[RESULTS] The HALF-Great Designer Search 3 — Challenge 3: A Circus Act

Hello everyone!

It's time for our third round of...


The premise of this contest is simple:
1) It follows the original GDS3 challenges. You can find the original challenges HERE!
2) You only need to design half the cards compared to the original rules (usually going from 8-10 to 4-5 cards). I adapted the rules accordingly.
3) A little twist has been added to each challenge so people who followed the GDS3 can't come too prepared.
4) No elimination, you can skip any round or jump in at any moment.

Without further ado, let's jump to the challenge:


You can find the rules of the original challenge HERE! I took them and cut them in half:


1) You must design 4 cards.
2) You must only use names from the list below. You must use the card names exactly, no tweaking (with one exception listed below).
3) Your cards must mechanically capture the flavor of their title.
3) You must use at least three different card types.
4) You must make one card of each rarity (common, uncommon, rare, mythic rare).
5) You must make at least one legendary card. For legendary cards, and only legendary cards, you may slightly tweak the name to make it sound legendary.
6) Each color must appear at least once. It doesn't have to be in the mana cost.
7) You are allowed access to all evergreen mechanics (which do not include deciduous mechanics) and up to one non-evergreen mechanic. Note that there is no requirement to use named mechanics. Please do not create any new named keyword mechanics.

But that's not all. To prevent people who already did the full original challenge from having too much of a head start, I added... a twist.


8) The cards won't be about circus. Instead THE NEW THEME IS FAIRY TALES. I also cut in half the number of options available for the names, so you'll find below a list of 12 names that you must use to make your four cards.

• Big Bad Wolf
• Eerie Ballroom
• Enchanted Flower
• Fairy Godmother
• Hundred-Year Curse
• Kiss of True Love
• Mirror on the Wall
• Once Upon a Time
• Princess Rescue
• Prison Tower
• Questing Beast
• Shining Armor


Here are some additional information for the contest:
OLD CARDS ARE: Allowed, as long as they fit within the restrictions
FORMAT: Design cards for an undefined Standard-legal set
TEXT-ONLY CARDS ARE: Allowed, but you must link the illustration that would go with it.
DEADLINE: Saturday, March 16th (2 weeks from now)
- 1st place — 5 favourites of their choice
- 2st place — 3 favourites of their choice
- 3st place — 1 favourite of their choice

This round is really about flavour. The best design will be the ones that manage to extract the flavourful essence of the names, so choose carefully. Finally, there are *A LOT* of rules for this one, read them twice to make sure you don't forget anything ;)

Good luck everyone, let the third round of the HALF-GDS3 begin! =D


  • edited March 2019
    The one thing I don't get about this is what this has to do with the circus. Could you please illuminate me?
  • @Ranshi922
    He did specifically say "The cards won't be about circus. Instead THE NEW THEME IS FAIRY TALES." But, hey, maybe he didn't mean it. *shrug*
  • @ningyounk
    Does each name reference a specific fairy tale that we are supposed to capture the flavor of, or are some of them somewhat generic? If the former, could would get the synopsis of each of them?
  • edited March 2019
    It's actually not about a Circus at all xD I just kept the original name of the challenge so people know it's the GDS3 challenge, and to keep the surprise about the new theme ^^

    Nope, the names are meant to be generic, those are tropes you see in different fairy tales though some of them are probably better known in one tale or the other. It's up to you to decide how you flesh them out. If you take the first one for instance, Big Bad Wolf, you could design the wolf from the Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, Peter and the Wolf, etc. Or you could design your own Big Bad Wolf, what's important is that it's bad and it's a wolf ^^
  • edited March 2019
    imageimage imageimage
    I think I got the right feel for Eerie Ballroom. I never heard a story with one in before.
  • @KorandAngels Just a heads up, your set of cards has more than one Non-Evergreen abilities, thos being artifact lands and hybrid mana. you might want to change one of your cards so it doesn't violate the rules.
  • edited March 2019
    @KorandAngels @ouser94501
    "Artifact lands" is not a mechanic per se so that won't be a problem ^^ Protection has become deciduous though. So yes, this is technically worth a *DING*, though not for the right reason x)

    If anyone has trouble deciding if something would break the rules, don't hesitate to ask me =) Otherwise, a trick to know if something counts as a mechanic would be to ask yourself if it requires a reminder text to be understood the first time you see it ;) So, hybrid mana yes, artifact lands no.


  • edited March 2019
    Can we change the spelling of "Fairy Godmother" to "Faerie Godmother" for MtG reasons?

