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By: DarkDragon, Brandon White
Sep 24 2007 5:40pm
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            Last month’s Custom Card Contest (CCC), the August CCC, showcased some interesting possible card ideas from the community. For those of you who don’t know, PureMTGO hosts a CCC every month. This time around, entrants were tasked to make three auras. One will target you or something you control, like Holy Strength. Another will target your opponent or something he or she controls, like Pacifism. The last is ideal regardless of the target, like Followed Footsteps. Want to see how the contest went? Good. Then read ahead…
            There were a total of ten competitors in this months contest, meaning thirty card ideas were submitted. Where to begin… I’m sure many of you have heard that Magic is about taking risks. Well, that’s just what this group did. Several cards did some amazing things that just make you wish that the card was real. With minimal tweaking, many of these cards could very well be made into real cards if Wizards wants to go these directions. So let’s get on with the critiques for each of these cards. Be forewarned: this criticism does not beat around the bush; it is extremely strait-forward. As you read this, remember that this is a learning experience and the criticism is intended to improve you, the reader’s, understanding of custom card design. Additionally, the criticism tends to be negative since, while a person can say a lot about what’s wrong with something, all that can really be said for something that’s perfect is “That’s perfect!” As a result, there is also a High Points and Possible Improvements area that err more on the positive side as well. Moving on, the competitors are presented in order from last place to first place. Entries were judged for originality, spelling/templeting/grammer, playability, flavor, and appeal (being how much a person would want to use the card.)

10th Place: xing_uk developed an interesting series of auras based around poison counters.
 Faceless Devourer
Natural Immunity:
Here we have an interesting card based around slowly gaining immunity to poison, something that has not been explored before. The flavor is right on color-wise and in terms of the card’s effect. However, the card suffers from extensive wording issues. As worded, it only triggers once as khirareq noted, and a spell this expensive is not worth a 50/50 chance to remove a single poison counter. Even if it worked for every counter, it can only be used against a nearly non-existent deck-type outside of sliver poison (which would probably have you long dead before you could play this thing.), making it fairly unplayable and unappealing.
High Points: Excellent flavor here as well as an imaginative new concept.
Areas for Improvement: The most pressing thing that needs improvement is the spelling and grammar. Otherwise, this spell just needs to be costed more competitively and perhaps have an effect that doesn’t rely as much on a particular strategy. (For lack of a better example, think of Faceless Devourer. It has a nice ability specifically against shadow, but is still a 2/1 unblockable against an opponent with no shadow creatures.)
Poison Skin:
This card basically gives all creatures attacking the enchanted player poisonous 1 and prevents their damage. Again a very neat idea, though it is not as flavorful as the last. The wording on this was tricky, which led to some errors. As far as playability goes, this seems to be the type of card that only helps if you’re winning already (you have to hit them 10 times; 10 hits from a 2/X creature will normally win the game anyway.) Alternately, you’re more likely to enchant yourself where it becomes a game to see if you can avoid taking 10 instances of combat damage, which would be interesting if this were costed more competitively. I can see casual decks using this card despite the 7 mana.
High Points: Again, pretty nice flavor and a concept that could make games pretty interesting.
Areas for Improvement: Aside from spelling and such, the only major problem is likely the expensive cost.
Genetic Fault:
Yet again an original idea with name and color on the money. Again, wording issues are present. In terms of playability, this spell seems only capable of dealing with swarms of similar creatures such as in tribal. One very clever thing this card does is that it does not give the enchanted creature the cumulative upkeep, which prevents the controller of the enchanted creature from deciding not to pay the optional upkeep to spare their other creatures. It is a playable spell in tribal, though otherwise not very exciting for a 7 mana spell with a random effect that relies on the opponent to play swarm.
High Points: Once again, a very unique idea with nice flavor to it.
Areas for Improvement: Spelling and grammr need work. This has the same issue with only working against certain decktypes, making it unreliable. Also, random effects can be frustrating outside of UN-sets (I would’ve won for sure if that last coin came up heads), and with all those coins flying, the game could become strictly a game of chance.
Lessons Learned: The cost of a spell is crucial. Imagine if Damnation cost 6BBBB. Not so impressive, huh? Also, proper spelling/grammer/templeting is very important. Imagine that you’re at an interview for a secretary job, one that requires a high degree of professionalism. Say you show up in jeans, a T-shirt, and a dew rag and talk in slang. While that is perfectly fine in a casual setting, you would be expected to dress in more professional attire and speak professionally (or do poorly at the interview otherwise.) Magic cards are the same way. Using shorthand is fine on chat boards, but Magic cards need to use very formal language and grammar to get an ideal result.

9th Place: Verbage gives us some cards with intriguing effects to consider.
Bigger Fish:
This seems to be a type of pseudo-Pacifism. It’s certainly original. Its flavor, however, is far more jumbled. Firstly, how does this effect remotely relate to fish consuming one another??? The flavor text is rather unimaginative, and its mana cost is weird. Perhaps it could be a B/R/W effect, but only vaguely blue and unrelated to green. In playability this triple hybrid cost allows 70-95 percent of decks to use this card (additionally, mono- black, green, or blue, B/U, B/G, and U/G can all play it as though it were colorless) (only mono-red, white, and R/W can’t cast it at all without mana-fixing), so it might as well be an artifact. The idea of mana costs is to limit what decks can use it. This idea of near-universal usage tends to lead to overpowered cards (cites the recent Umezawa’s Jitte.)
