Designer's Gauntlet [Week 1] - What We Have in Commons



  • (looks at all the great entries before me)
    (well here goes nothing...)

    I'm trying to replace the less-played cards (with low ranks according to draftsim) with some better ones. Here's what I have:

    White (Instant)
    Defiant Strike is rarely played since it doesn't really fall into any theme -- WR go wide wouldn't like the small boost, even if it has card draw.

    Elated Charge, on the other hand, is a decent combat trick, and a pretty good one if you can trigger the life gain clause.

    Blue (Creature)
    Tome Anima is a bit meh. It can use a better replacement.

    The fish has similar stats and is occasionally unblockable, but you can guarantee the latter by activating its ability. The milling also subtly helps UR spells (since the payoffs just counts the instants/sorceries in your graveyard) and UB reanimation as well.

    Black (Enchantment)
    Infernal Scarring seems to be a dead horse I can safely beat: it's not that great as a morbid / sac payoff. Maybe something a bit more spicy?

    The new aura is certainly different, and I could see it as a bit pushed. The death trigger makes this playable in BR sacrifice and BG morbid, and the toughness boost combined with the life gain ensures that you gain at least 3 life from this -- giving WB life gain a push as well.

    Red (Creature)
    Bone Pit Brute bites the dust again -- it's basically a passable piece of cardboard that doesn't belong anywhere. Its only upside is that enabling ferocious (and the bad pun).

    The new creature kept the stats and menace, but the etb trigger is strictly dependent on ferocious i.e. RG's theme, and the effect is helpful for WR go wide. WR go wide usually doesn't have a creature with power 4 or greater but by the time the players get to their 6th land I would think it's more likely.

    Green (Sorcery)
    Track Down is an interesting common but we probably don't need more ways for green to eat up the color pie (scry 3 is quite blue imo). Here's something that benefits from morbid:

    The new sorcery still captures the idea of trying to find a creature/land card from the top four cards of your library, with the wording more fitting for green. The card also extends to all permanents but with the drawback of getting it next turn -- unless morbid is online! This should serve as a decent payoff for BG morbid, and incidentally helps UG card draw as well. The last line could have been worded as "put that card into your hand instead" to keep in line with the wording of old cards, but using "draw a card" was more elegant and helps the UG archetype.
  • Here's my entry:

    This is meant to support the dog theme and help create tokens. This also supplies you with a little life, which can be helpful at some times. This is meant to be simple, but useful for many dog/token decks. It should also help create easy creatures for the RW Go-Wide theme as well. I think this should replace  Makeshift Battalion:


    This card is meant to support the flying theme. The goal of this card is to use blue's playstyle to surprise opponents with sudden flash creatures that can help block or maybe have a good etb ability. I think this should replace Keen Glidemaster because a good flying deck will probably already have most of their creatures with flying:


    This card is meant to support most of the archetypes in Core Set 2021, mostly BG (dying matters), BR (sacrifice), and UB (reanimation). This can definitely help decks win late game that want to keep putting creatures in the graveyard. Especially with the cards that mill yourself, lots of creatures getting in your graveyard can definitely help seal the game if you have the right cards. I think this should replace Infernal Scarring because it supports the graveyard a little better:


    Fiery Visionary has a few purposes. The first is supporting prowess and getting big off of you casting instant and sorcery spells, then exiling itself to bring back one of those spells you cast and possibly trigger more prowess while also helping you get rid of an opposing threat. This is useful in early and late game and I think it should replace Bone Pit Brute because Bone Pit Brute isn't very useful in most circumstances:


    This is useful in GW +1/+1 counters because it adds +1/+1 counters on a creature, and then most likely allows you to draw a card because of the strong +1/+1 counter support in GW. For RG ferocious, this helps you enable ferocious, then also gives you a ferocious benefit. I think this should replace Titanic Growth:
  • Ok, here are my five cards (I apologize for anything that's confusing about my writing, it was really rushed):

    White:                                        Replaces:

    Every other color has at least one common modal spell that lets you choose between multiple distinct choices, so I figured that made sense to add one to white as well. The problem is, Trufflesnout in green already has the lifegain and +1/+1 counter abilities, so I needed to do something different. In order to create something a bit more innovative, I thought it would make sense to make a creature with 3 choices rather than just 2. Putting a +1/+1 counter and creating a 1/1 were easy, and the tap ability came around as a situational last ability if you're just trying to push in some final points of damage. The last question was what to replace: as a 3 drop, it was either Makeshift Battalion or Warded Battlements, and I'm of the opinion that, although lackluster, Makeshift Battalion is necessary as an option for both the go-wide &+1/+1 counters archetypes as a 3-drop.

