, but for seven mana you're getting up to two extra cards on each of your turns, as well as what is technically an extra land drop. I could evaluate balance better if I saw it in play, but right now I think it's fine, if pushed.
    • Creativity: 10/10. I think I managed to flavorfully justify exiling from the top and bottom instead of just the top. While not a super unique pick, this card stands out because it manages to be a really solid Timmy card; it's flashy, it's powerful, and it has a lot of potential on its own.
    • Delectation: 7/10 (9/10 from a digital perspective). Again, we run into a slight issue with the challenge itself working in a physical perspective, but I won't repeat myself there. From any perspective, however, some players might get infuriated at the potential snowball this card can cause. However, it's entirely possible to not get something that useful, or even lose this to an opponent's removal or counterspell. In that case, losing so much mana is a bummer, but it's a pretty epic counterplay.
    • Execution: 10/10. This challenge was a bit of a brain teaser, but I'm proud of the result. This is a card I really want to play... if only digitally.
    Overall: 8.4/10 (9.6/10 digitally)

    Day 5 (1/4)

    Make an Instant/Sorcery card with abstract art (that makes sense for the card). [From @TenebrisNemo]

    • Actuality: 7/10. Usually, Magic tries to keep discard effects simple. This is an interesting concept to explore in a Modern Horizons set, and it has interesting mind-game potential, but it's slow and overly complicated for an insignificant reason.
    • Balance: 10/10. This will almost always be worth the cost you pay; it will (basically) always get two cards, and you'll usually pick out one of your opponent's best cards.
    • Creativity: 7/10. There's an element of creativity us designers miss sometimes; there's a such thing as too much of a good thing. This is an appreciable effort, but in the end it's a little too complex for a discard spell.
    • Delectation: 7/10. Effects that slow the game down for little benefit are always deemed boring or frustrating for the whole table. The mind games you can play with this card up the fun factor by a good bit, but that factor is lost to the complexity of resolving the spell, plus the off chance that you end up picking the same thing as your opponent.
    • Execution: 7/10. I'm taking three points off for Execution because this isn't exactly abstract in the sense that most would think of when it comes to Magic. It's pretty clear what emotions are being expressed, and they're conveyed in a very easily decipherable manner. This is less abstract art and more conceptual art.
    Overall: 7.8/10
  • Day 6-7 (1/4 - 1/5)

    Make a vertical cycle of cards where every word on the card begins with the first word of the card's rarity. Reminder text is exempt if the first word on a line begins with the letter. [From @DrakeGladis]


    • Actuality: 8/10. This loses a point on the lack of reminder text saying "The copy becomes a token". Additionally, two colors and casualty on a common creature is probably a bit too much, bumping this to uncommon.
    • Balance: 8/10. When looking into balance for a card with multiple states, designers need to take into account the "delta". This is the degree of variance in power levels between options, and this delta needs to be considered when balancing all of these outcomes. Casualty is a little hard to balance; even with power making it more flexible than mechanics like it, you're still dealing with copies. In this case, you can get two 3/3s on board on turn three by sacrificing a 2 power creature. However, they're both vanilla, and playing the card without casualty is quite tame. It's not overpowered to the point where I don't see it being in a Standard set, but I probably should have raised the cost, P/T, and casualty rating.
    • Creativity: 8/10. I'd say this is a pretty resourceful design given the circumstances. The challenge made things somewhat cookie-cutter, so having a mechanic like casualty makes this card feel much more alive and real.
    • Delectation: 7/10. Let's face it; french-vanilla creatures are boring. There's not much flexibility with this challenge though, so I'm being lenient on myself here. This can be interesting to play; however, it feels bad if you can't play it early, or if your opponent does play it early.
    • Execution: 10/10. This is definitely a common with only words that start with C in its name, creature types, and rules text! Wish I had a bit more flexibility, but it's a common for crying out loud!
    Overall: 8.2/10 