    Also, could @KorandAngels have used either of those mechanics just not both (since we're allowed one non-evergreen)?
  • edited March 2019
    @ninyounk I have no idea what evergreen mechanic means.
    @ouser94501 They are using hybrid mana in the recent ravnica sets
  • My take on Shining Armor:
    In this one, I'm trying to show through the mechanics what the armor does. Sure, anyone can put it on and call it armor. But only those with goodness in their intentions can harness its power to defeat enemies without harming them. I also used Hybrid mana as my one deciduous keyword, because it seemed the most elegant way to make this card work and be balanced as an uncommon.
    #2 is Prison Tower!:
    This one was tough, because it can be hard to tell a story on a common, so I used the art and the flavor text, in tandem with the name and mechanics, to give people some general ideas of what this tower is, but to leave just enough open to the imagination to have them coming up with the end on their own.
    Next up is Hundred-Year Curse:
    This curse promises power and pain to both the caster and anyone in their vicinity, willing or not. It's a curse in the most fairytale of ways - you want it for the power, then the other end of it stings you in your own other end. Now it's in your opponent's favor. They want it now. Now it's gone. What happened to those 100 years?
    Finally we've got Questing Beast:
    This one is both my legendary and my Mythic, as seems fitting. And come on, this is a fairy tale contest! The Lord of the Rings is arguably the greatest fairy tale in American literature, so I had to do a card inspired by a character from the books and movies. So I chose Shadowfax, a relatively undeveloped character (probably because he's a horse :p). It seems likely to me that if this so-called 'Lord of all Horses' would go along with a newly christened White Wizard's whim into a deadly battle in an even deadlier war, that he spent his whole life before and after also seeking to adventure and learn more about the vast places of the world. And on the card, the more you see, the more knowledge (cards) you get and the more drive (+1/+1 counters) Shadowfax gets!

    That was a lot of fun! Thanks for hosting the challenge @ningyounk ! Hope y'all like my cards :)
  • edited March 2019
    Yes, you can use Faerie instead of Fairy if you prefer ^^
    Absolutely, either hybrid mana or protection is fine, but using both at the same time breaks the rules.

    An evergreen mechanic is a mechanic that appears in every set. It's stuff like flying, haste, hexproof, lifelink, menace, flash, trample, vigilance, first strike, deathtouch, etc. You can use those as much as you want, here's a complete list if you're unsure: https://mtg.gamepedia.com/Evergreen

    Then there are the set mechanics, those are the ones that are tied to specific sets but you won't see them otherwise. It's stuff like Landfall on Zendikar, Energy on Kaladesh, Embalm on Amonkhet, Historic on Dominaria, Afterlife on Ravnica, etc.

    It gets tricky with the deciduous mechanics. Those are the mechanics in-between, that are not tied to specific sets but they're not always present. Hybrid mana for instance is deciduous, protection also returns from time to time, vehicles are now deciduous, etc.

    You can use up to one set mechanic or deciduous mechanic in your entries ^^
  • I changed the Armour
  • edited March 2019

    Rare Enchant.
    I tried to focus on what the sentence means: The begining of most of the tales and what could that mean for people. Kind of reminiscence of their childhood. I had always the luck of finding such a wonderful image.


    Uncommon Creature
    DOuble Big Bad Wolf Tribute: Illustration from Little Red Riding Hood but the card isThe wolf from The three little pigs (It's this the name in English?). At the begining the idea was to write "Can only be blocked by walls" but it sounds too 90's, so i decided to write it as it is now.


    Common Sorcery
    I liked how this ilustration looked like the early MTG images. So I (more or less) tried to designe a card which could fit it.


    Mythic Rare Artifact.

    As always: Help with wording and balancing is welcome.

    Oh i missed the using the 5 colors thing. I Will try to edit the wolf. Otherwise I deserve the "Ding".

    @Faiths_Guide: Always a pleasure to have your help and advice. I edited the card. It's a pity since it was the first time I reached the 10 favs with the old one xD
  • @Derfaulehelmut If I'm not mistaken, Once Upon a Time should say "Whenever you draw one or more cards, put that many book counters on Once Upon A Time". Hope this helps!
  • @ouser94501
    You are a bit mistaken, but, never fear, I left a complete update comment on the card page.
  • edited March 2019




    Here are my submissions, hope to get some feedback on these designs. Still getting to grips with how to design MTG cards, enjoying the whole thing though
  • @SmallJem
    You've got a few things to learn on card design, but you're making a great start of it! Will you be using any of your own artwork for future designs, Jessica?

    Oh, I've got a little art discussion here on the forums as well that you might like!

    There is some recent stuff starting on page 3 ;)
  • Here are my entries:

    I supplied the MtgDesign version since it is much more legible. Flavorwise, first you beseech the mirror for your ambition (search for a card), then it gives you what you want...for a fleeting time (copy creature). And, as your whims change, the mirror provides but always exacts a toll (life loss). Mechanically, the slow but repeatable tutoring is balanced out by that your opponent always gets advanced warning of what you search up with this before it gets copied on a creature or into your hand. Also, I know in older formats this can put an emrakul on the battlefield on turn 5, but that is much less degenerate than other similar combos and is interactabke through creature removal.