High Point: An inventive idea, which is what makes magic interesting.
Areas for improvement: The flavor is the biggest issue here. In terms of color, make sure that the effects fit what is traditional for the colors. It is not wrong to deviate from the norm, but if you do, it has to be clearly obvious why (Birds of Paradise has flying, which is not standard for green. However, everyone knows that birds can generally fly, so it makes sense.) Further more, make sure the effect fits what is being portrayed (fish in this case.) This only becomes more difficult for complex effects, so it may help to model the effect after the flavor or vice versa. Finally consider what decks and strategies can use your card.
Wizard Warding:
This is quite an original effect. The flavor doesn’t quite line up as well and thus leaves a few questions to the die-hard story fans, but has flavor nonetheless. This is a tricky card to word and there are several instance, however, where the card is templeted incorrectly (The most crucial is that the X’s should not be symbols, just the letter “X” (see cards like Consume Spirit or Tendrils of Corruption.) Playability is hard to gauge for a card this versatile. However, the demanding triple mana cost combined with the fact that the opponent’s choices could affect its power likely makes this more like an alternate Ivory Mask combined with a R/W Hissing Miasma type effect, which would be a fair and interesting addition to the metagame.
High Points: Again, a very creative complex card.
Areas for Improvement: The only critical area for improvement here is templeting.
  Cranial Extraction
Curse of the Depths:
This is quite the card that’s open to interpretation, but is apparently a blue Cranial Extraction. In terms of originality, this is quite an idea that I would really like to see developed in the future. It’s flavor does not seem to relate to the card, but only to the blue color. To put it strait, this card completely butchered the templeting. Not only that, but this card is so confusing that nearly no one will understand it one the first read. There are several issues here that need to be addressed. Firstly, it says “chose a non-land card from target opponent.” From where? Their hand? Their library? Anywhere you want? (If this were meant to function like Cranial Extraction, it should say “Name a non-land card”) I don’t know what “That player cannot be selected again by Curse of the Depths again this round” is for, since it can only select a single target anyway. This whole effect would need to be comes-into-play as well to even trigger. Finally, why does this counter the chosen spell? Didn’t this card just remove all copies from the game anyway? On a last note, this card would need to be worded like Imperial Mask (if this isn’t a token, put a token into play.) As worded, it spawns infinite tokens and, therefore, extracts an infinite number of intended targets, making it unplayable.
High Points: This is probably one of the most original and interesting ideas in the contest.
Areas to Improve: Quadruple mana costs make cards difficult to cast, and while it isn’t wrong with a card like this, it should be used sparingly. When creating a card, it is crucial to make certain that it has a clear wording. An extra five to ten minutes would have made a huge difference. In this case, I honestly have no idea what this card is supposed to do, and all three judges appear to have come up with different ideas for this card. Remember that while, as the card’s author, you know exactly what the card does, the audience only knows as much as the text can convey, so it has to be worded to represent exactly what it does.
Lessons Learned: If you want to deviate from the standards of a color, make sure the flavor of the card justifies why. Make sure the flavor matches the effect as well. Consider what decks can use your card. Artifact and hybrid mana costs make it easier to use while triple and quadruple mana cost allow very few decks to use it. Finally the same rant I gave about spelling/templeting is equally relevant here except for templeting. It’s that important and could even lead to confusion if it has too many inconsistencies. Unless you work for Wizards, you aren’t likely on a time crunch. Just spend an extra 5 or 10 minutes just on spelling, templeting, and grammer. A lot of cards here would really stand out if the issues in this area didn’t distract the audience from the card itself.

8th Place: 53N531 has presented a variety of effects to alter what players can and can’t do.
  Dragon Roost
Spellwild Eruption:
This is a good concept. There is a lot of potential scenarios where twice a number on a card would make an interesting game. The flavor of this card seems to represent a surge of red/green power, which fits well. Playability is questionable; it may be too effective. The main issue with this card is the term “numerical instances.” What exactly is a numerical instance. Let’s say you enchant your buddy’s Dragon Roost in 2-headed giant. Does your buddy get two 10/10 dragons or one 10/10 dragon. The word “a” is considered one by the rules. Does the word “two” count even though it’s a word? Does X count. X is a variable, but represents a number. Think of cards like Mindslaver and Time Stop. Both have simple effects (“You control target player’s next turn” and “End the turn,” respectively.) But what does it mean to control someone else’s turn. You will see an italicized paragraph in parenthesis explaining this on the card. Spellwild Eruption would need such a description explaining what is and is not a numerical instance.
High Points: The flavor represents the card and its colors and this card woul make a lot of fun games.
Areas for Improvement: The playability of cards with such open-ended effects needs to be seriously considered. Also, do not assume that the audience will understand a new concept the way you do. Ambiguous effects need to be explained in reminder text.
