Custom Card Game Design
the design phase of ‘Iamur’ is about to conclude. What started out as a wonky idea of mine, shaped out to be an actual set. Now it’s time to get some testing done to see if the mechanics work out the way they’re supposed to. Here though, because I feel like it, I will talk about some individual cards I find especially interesting.
Follow the Light
In ‘Iamur’, the all-colored Fish tokens replace the Eldrazi Spawn from ‘Rise of the Eldrazi.’ Since these tokens don’t generate mana on their own, they can be shifted to other colors. In ‘Rise of the Eldrazi’, green got Spawn tokens because it’s the primary ramp color, red because Eldrazi Spawn mimic rituals and black because it’s the secondary color for rituals. In ‘Iamur’, red and white will get Fish tokens because they’re the weenie colors. Blue also gets tokens as a secondary color, as the Fish type as well as 0/X creatures are something associated with the color.
The token generators all have a characteristic of their respective color in addition to spewing out a few Fish. Follow the Light for example gains life – that’s white, right? But the card has a problem. It doesn’t do anything on its own. For it to put something relevant onto the board, it requires other cards first, such as anthems or sacrifice effects. This makes it slightly parasitic, but it’s not too bad, considering there are plenty of those effects running around. However, I wonder if it will be relevant enough in the set, as you specifically need a spell with Swallow to make use of them as sacrifice fodder.
Brood Birthing doesn’t have that problem, because the tokens have a clear purpose – they can increase your mana access for one turn. To compensate, I’ll definitely need a few more ways to make use out of excess tokens you might end up with (other than chumping).
If you’re using your tokens to cast this guy, you should be pretty happy. We had a lengthy discussion on the power level of this monstrosity, especially in regards to his rarity. Now, he started without the attack trigger, but with hexproof, and I MIGHT ADMIT that that’s a bit too powerful for a common. But is this version still too pushed for a common? As in ‘Rise of the Eldrazi’, fatties should matter and they must be better than mediocre Axebane Stags (a stag eats a valley-sized Wurm? Really, Wizards?) and reach the power level of Ulamog’s Crusher. The problem? The Eldrazi octopus (an 8/8 for 8 is an octopus!) surpasses the power level of even many rares and blue never got a fatty at common that’s that pushed. So, the others rather compared this guy to Inkwell Leviathan than the Eldrazi. However, I think he’s on par with the Crusher when compared directly: Obviously, trample is better than not-trample, but drawing a card is considerably worse than annihilating your opponent.
The color-shifted Divination is probably something we’ll never see, as Wizards decided that green card draw should be tied to creatures, but I would still love to have it in Standard. I wanted to have a good green card draw spell because I shifted some of the strengths of green from ‘Rise of the Eldrazi’ to the other colors, and I liked the simplicity of the color-shifted Divination. I think it gives green more depth than just ‘Ramp, ramp, ramp’ as it was the case in ‘Rise of the Eldrazi’.
Instructor of the Meek
I can’t count how many Training Grounds decks I’ve built while it was in Standard. And I drafted it whenever I could. I think it was quite underrated and was definitely first-pickable, but it’s true that it sometimes just didn’t do much. This guy is less potent, but is always a live draw, even if you don’t have any levelers out. Expanding the effect to white seems justified to me, so this guy was the perfect fit for the uncommon hybrid slot. All in all, I think from the set, this is the card I’m most happy with.
If this was an actual set, players of eternal formats would expect to get a spicy Merfolk creature in their boosters (it being underwater and all that…). After I decided that the five sentient races were based on the allied color combinations, I wanted to make a cycle of lords that would show off some of their philosophy. The Merfolk society is based on law and order and the pursuit of knowledge. The council acts as the legislators in that society, as well as intellectual leaders.
In a Modern or Legacy merfolk deck, there would definitely be a reason to play white solely for Macuri Council, but maybe some other players would prefer to stay monoblue.
In my very scattered thoughts and design process, I already envisioned the second set of the block. It will be called ‘Grim Tidings’, and will play on land, however keeping the heavy marine theme. Here are two cards I want to include:
Chef of Azureport
A cook of a harbor inn? That has to be included! But what does he do? He cooks tasty meals that can strengthen your creatures, but only if he can get the right ingredients; kraken meat! So, a kraken has to die first, before he can do his job. This led to the very irrelevant trigger that will do nothing most of the time and a card that’s just here for the laughs. I considered the buff granting +X/+X, but that could push the creature’s power above 8, which will then trigger his ability again when it dies. That would suggest that he cooks his own customers (which is actually hilarious, maybe?).
I like the idea of having a twisted version of mermaids in the set, similar to what Shadowmoor did with the races. After all the happy, singing mermaids we’ve seen underwater, this might be a welcome change.
I haven’t put much thought into the power level of the card. It looks powerful, but in a control deck that doesn’t directly attack your life total, it won’t do that much most of the time. It could be very potent as a sideboard card in a black based aggro deck against creature matchups.
That’s all for now. If you’re interested in playtesting the set: Awesome! Message me and I’ll put up a file for Magic Workstation (and Cockatrice if I can figure out how to do that).