    Blue:                                          Replaces:
    Rookie Mistake is a fairly unusable card in limited, so I thought creating a slightly more useful 1 mana instant in blue would be a good place to go. Just reducing power without giving -X/-0 is not a usual ability, but it's within blue's color pie and not too complicated, so it made sense as one option, and then, what else for the other option but a "better" effect when the creature already has 1 power?

    Black:                             Replaces:
    Didn't have time to write this one, basically a replacement for mindrot.

    Red:                                            Replaces:

    Though it has its applications, Furor of the Bitten isn't an incredible reprint, and seeing as it isn't necessary for any of the archetypes, I decided to replace it with a different red aura that still could trigger 4+ power abilities, but also further synergized with both RG 4+ power matters and BR sacrifice. WOTC has also been trying to find more ways to make auras that are worth it even if an opponent kills the enchanted creature, and this is definitely one direction to go.

    Green:                                         Replaces:

    Looking to to replace some card in green, Snarespinner is a completely valid reprint in M21, but I needed a creature, and Portcullis Vine works in the UG draw deck & I'm not touching Colossal Dreadmaw, so the spider was the one to go. The replacement: just a new version of the common reach creature with a benefit if an opponent controls a creature with flying - sometimes you'll just want a 2-drop, but other times, when you suspect your opponent has flyers, then you could wait around for a stronger body. It may be a bit pushed, but this combination of P/T & abilities seemed the most reasonable.
  • This challenge will be closed for entries in 15 minutes! Get your submissions in quickly - I'm a stickler for deadlines :)
  • The competition is really tough here :smile:
  • To begin, THANK YOU for an amazing set of submissions! We had a blast evaluating and head-scratching with you and I'm pleased to announce our winners.

    First, a few housekeeping details:
    • Judging is always subjective, but we aim to hold everyone to equal standards and offer our rating based on our proposed criteria. Please don't be discouraged by the outcomes here; you all made this very challenging for us!
    • There were many great submissions but since I'm only human (as far as you know) I'll typically only be sharing notes on the top 4 to present each week. If you'd like our feedback on your entry please message me and I'll get it sent to you.
    • DK is me (DomriKade) and LL is LuckyLooter!

    Without further ado, here are your top 8!

    5 - @TheCenterOfTheUniverse 6 - @Faiths_Guide 7 - @shadow123 8 - @LyndonF

    @Ranshi 4th Place

    Boon of Solidarity
    LL: Very cool, and I actually do enjoy it over Revitalize
    DK: Could be just W maybe, but a clean card.

    Tidecaller Djinn
    LL: Love that it works in 3 archetypes
    DK: A standout submission, a strong inclusion for several decks

    Rotten Return
    LL: Perhaps a Wander in Death effect of returning two small things to hand, or one large thing to the battlefield? This currently works against the archetype it’s probably aimed at: Reanimating Gloom Sower and Spined Megalodon
    DK: Probably better as a modal spell (return one or return two) though that pushes us to uncommon.

    Boarback Brigade
    LL: LOVE this card, but I am biased in loving Goblins and loving commons that self-reference and rewarding drafting multiples.
    DK: Possibly "any number" to avoid multiple searches, especially with haste

    Earthen Fury
    LL: Interestingly, this effect has been more frequent on Red instants at one mana, with Green tending to go with a larger buff for larger mana.
    DK: Strange wording/effect but serviceable (basically Rush of Adrenaline)

    @ningyounk 3rd Place

    Fetching Fleabag
    LL: My favorite of yours, I like this effect and the body/cost it comes on! (much more than Alpine Watchdog honestly)
    DK: Solid card, great effect, points for puns (note: As much as I'd like to, I'm not actually allowed to award extra points for good puns)

    Neverending Journey
    LL: A common instant that can go “infinite” feels over complex, especially in a set with prowess as a major theme. Casting two of these to get cast triggers then getting them both back every turn seems like it could get quite out of hand.
    DK: Noncreature recursion at common is an interesting tack, but I fear that it may be too efficient to ‘refill’ your hand each turn.

    LL: This one feels a little odd/complex for common. What was the power of a creature card leaving my graveyard that counts cards in my graveyard, like Lhurgoyf? Also I would anticipate this having a mana cost so that it can’t be at risk of happening all the time. Focusing on M21 limited though, this feel right at home!
    DK: Neat way to turn on ‘gain 3 life’, plays nicely with reanimator. “Left your graveyard this turn” is a strange tracking mechanism but I’m on board.