Mana Sinks/Mana Shackles:
This type of effect has been seen before, though not in a hybrid form. The flavor is a little weird, though. One thing that seems a little strange is that Mana Shackles makes thinks cheaper and faster. Don’t shackles make things slower? There was a slight wording error as well. The main issue here is playability. This card is card advantage against you. The blue effect has no reliable applications. The red side, however, is some serious acceleration. Think: turn one Llanowar Elves, turn two mana shackles, turn three Verdant Embrace for a 4/4 that spawns 1/1 tokens,) though cards like Overgrowth can be used in this combo as well. Its power is based on if there are any decent auras or other such targeting spells that are better quicker.
High Points: A hybrid split card is something I’ve never seen before.
Areas to Improve: Remember, the flavor must relate to both the art and the effect. Also, consider the cards usefulness. Would you use it? Would anyone you know use it? What decktypes do you expect it to be used in?
Mana Stop:
This effect is certainly presented in a new way. The colors fit perfectly with the art and effect. Playability is another issue entirely. It makes all sorceries completely useless. It’s like a Voidstone Gargoyle with every sorcery in the game as the named card. Think about how good Pithing Needle is with just a single card chosen. You know that your opponent will play sorceries, so you know this will always give them a disadvantage. The only cards that Wizards has ever printed with effects even remotely close to this all lasted until end of turn or had cumulative upkeeps (see Abeyance and Brand of Ill Omen), whereas this is permanent.
High Points: Excellent flavor is used in the presentation of the card.
Areas for Improvement: When creating a card, consider if anyone would want to play it. In this case, people obviously would. Now consider if anyone would want to play against it. If practically no one does, you tend to end up with cards like Kokusho, the Evening Star or Umezawa’s Jitte.
Lessons Learned: If you introduce a new concept in your card, remember to define what it means in reminder text if it can be at all ambiguous. Also, always consider who would play your cards and how they would be used. Additionally, consider whether or not people would have fun in a game playing with or against your card.
7th Place: Lythand gives the game some cards to affect people’s hands, to help or to hurt.
 Cry of ContritionMind RotThree Tragedies
Hall of the Forgotten:
Like the game has offered many ways to draw more cards, this is a way to force extra discard, which is a neat idea. The art and flavor text fit, though the cardname seems as though it would be for a land. The playability and appeal of this card seem comparable to things like Megrim with a “win-more” feel to it. As far as the card itself goes, it turns Cry of Contrition into Mind Rot, and Mind Rot into Three Tragedies, which I believe is the intent, as the converted mana costs would be equal, and nicely executed.
High Points: A nicely presented card with no serious flaws. I can see it as a real Magic card used by the same audience that plays cards like Megrim.
Areas for Improvement: This card is an excellent piece of work. The only things that could be improved are mundane grammar errors and fine-tuning the flavor.
  Honden of Seeing Winds
Accelerated Knowledge:
The flavor on this card is classic for Magic, which is a nice touch. Like AJ_Impy noted, this is a blue Well of Knowledge that is one-sided and uses a triggered ability instead of an activated ability. Being one-sided makes it appropriately blue, and so is a nice take on this effect. As far as playability goes, it would probably see play with triggered draw effects like the blue Honden of Seeing Winds, as this is otherwise overcosted. The only major wording issue is that it should say “Enchant library you control.” Think of Spirit Loop.
High Points: Flavor is generic, but that gives it the pleasant classic feel of Magic.
Areas for Improvement: Again, just aesthetic work is needed.
Glimpse of Destruction:
This is an original idea that would be quite nice if developed further. However, as this card’s effect is more complicated, the wording suffered significantly. The flavor does not match up quite right. The name and flavor text fit the art, yet I though this was an appropriately R/B card before looking at the card’s cost, which revealed that it was U/B. This is compounded by the fact that the card’s ability is not related to blue (Revealing cards and putting them into your hand or graveyard is black, and dealing damage is generally red, but closer to black in this context.) As far as playability goes, this card doesn’t have many valid options. If you enchant an opponent’s graveyard, either you pay 3 to give them an extra card, or mill 1 from them and take substantial damage. Otherwise, you could enchant yourself. In this case, you could willingly put a card like Scion of Darkness into your graveyard to reanimate (which would deal 8 damage to you) or pay three every turn for an extra card.
High Points: This card has a wide range of possible scenarios depending on the enchanted library and the controller’s decisions, which makes for some interesting games.
Areas for Improvement: When making multicolor cards, it is important that its effect is either used in both colors or uses effects from each of its colors. As a multicolor card, it has to have a seriously good reason to deviate from the norm: either a functional reason, to relate it to other cards in a set, or because the flavor absolutely merits it.
Lessons Learned: Two of these entries had nothing functionally wrong with them, but just weren’t very flashy. Since players tend to like “cool” cards better, solid cards like these need more time spent with interesting flavor. When creating cards that do things that aren’t normal (such as a green Prodigal Sorcerer,) the author’s card has to back up the decision, either with additional effects that make the unnatural one serve a purpose that is normal for the color or a novel flavor concept. Finally, make sure that the cardname, flavor text, art, colors, and card effect are all somehow related.

