Tuesday, May 1, 2012

behind the scenes of the Mad Doctor

So it's been a while since my last post, and since my last article was more about flavor than design, I thought I should spend some time talking about the designs themselves.

Let's get started!

Avacynian Scribe was simple enough.
White is the best weenie color and every color has access to cantrips.
As a designer I'm also on something of a crusade to get card draw in all five colors to some degree. It's just such an enormous and ubiquitous part of the game, that I don't really think it's fair to certain colors to have a monopoly on it.

Geralf the Stitcher was a super easy design.
"All creatures are skaabs"
Bam. Done.
I will admit that 3 is probably way too low a CMC for such a powerful effect.
It should probably be at least 4, or have a heavier color weight.

Since my original article went up, Avacyn Restored has come out.
In the set, Gisa is featured on a number of flavor texts, each time going by the moniker "Gisa the Mad".
That's the least of my problems.
I came up with design having totally forgotten that Coffin Queen is a thing. Which is weird because that card is super cool (and something that is sore need for a reprint).
In light of that, I'm rather disappointed in myself.
Coffin Queen has a pretty unique functionality, and I feel that it is fairly costed, and not necessarily an effect that needs to exist in plurality.
At some point, once I've written enough articles, I plan to do a "What would I do today?" article here I go over old card designs with what I've learned and say how I would do them differently.
By then, I plan to have something more satisfying.

I'm not sure it's a design that 'needs' to exist, but It was one I was interested in exploring.

Treacherous Alchemy.
In my first article I mentioned how I feel that restriction free tutoring feels more blue than black to me. To that end, I felt I should do a blue equivalent of the current default tutor, Diabolic Tutor. But I didn't want to do a straight reprint of Diabolic, that would be boring.
So, since blue tends to favor working at instant speed, I made it work at instant speed, but have the infrequently used "top of the library" clause so that the power level is comparable to the slower but "into your hand" effect of Diabolic.
I'd love to see how the two would compare in the real.

Bewitching Wall.
I think Gomazoa is neat.
So I made another.

Geistflame Lantern.
As a proponent of fatties, I enjoy manarocks.
I did this as a a bottom up of a mana rock that cares about creatures dying, since that's a pretty ubiquitous effect in Innistrad.
I'm not sure the last ability needs to remove the counters AND sac though, the card is crazy wordy as is.

Open Sewer
Rats of Rath intrigues me.
So I wanted to see what other effects in the same vein I could explore.
This is what I came up with.
I came up with some designs that I think are more interesting and/or powerful, but this was by far the most straightforward design. Going with the simplest execution of a design is a skill that I think more would be Magic designers need to embrace.

Nothing is Scarier.
Black has a sort of neat relationship with enchantments. It (and red) are allowed to have very powerful, very aggressively costed enchantments with bad downsides. Why is this? Because red and black are the only two colors that lack the capacity to interact with non-aura enchantments on the battlefield. Because of this, they can't offset the bad downsides of their enchantments (oh say, Phyrexian Arena) by destroying them later the same way that green or white or blue could.
So here's a "nothing can block" effect.
I just realized that this kind of mimics cards like Razorjaw Oni.
Cool beans.

Reflection is the top-downsiest card I've ever made. Nuff said.

Pickled Brain
We have Mind Stone and we have Dreamstone Hedron. Why no effect in between?

Sewer Mutant.
I saw Artful Dodge and decided to top down design a thing like what was in the art.

Tesla Coil.
Everything is Chain Lightning.
Let's get it!

This is the card that started it all.
I thought of this card, and immediately thought of a mad scientist testing the effect on himself.
So I decided to try and write a story around it.
I'd love to hear what you thought of the story and the designs it brought forth!

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