    Flavorwise, the Questing Beast hails from Arthurian Legend where it is an omen not to be ignored (must be blocked if able). It was the subject of quests by Arthur, Gawain, etc as it appeared over the ages. Slaying the beast "completes the quest" and rewards those who participated. The second ability is a mirror of my custom ability,Quest, shown below. Note that no rewards are gained if the beast is killed by sorcery (kill spell, etc.), only if it is slain by creatures (Knights).

    Quest (When this permanent completes its quest for the first time, draw a card, then put a +1/+1 counter on it if it's a creature.)


    True love's kiss typically breaks some kind of curse on an ally/lover/friend, and mechanically it seemed perfect to represent that “curse” as an opponent’s aura enchanting you/your creatures. After the "curse" is broken, the characters often rejoice at their triumph, hence the life gain. It is proportional to CMC to mirror the severity of the curse (the darker the night, the brighter the dawn). I also like how this can kill actual MTG curses (they’re Auras too) for the flavor win.


    I represented the Big Bad Wolf as the three little pigs version. It takes all 3 pigs to defeat (block) the Wolf, hence the super menace. The second ability represents each of the Wolf's 3 puffs, growing his strength and confidence but also representing his nature as a bully. If someone big enough stands up to him, he will be defeated (sacrifices). I like how this makes for an interesting gameplay and deckbuilding restriction.
  • image
    The big bad wolf eats and eats- if he doesn't consume enough, he'll starve to death and if he gluts himself, someone will come to end his life. Either way, it won't end well.
    Be careful what you ask, for the mirror reveals only the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and you might not like what you see.
    A glorious prince changed into a monstrous, awful beast might yet regain his humanity when he learns to love. That, or he'll languish for a century in torment, waiting for death.
    Hunt the land for the questing beast all you want- finding it will bring trouble, toil and death. Even if you do slay it, the prize of its skin will draw knaves to steal it.
  • edited March 2019
    _____________________________________________My Submission_____________________________________________

    [ I've decided to post my cards in increasing rarity order ]

    Red Artifact:

    First of all, we have some Shining Armor. I found this one to be a little tough to get enough flavor across at common. The phrase which immediately comes to mind (for me at least) is "knight in shining armor" and I let that guide my design. Knights in fairy tales tend to be passionate and noble/heroic and this most closely aligns with red and white in MtG. For comparison, I referenced Bladed Bracers and True-Faith Censer for balancing and rules text and determined that the flavor was that anyone could where the armor, but only the passionate and heroic at heart would cause it to shine. The passion is the ability to stir up courage (+1/+0) and the heroism is exemplified by vigilance. Definitely a simple design, but feels reasonable at common and gets the basic flavor across pretty well I think.

    White Blue Creature:
    This one was fun (I was very glad to find Brian Froud artwork for this one even though a lot of my favorite parts get cut off at the top and bottom). I feel that the flavor is very strong here, and was aiming to design a much weaker spinoff of Shalai and Sigarda, Heron's Grace mashed up with Aegis Angel. According to fairy tales including a Fairy Godmother--of which there are surprisingly few--authors made the entity one that did essentially what a real godparent of the period would do: protect, council, bless etc. The difference is magical power. I focused here on a fairy godmother's ability to protect against evil magic as seen primarily in the story of Sleeping Beauty.

    Colorless Land:
    I must admit that I really like this card. A rare nonbasic land with witty flavor text that just came to me. The flavor is somewhat direct with a very unique approach mechanically. Firstly, tales like Rapunzel and others usually begin with the prisoner already imprisoned and, as this is a land and can't be countered, I think that it captures that flavorful element. Secondly, it imprisons creatures with lower power just like a princess! Thirdly, and my personal favorite part, if a "hero" manages to get past your defenses, he will rescue the captive!

    Green Black Legendary Creature:
    To finish I have another card which I think turned out really well. My legendary Big bad Wolf draws on Little Red Riding Hood and "a wolf in sheep's clothing" for flavor. In Little Red Riding Hood the big bad wolf eats Red's grandmother and then disguises himself in her bedclothes. My Big Bad Wolf exiles (or swallows whole) the weakest (or oldest) creature and then gains hexproof from its colors (disguises itself as it). I would have him return the exiled creature when he dies, but that feels more white and the original story ended after the wolf ate both the grandma and Red anyway, only in future adaptations a hunter/woodsman character rescue them.

    Thanks for another awesome contest @ningyounk, and best wishes to all entrants!
  • edited March 2019
  • edited March 2019
    This took too long.
    Naya common
    Selesnya uncommon
    Rare land
    And an Azorious Mythic
  • edited March 2019
    Anyone else planning to get an entry in on this? *Bumrp* Excuse me!
  • I did, but I am having a creative block, so I think I will make it official that I am sitting out of this one. This may change depending on if the block clears and there is time.
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