6th Place: hk3family has created a group of multicolored cards to affect the board.
Deathsower’s Embrace:
This is an aura version of Wrath of God, short and simple, which is a nice idea. The flavor is kind of weird. I don’t see how the art relates to this idea. Wrath and Damnation each cost 4, are mono-colored, and have only two colored mana in their costs. That makes this far more pricy, though it does have False Demise’s ability. Even so, three colored mana symbols would probably be sufficient considering that this is an aura (maybe 1RBB.) There is one thing that doesn’t make sense. If you sacrifice your creature to wrath the field, this card would recur it with the False Demise ability (the effects would trigger at the same time giving you this option.) Since your creature would come back anyway, the wording would make more sense to say “At the end of your turn, you may sacrifice Deathsower’s Embrace. If you do, destroy all other creatures and remove Deathsower’s Embrace from the game.” There’s nothing wrong with the current wording; it just seems strange.
High Points: This card had zero Spelling/Templeting/Grammer errors. I believe this was one of the only two cards in the contest with this honor.
Areas for Improvement: Make sure the art matches the card. If you find a cool piece of art that doesn’t match, you can always use it in another card and find a more suitable piece for your current card. Also, make sure that the wording doesn’t contradict itself. Even if the card works correctly, it will still seem out of place.
  Destructive Flow
Bubbling Plague:
This is basically a one-sided Destructive Flow that can target basic land and is harder to be rid of. The flavor is dead-on. These three colors are all the land manipulation colors and the art and title fit the effect. Playability is another story. First off, it costs only 4 mana and, considering green mana-fixing can play this reliably on the curve plus the fact it can’t be destroy, it is far to cheap. It should cost 6 at the very least and probably ought to cost more. Since it comes back whether it takes a land with it or not (apparently, you have to remove it from the game. Return to Dust?), it’s far too powerful for killing a land a turn with no additional drawbacks.
High Points: This is a flavorful and appealing card. If you play land destruction, you would probably at least attempt to build a deck around it.
Areas for Improvement: Make sure that the cost of the card matches its power level. In this example, there is nothing wrong with the card; it is just too powerful with a converted mana cost this low.
Mirrored Lich/Waning Lich:
This is a type of “pinwheel” card-drawing engine. I don’t really know about the flavor; it seems rather vague. This is a truly interesting idea. With some more work, it think it would be a cool addition to the casual environment. This card suffers from some wording issues in addition to the fact that the wording itself is confusing. Realize that no matter who you enchant with this card, you always control it (Think of Freed from the Real. You decide whether to tap or untap the enchanted creature even if it isn’t yours.) Bearing that in mind, the only way to lose control of it is to deal damage to the enchanted player while it is Mirrored Lich, so if you enchant an opponent and refuse to damage them, you can draw cards to your heart’s content. It should say “that player gains control of it” after attaching Waning Lich to another player. Additonally, you could use the ability multiple times (pay 4 to draw 8 cards from Waning Lich.) It would not flip until the most recent instance resolves. This could be solved with a tap symbol.
High Points: After revising, this would be a fun casual card.
Areas for Improvement: Tap symbols ensure that effects can only be used once outside of Magewright’s Stone and whatnot. If you only want an effect to be used only once, it is probably best to use the tap symbol to be on the safe side.
Lessons Learned: Make sure that all elements of flavor match up. If you have one element that stands out, such as an amazing name, but that doesn’t make sense on the card, just save it for later. Otherwise, your card won't fit together and your cool name will be brought down by the fact that it doesn’t make sense in the context of the card. Make sure the mana cost of your card matched its power level to avoid overpowering or underpowering cards. Remember that you always control auras you cast regardless of the target unless they say otherwise. Finally, make sure that if you don’t use a tap symbol in an effect that you realize it can be used as long as the player has the resources to play it.

5th Place: Ozzymage has submitted three cards with a take on the Jackal Pup’s ability.
Jackal’s Embrace:
The static ability of this card is a throwback to the card Jackal Pup from Tempest. This card, however, is an aura instead of a creature. This flavor reference makes this a strong evocation of the original, with the idea of getting a quick power boost for one mana. In terms of playability, however, this card would probably only see play in limited in shallow card pools. As khirareq mentioned, Taste for Mayhem has a superior ability with no drawback for the same cost and is almost never used.
High Points: The flavor here is perfect. If the Jackal Pup would be made into an aura, this would be how.
Areas for Improvement: This card does not do anything terribly useful. While all cards are not necessarily designed for constructed use (this one is obviously aimed at limited), it needs to do enough to be desirable, especially as an aura that is working off a drawback. If it gave +2/+1 and the ability, for example, the increase in toughness may make it go farther by not only beefing up your creature, but making it harder to kill as well. Realize that the earliest it will likely be cast in limited is turn three since it needs a target, which will most likely be a 2-drop, and a 4/3 helps keep board position better than a 5/2, which is easier to trade weak creatures with.
Jackal Restraints:
This is a rather interesting idea, combining the jackal’s ability with preventing blocking. The flavor is a bit weird, though. First off, the artwork does not seem to relate. Why does the bird in the picture have a key? The enchanted creature shouldn’t be escaping. Also, wouldn’t a cage prevent attacking more so than blocking. As far as the ability, preventing blocking is red, meaning that the white in the cost is out of place (Think of Undying Rage.) White auras always prevent attacking and blocking together. Its ability seems kind of disjointed as well. If the creature can’t block, it is less likely to be dealt damage to transfer to the opponent. Finally, unless you enchant a defender with this or are in a stalemate, it is more likely to do nothing and be bad card advantage.
High Points: The effect combination is unique and original.
Areas for Improvement: Make sure the art fits the card. Even if the art is cool, it will take away from the card if it doesn’t match (imagine if Akroma, Angel of Wrath were a bunny in its artwork. There’s nothing wrong with bunnies, but it wouldn’t fit.) Also, make sure the abilities match the colors. Unless there is a clear reason why, it will seem inconsistent to the audience. Finally, consider how the game will be affected when your card is played. Will all of its abilities ever trigger or apply? How likely is it that a situation will occur where these abilities will make a difference?
Curse of the Jackal:
Another interesting take on a familiar effect. The flavor doesn’t make as much sense here. Does the Jackal Pup’s effect really have anything do with the rest of the card? Anyway, this card is like an expensive, aura-version Pyrohemia that either player can use. Firstly, it always damages you, functionally giving you a disadvantage by playing this since either player can use it. Why can either player use the ability? This means that if you pay enough to kill a certain creature, the opponent can then continue paying to kill whatever is left on your side of the field, not to mention they can use it to turn extra mana into damage to you so long as they don’t kill the enchanted creature with it. This card seems balanced, but undesirably given the opponent’s influence over it.
High Points: This card would lead to some rather interesting games with its level of interactivity.
Areas for Improvement: Don’t try to force a flavor concept. If it does not relate to the mechanics of the card, it will not make sense to the audience. Secondly, if either player can use your cards ability, consider the base power level of the card. Will this card still improve your position if the opponent can use it as well? Can your opponent abuse the card against you? Generally, cards that an opponent can choose the use of are not very popular (think of Dash Hopes), so there must be a legitimate reason why. Finally make sure that the drawbacks of a card do not exceed the benefits. A UU sorcery that reads “As an additional cost to play this, pay 10 life. If you do, draw a card” would be unplayable.
Lessons Learned: Make sure that a card has enough of an effect on the board to be generally usable. This includes making sure that drawbacks are only used to limit otherwise overpowered card, but not on common abilities. Finally, make sure that the flavor matches the mechanics of the card, and that the mechanics match the colors.

4th Place: councilchaos has created an interesting series of cards to improve your position
One thing I want to mention is that while councilchaos was given 6th place, that was only because of misreading the final submission date. Without that deduction, the submissions would have earned 4th place instead, so I want to recognize that achievement here for the merit-based criticism. However, as a result of the failure to submit the cards on time, there are actually five card submissions to consider. I did my grades right after the deadline, so I reviewed the original Siphon Nexus and Gaea’s Uprising while the other two judges, who graded the entries later, reviewed the revised Siphon Nexus and Quirion Overgrowth.
Siphon Nexus:
The original Siphon Nexus is like a Simic Guildmage that can target an opponent’s auras. At this point, it is overpriced since it requires three to cast, a target to enchant, two to use, and the opponent to be playing auras. The revised version is more correctly costed. At best, it will prevent the opponent from playing auras until they kill either the Nexus or the enchanted creature and, since it doesn’t change the board, makes it fair for one mana. Otherwise, it seems to be a superior take on the flagbearer ideology and the flavor fits very well what with siphoning aura power into a nexus of aura abilities.
High Points: The flavor and the mechanics fit together perfectly to make a cohesive whole and, while the card doesn’t necessarily have any offensive uses, it could have a powerful but fair effect against certain decks.
Areas for Improvement: Make sure that the cards cost corresponds to what it actually does (the revision indeed fixed this issue.) If a card does not have any effect in the majority of situations, its cost should reflect that fact. Remember that Magic does need niche effects for players who like combos.
Eye of Brimstone:
This card has a really good flavor concept. The colors match the effect perfectly, and both match the name (Brimstone is sulfur for those of you who might know it by that name.) The combination of mechanics is original, but feels proper. Playability wise, this pretty much equates to a one-sided Gluttonous Ghoul plus a Night of Souls’ Betrayal for the basement price of two mana. Gluttonous Ghoul’s ability is not worth nearly what Wizards gave it and Night of Souls’ Betrayal’s effect is permanent, so this isn’t quite that powerful, but using the two together may merit another colorless mana. I could see this as a fair cost as well since few playable creatures have 1 toughness and to make it aggressive enough to be competitive. Those who run bleed, burn, and/or pingers in these colors would love to have this printed.
High Points: Flavor really ties the card together and makes it seem like your actually playing the game with the Eye of Brimstone instead of a cardboard rectangle with the text printed on it. I can tell you I wouldn’t play Magic without flavor and there are a lot of others who wouldn’t as well. Furthermore, this card appeals to a popular decktype, is fairly unique, and fair as well.