    Commander’s Order
    LL: A little odd, fits best on a token when you can make more tokens of, or on one of the dogs after tutoring for several of them with the RW signpost uncommon.
    DK: High opportunity cost for a medium payoff.

    Symbiotic Pair (DomriKade's favorite!)
    LL: A close second favorite, I really enjoy the versatility and the ways in which this hits three of the four Green archetypes in different ways.
    DK: Probably wants to be 2GG for flexibility alone but this is super cool.

    @Phelgming 2nd Place

    Supply Shipment
    LL: Very cool card and works for multiple archetypes, just odd that it goes 2-3-1
    DK: Interesting card with neat effects. Wording could be cleaned up a bit.

    Panicked Study (LuckyLooter's favorite!)
    LL: Love this card! Just wish it was called "Grapple with the Future"
    DK: “Mill three cards, then return an instant or sorcery card from your graveyard to your hand.” Really nice card.

    Fatten Up
    LL: Amazing. Funny. Works very well across 3 archetypes, very impressive!
    DK: Solid, really funny card. Functionally hits three archetypes very well.

    Combustible Companion
    LL: Very strong for the RW archetype and I actually like it more than Igneous Cur
    DK: Neat execution. May want a "if ~ is attacking" clause? Negative points for sad flavor text.

    Striving Combatant
    LL: Probably needs to be 1 power to start from, but I really like this
    DK: (^I said the same thing)

    Shifting Landscape
    LL: I could see Wizards printing this! (That used to be a compliment on card balance)

    @bnew07 1st Place

    Release the Dogs
    LL: Shame this name is taken, but I love the effect!
    DK: It's too bad that this can't trigger any lifegain effects before it resolves to help meet the threshold, but this is a clean design.

    Shipseeker Drake
    LL: Very cool! Love that it hits multiple archetypes cleanly
    DK: Surprisingly simple and effective - it'll feel really clever when you play this for less than 5 mana. I’m impressed by how many archetypes this hits.

    Imperfect Compleation
    LL: Could get away with this at one mana I think!
    DK: Worse Bequeathal but quite serviceable. Great flavor text.

    Flamerite Elemental
    LL: Same as the Drake comment above!
    DK: Solid. Nails several archetypes too.

    Sprout from the Wastes
    LL: A lot of overlap here with Fungal Rebirth. Possibly too much potential life gain for a common.
    DK: I’d prefer a flat rate rather than flexible life gain here.

    Here's our scoring rubric now that we have a better grasp of participation. We have a top-secret in-house grading system but points will be awarded each week based on placement as follows:

    1st - 20 points, 2nd - 16 points, 3rd - 12 points, 4th - 10 points
    5th - 8 points, 6th - 7 points, 7th - 6 points, 8th - 5 points

    Each other participant gets 3 points just for playing. Additionally, anyone who participated in the 'bonus' gets an additional 1 point. In future weeks, only those who aren't currently in the top 8 are eligible to receive additional points from bonus challenges. With that, here are our standings:

    If this is just the start, we're in for an incredible ride together! Congratulations to our winners for Week 1 - see you tomorrow for your Week 2 challenge of the Designer's Gauntlet.
  • 7th place! Nice! Congrats to all of the top 8 and especially @bnew07!!
  • Congrats to @winners! Considering there are a lot of renowned players here, I'd consider 8th a decent spot. That said, I still have some issues to work on... 
  • @bnew07, JEEZUMS!!! You blew us all away!

    I'm just happy that I placed!
  • @ranshi thanks a lot! It was good to flex the old Cardsmith muscles again 
  • I bet!
  • Congrats to the top 8 and really everyone who entered!
  • Honored to take second place. I didn't actually think my cards were up to snuff (my formatting was poor across a couple cards), but I will take it. Congratulations to bnew07! Very deserved!
  • What did I do wrong?
  • @KorandAngels, I might be able to throw a wager as to why you didn't do so well in this round. Would that be helpful?
  • The idea was to design commons that would fit into the most recent core set. Some of your entries use mechanics that don't fit that theme, whereas other entries were simply far too powerful. I'd be happy to say what I think could've been done better for this contest in the comments of each card, if you so wish.
  • I must have missed that part of the challenge. I like using obscure and outdated mechanics in my cards.
  • I noticed.
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