    • Actuality: 8/10. Rakdos to the max! This plays super well in its colors, and has good moving parts without being too complex. The only problem is somewhat balance related (which I'll get to in a moment), but besides that? Totally good.
    • Balance: 8/10. This is a bit weak. A vanilla 4/2 is awful, but at least the blow is dampened by the unearth ability (which will always justify putting down the counter anyways). The delta is non-existent here; this is something you'll only play without the counter as a real last-ditch blocker.
    • Creativity: 10/10. I had a tender spot for this concept. It allows you to play out the creature strategically, and when it dies, you can get an aggressive attacker later. It's a very interesting combination of mechanics that play off each other well.
    • Delectation: 8/10. While somewhat dulled by the lackluster body to cost ratio, the fun is definitely here! The player using this card will be a little more engaged knowing they can sacrifice a decent body in a pinch, and the ability for reuse means that this card is pretty practical too.
    • Execution: 10/10. I really wish execution was less narrow, but I'm not changing the rules to give this card more credit. Besides, I've sung enough praises for an uncommon with two words of rules text already.
    Overall: 8.8/10


    • Actuality: 7/10. The task at hand took a strike at this, making it a diet keyword salad, but I also made a mistake; riot should be at the top of the keyword list! Additionally, riot may cause potential memory issues with renown.
    • Balance: 7/10. So many moving parts makes this very hard to judge, so let's look at the top and bottom of the delta for reference. In the worst case scenario, this is either a 5/4 for four mana or a 4/3 with haste for four mana. Both of those are solid bodies, and this is the worst case scenario. In the best case scenarios? First, this lays down four damage the turn it enters and becomes a 6/5 for you next turn. Even bigger is the second outcome, a 7/6, and both of these only get bigger if you try to stack blockers! Both sound like pretty terrifying options; this card can get out of hand, and possibly beat out certain decks completely.
    • Creativity: 7/10. In retrospect, this "creative" design feels more like I slung things at the wall and saw what stuck. In the end I just made a busted beater, but at least I made a Timmy/Spike Rare?
    • Delectation: 5/10. One-sided beatdowns are never fun, and this can create those easily. Want to block it? No. Let it through? No. Spot removal? Better hope it's instant speed. As for the player playing this, imagine winning not with any key part of your deck, but just with the randomly overpowered rat.
    • Execution: 8/10. Again, really wish this wasn't such a narrow category. I could have done better here, but this completes the challenge. It does lose two points for being low-effort, but I'd subtract two more if I could.
    Overall: 6.8/10


    • Actuality: 4/10. The actuality here is limited by the nature of melee and myriad, but that means we have a definitive ground to judge realism on: Commander. This is an exciting new way to create copies of your major threats, but melee and myriad on the same creature is a no in retrospect; it creates too much rules confusion... and then there's the fact that this reminder text is not fitting on a real card!
    • Balance: 7/10. Whew. In a standard commander game, you'll normally drop this as (what is essentially) a four mana 3/3 when attacking, which also sends a 2/2 to each of your other opponents when this swings. This is a pretty terrible low end for Melding Monstrosity's delta, but what about the high end? Meh. It's pushed, but not overpowered. At first I thought this was broken, but the interaction with melee says the myriad creatures don't count towards melee, so the creature is only getting +1/+1 and menace (in most cases) compared to Blade of Selves. All in all, a little bumpy all over the road.
    • Creativity: 9/10. This would be a seven if not for the challenge, but considering the circumstances this is a pretty interesting Johnny/Timmy Mythic. It's not the best card, but the versatility of this beater is begging to be given a home in certain commander decks.
    • Delectation: 7/10. Creatures with myriad usually shake up a game of Commander, but this can be good and bad. On the good side, it keeps players engaged, and makes attacks more impactful. On the flipside, this is a very sour draw in the later stages of the game.
    • Execution: 10/10. I'd say I did a pretty good job here! The card might be lacking reminder text due to card size restraints, but hey! It's a fun little card that does the job!
    Overall: 7.4/10
  • I'll try to pick up on this this week, but in the meantime, best to let everyone know I'm switching accounts. Look out for me @AddGG
  • That's this profile!
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