Areas for Improvement: This card is arguably perfect. It was noted that this does a lot for two mana, but the effects are low-level enough to justify this.
  Squandered Resources
Gaea’s Uprising/Quirion Overgrowth:
Both versions of this card are mana accelerants. Naturally, a picture of a fertile forest would fit this effect, though it could be more original. In Gaea’s Uprising, the name with the card’s effect is somewhat evocative of Gaea’s Blessing, which was a nice touch. As for Quirion Overgrowth, this was evocative of several Quirion cards that can add any color mana to your mana pool. Gaea’s Blessing had an interesting ability that hasn’t been seen in this way. Its use is debatable, however. The only thing it seems to be good for is being a utility to use against decks that use the graveyard, like reanimator, in which case, it’s a green enchantment version of Withered Wretch that dies when the chosen graveyard has no cards in it, which is a decent ability. However, by the time you have threshold, wouldn’t you have all colored mana anyway in a green mana-fixing deck? If you enchant your own graveyard, you will lose threshold after returning cards down to 6 left. You could use dredge for quick threshold, but returning dredgers to your library seems the opposite of what you’d want not to mention that dredge is an underpowered decktype to begin with. As for Quirion Overgrowth, it is basically a more broken version of the broken Squandered Resources that is mono-colored, gives you far more mana, and has no restriction on what color mana you can have.
High Points: The flavor is excellent with its evocation of older cards and for fitting its ability.
Areas for Improvement: If you make an effect with a drawback that prevents it from being used immediately, ask yourself if the effect will even be useful at the point in the game where the drawback can be paid or the card gains its effect. If not, it either shouldn’t have that drawback or should have a different one. Also, when making new versions of once-broken cards, it is likely a good idea to make them weaker to avoid making your own cards broken as well.
Lessons Learned: Card costs need to correspond to their usefulness. Cards that have less of an impact on the game should not demand as much to be used. Make sure that a drawback can be reasonably paid or that a card can be played at a useful time. If a drawback prevents a card from being played at the only times where it would be useful, people won’t play the card. Also, duplicating cards in new ways is an excellent way to gauge the power level of your card. Remember that if the original erred toward the side of overpowered, your card should be weaker and vice versa. Finally, remember that deadlines are important. If you miss too many deadlines for your boss, he or she won’t be your boss much longer when you loss your job or else suffer some other penalty.

3rd Place: Jinx_Talaris offers an interesting group of cards give you a few more options.
Urza Decimal System:
 This is certainly one of the most original concepts in the contest: a colorless enchantment. While this functionally makes it an artifact, it makes sense within the flavor and mechanics of the card to be both an enchantment and colorless. The flavor text seems classic to Magic somehow as well. The effect, however, is next to useless outside of certain decks. First off, this effect can only be used once per turn since the scry would be negated by the next deck shuffle unless you had a draw engine that let you draw immediately or something that cares what the top card of your library is. The best use I can think of is in decks like Rebels. Rebels shuffle the library every time they search for another Rebel, so if a Rebel ends up on top of your library, you could put it on the bottom and draw something else since you could search out the Rebel anytime. You could use this with land searchers as well or to try to maximize the effect of cards like Undying Flames. Generally, however, considering that libraries aren’t shuffled that often, that this card doesn’t directly improve your position or give you card advantage, and that the second card in your library is still random if you don’t leave the first on top, the effect wouldn’t really end up doing much for you. Remember that if you scry 1 and leave the card, the scry didn’t do anything except give you peace of mind for your next draw. However, considering that this effect seems to be priced correctly and that it can’t reasonably be made more powerful without being too powerful, should probably remain a niche card for certain decks anyway.
High Points: The idea of making a colorless enchantment that actually made sense was novel. The card is cohesive and, while the effect is limited, it is powerful but fair where it applies.
Areas for Improvement: I actually think this card is perfect as is. This card doesn’t improve your position at all. Think of Telepathy, which does a useful thing letting you know what your opponents have ready, but it doesn’t help you to stop them, so is bad card advantage. This card is similar. However, in this case, making the scry number any higher would probably make it too powerful, so this may not be an issue with this card. While you should always consider your cards effect on the board, a card does not necessarily have to give you card advantage or board position to give you an advantage in the game, and I think this is a good example of this concept.
  Temporal Isolation
Soul's Polarity:
This card is strong with flavor, though it seems a little off. white and black would both be the colors that deal with souls and it makes sense with the effect as well. However, creatures can only block if their non-black. Not being able to block is a black ability, so why is it that only black creatures retain the ability to block? This isn’t a major problem, but seems kind of weird. The color specific concept has been used before on cards like Seize the Soul. This card retains the problem that if the opponent is playing primarily all white and/or black creatures, this card wouldn’t work as intended, and in fact has no effect on multicolored white/black creatures like the still somewhat popular Angel of Despair or cards like Teneb the Harvester that include both colors in a three-color mana cost, both of which are major threats. For this reason, players who use pacifism effects would probably use more reliable and less expensive variants like Temporal Isolation to avoid this problem.
High Points: The flavor of this card is definitely related to the colors and the effect is interesting.
Areas for Improvement: Make sure that your card’s benefits outweigh its drawbacks. Otherwise, players will find alternative cards with a similar function. This is especially important for cards like this with common abilities.
The potential for building decks around this card is amazing. As for flavor, the art fits with the cardname and abilities. As AJ_Impy noted, this name means to something to the effect of “a psychological release from sleep.” In this case, creatures are being released from the sickening sleep of death. As a word made-up from parts that most people have never heard of, they would have to look these up or ask someone who knew, but the name fits perfectly and sounds awesome as well. I’m sure a lot of people didn’t know what Phthisis meant before seeing the card, but once they found out, it really made the card seem to have even more depth. Overall, this is a very original card that I would love to see printed after certain revisions. Playability has some debatable issues, however. The primary issue is its cost. You have a choice of BBBB or 6BBB. If the intent is to force mono-black, the madness cost makes sense, but nine mana is generally outside the playable range, especially for cards that require things to happen after they’re cast. Though a powerful effect, 4BBB would probably be sufficient (think Debtors’ Knell, which even at its power level is still arguably overpriced.) The use of both Dredge and Madness makes sense what with focusing on the graveyard, and a dredge deck could trigger this often. The main thing that stands out is that the creatures do not gain haste and so can never attack using this card alone. While cited as a weakness, I believe this was intentional. If this granted haste, you could madness it out turn 4, and then Traumatize yourself turn 5 to summon like ten or fifteen powerhouses that could attack immediately. There are still options with this. You could try to summon creatures with amazing comes-into-play effects. Alternately, you could attempt to give the creatures haste yourself with something like Anger.
High Points: Very cohesive flavor and a strong incentive to build a deck around this card. It is also original and has many approaches for its use.
Areas for Improvement: Make sure that the cost of your card is playable. Even powerful cards can be overpriced. If you want the player to cast your card in an alternate way, such as madness, and to never hard-cast it, it is better to not give it a mana cost at all (Think of the cycle of suspend cards with no mana costs.)
Lessons Learned: Make sure that your card’s benefits outweigh its drawbacks such that it would be advantageous for you to play it. Furthermore, even powerful cards still have a limit to how high their mana cost can be and still be playable. The top of the playable range is popularly considered to be 6 (or 7 for extremely powerful cards.)

2nd Place: Dragonmage65 offers a group of cards that affect card advantage.
  Heartbeat of Spring
Abundant Fertility:
This is an interesting mana accelerant/mana-fixing card. The flavor of the card fits fairly well. The environment depicted looks fertile and the flavor text fits. However, I don’t see how sacrificing the land fits with the flavor, though this is a trivial issue. The playability is very controversial. Its first ability makes it a super-powered Utopia Sprawl that lets you choose what color mana you want each turn, but costs one more to cast. Its second ability requires you to give up both the Fertility and the card it enchants for its effect, which is certainly in your opponents favor for the following turn. However, the game may not last that long. We’ve seen what cards like Heartbeat of Spring can do, and this is basically a one-shot, one-sided version of it. As such, this card is probably only about as fair as the Heartbeat of Spring.
High Points: The flavor fits well and all elements of the card are well presented.
Areas for Improvement: When considering powerful abilities, it is usually a good idea to give a drawback to limit it. However, you have to consider just how powerful your ability really is. Can it be consistently used for a one-turn-kill combo? It doesn’t matter how bad the drawback is if never affects you. Like Heartbeat of Spring, it requires a lot of resources for such a combo, but card designers have to be mindful of things like this.
  Dark Ritual
Knell Probe:
This is a new and certainly original way to get the most out of discard in a deck. The art fits the abstract, psychotic style that discard has come to be known for, and the flavor text is decent as well. The playability of this card is debatable, however. On the one hand, it does not actually increase your card advantage, but rather makes your other card-advantage spells more potent. However, as AJ_Impy noted, by accelerating this out ASAP, you could target land with cheap discard like Wrench Mind to lock down your opponent immediately. Discard costed this low either gives the opponent the choice of what to discard or prevents lands from being selected, while Knell Probe allows its controller to bypass this safeguard. As such, this card should probably only allow you to select nonland cards as well to avoid being too powerful. Otherwise, I can see more casual discard based decks as wanting this card for their arsenal.
High Points: The flavor and originality of this card are both quality, and this card is a nice addition to discard decks that could use it.
Areas for Improvement: Wizards does things like preventing mana abilities from being countered, not printing land destruction spells cheaper than 3 mana, and preventing cheap discard from targeting land because such spells would too easily be able to immediately prevent the opponent for making moves, which is both overpowered and not fun to play against. As such, your card should probably avoid these things as well without a very legitimate reason for doing it, even if this ability is implicit and not directly stated.
  Followed Footsteps
Mark of Impotency:
This is a nice take on the concept of blue/black being able to both force draw and discard. The flavor doesn’t quite line up. While the art is cool, I don’t see any real relationship to the effect. Furthermore, “impotency” generally means powerlessness, which makes sense for discard, but doesn’t really match the card’s other abilities. The flavor text, however, describes perfectly what the card does. In terms of game play, this card is incredible. The number of situations and ways that this could be used makes for some varied games. Furthermore, it is competitively costed and has a potentially powerful effect. For this reason, it reminds me of Followed Footsteps which, while an incredible card, is just fragile enough to prevent brokenness, making for a balanced and fun card.
High Points: The abilities of this card allow for wide variance in game play, the effects are properly costed, and the spell is interactive, making it fun to play with and against.
Areas for Improvement: The design of the functional parts of the card is flawless. The only thing that could be improved is matching the flavor a bit better to the effect.
Lessons Learned: Make sure that the flavor of the card matches its effect for a cohesive card. Furthermore, make sure that extremely powerful abilities are properly limited and that the most game-breaking effects, such as countering mana sources, are never used without a serious reason.

1st Place: Evu gives us a set of cards that are functional and definitely useful.
  Second Wind
Enthusiasm: This card is very similar to Second Wind and Freed from the Real except that it has a triggered ability instead of an activated ability. The art and cardname both clearly fit the effect. It is correctly costed for its ability as well. The way this is worded gives pseudo-vigilance first off. Secondly, you could control an Enthusiastic Visara the Dreadful with which to control the board. However, because of the fact that this is an aura and the cost of Visara herself, combos like this remain fair, but give a good incentive to play this card.
High Points: This card is balanced and open to many possibilies.
Areas for Improvement: This card is very similar to Second Wind. While changing an activated ability to a triggered one does change its interactivity just enough to validate it, you don’t want your card to seem too much like an exact reprint of another.
This is a card exploring a concept that has not been developed much, which is giving creatures interacting with the enchanted creature an ability. The flavor is perfect. Timorousness means timidness or showing fear/hesitancy, and the art and effect reflect this well. This card probably won’t do much for you in constructed. However, I can see this as a viable option in limited, where the -1/-1 for two would have a much bigger impact and where the trample could help deal some quick extra damage. It is nice as a card that appeals to this format.
High Point: The aspects of the flavor all fit together to represent a single idea. Furthermore, the cards effects have a nice cohesion with each other.
Areas for Improvement: This card is not really playable in constructed. While all cards don’t necessarily need to be constructed-usable, this is something that must be considered when designing a card.
  Honden of Cleansing Fire
Draw Strength:
This is another style of constant life-gain similar to the popular Honden of Cleansing Fire. The flavor aspects all match up in terms of art, effect, and cardname. The simplicity and effectiveness of this card combined make it one of the most elegant and well-executed entries in this contest. Any deck that has use for life-gain or other long term game plans can use this card. By nature, life-gain is generally never overpowered because it doesn’t affect board position (except for things like Beacon of Immortality with their one-turn-kill combos.) However, life-gain is not to be underestimated. Generally, an opponent who does not play alternate win conditions will be expecting to deal 20 damage a game (or 30/40 for certain team formats.) It happens a lot more than you’d think where a deck runs out of steam after dealing heavy damage that would normally end the game, giving the life-gain player the time they need to regain control of the situation. Think about it. Enchanting a 5 mana spell with this will counter a Shock, Volcanic Hammer, and Lava Axe all in two turns.
High Points: The card makes sense in terms of flavor and is well costed for a nice take on a powerful ability. This is the other card with perfect wording.
Areas for Improvement: This card is perfect. There are no relevant improvements that could be made for this card.
Lessons Learned: Make sure not to make a functional reprint of another card to avoid repetitiveness and lack of innovation/originality. Also, when considering which format your card is targeted at, make sure it will not be too overpowered or underpowered in other formats.

So as you can see, quite a lot of interesting ideas were submitted in the August CCC. That's it for now. If you wish, you can read the boring technical rules for the wording and templeting of a card below for future reference. Otherwise, keep an eye out for the assessment of the Setember CCC, which is well underway. Also, give me your feedback on this article to verify that it is the type of thing the community is looking for.
Until next time.

Templeting and Wording 101
In Custom Card Design, it is hard to really know if you have an impressive card or not. Flavor, playability, “originality,” and “appeal” are such subjective topics and differ from person to person. As such, the success of a certain card is generally dependant on whether it is popularly received or not.
The templeting and wording of a card do not work this way. There is an established right and wrong way to do these things. There is no reason why these should ever be wrong. By presenting this aspect of card design properly, you can ensure that you card will receive a more validated and positive response because you show that you really know what is going on with card design. The following are the most common wording/templeting error found throughout this contest’s entries.
Capitalization and grammer for aura targets:
This is easily the most common error I saw in this category. In the line of text where you decide what the target of the aura is, the target is NOT CAPITALIZED. I know it seems like the target is a proper noun and should therefore be capitalized, but this isn’t the case. In fact, these terms aren’t capitalized in the text ever. This seems small, but it’s just like capitalization in standard English in terms of importance. Also, name the target right after the word “enchant.” Don’t use article-adjectives and don’t use periods after this phrase. Specify any restrictions here as well. