Custom Card Game Design
Announcing: Annihilation (Set 3 of 3 in my custom block!)
June 16, 2012Posted by on
Hello again, internet! I haven’t posted in a few weeks, obviously. Hectic changes at work left me unable to put time into custom design for a little while, which is a good thing in and of itself, as I think taking a break every once in awhile to clear your mind and perform a mental reset, so to speak, is a good thing for creativity.
That being said, I am back, and for those who might be following my threads on MTG Salvation, the first thing I did when I was back was complete several balance passes for Eldrazi Unleashed. The set itself has come along rather nicely, I think, and it’s been rather fun to playtest with friends of mine. This weekend, I’ve asked the MTG Salvation community to, if they feel so inclined, help me with playtesting in any number of ways, and I’ll echo that request here. If you are interested in helping playtest, here are a few guidelines:
- First, don’t use any cards other than what are included in sets 1 and 2 (Caeia and Eldrazi Unleashed). These cards are not meant to be played with the existing WotC card pool and are not balanced to that end in any way.
- If you play limited, try to do it in a singleton format. The idea is, these are meant specifically to be drafted in cube (or cube sealed).
- If you play, post your decklists! A big part of the playtesting phase will be identifying archetypes, and this helps tons.
- Finally, if you’re in the greater Oklahoma City area and are interested in testing in person, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d love to set up a time in person. I’m also working on potentially setting up a casual event at a local game store where you could actually receive Planeswalker points by helping me playtest! (more info to come on that one)
All that said, with Eldrazi Unleashed in playtesting now, it’s time to focus creative efforts on the finale of the block: Annihilation. A quick rundown of what the set will contain and what I hope to accomplish with it.
- Annihilation, abbreviated ANN, is set 3 of 3 in the Hubris of Caeia block.
- The set will contain 150 cards with a standard rarity breakdown.
- Along with returning mechanics such as Fortify, Purity, Prismatic, and Garrison, the set features several new mechanics such as Epitaph and Consume (featured on the preview cards found below).
- As some may have guessed from the title, the story concerns the final days of the Eldrazi invasion of the plane of Caeia. As planeswalkers Gideon Jura, Avienne Rumare, and Koth have been unsuccesful in rallying the different cultures of the plane, the outlook is bleak as the world around them dies.
- As with the rest of the block, supported formats will be block constructed, cube draft, and cube sealed. Multiplayer variants such as Planechase, Archenemy, and Vanguard are possible post-release inclusions.
- Playtest is set to tentatively begin 08/12
As the Eldrazi Invasion has progressed on the Plane of Caeia, the invaders have begun to consume the plane around them. This is a slightly different aspect of the Eldrazi than has been put forth before, lending itself to a more control feel instead of a ‘ramp to something enormous and smash your face’ feel. The fact that many of the strongest strategies in the format rely on a high number of colored mana costs, this effect can be devastating.
As mentioned previously, this cycle of lands will be present in the set. They’ve already undergone a lot of redesign, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are changed more and more throughout the development process.
Another cycle that has been discussed previously, this 5-card cycle will be the only place where the Despair mechanic is used. Although it may not be popular to use negative mechanics, I have just felt like this conveys the flavor so strongly that I’m willing to overlook it (and the people I regularly play with tend to agree.)
Meant as both a mana fixer and a foil to consume, the Pathfinder cycle will be present in all 5 colors.
Another exampled of the Epitaph mechanic. As their world crumbles around them, the denizens of Caeia take inspiration from their fallen comrades.
Of course Bolas had to be involved. From the start, I’ve intended that set 3 will feature a bit of a side story that would tie Nicol Bolas’ machniations to the plane of Caeia. Bolas has shown strong interest in releasing the Eldrazi, and has clashed offscreen with Ugin (who, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is a native to Caeia and the founder of the Order of the Silver Flame) at least once.
The planeswalker itself is designed by MTG Salvation user AranMagnus, my best friend IRL and the primary playtest and creative support I’ve had on this project. The card may very well see some development, but the basic idea is likely to remain intact throughout the process. As a side note, it’s a bit obvious from his art that he’s not native to Caeia – this is intentional. He’s supposed to be a clashing entity.
And that’s it! Again, if you’re interested in assisting with playtesting, please let me know, and as always please leave some comments if you like what you see!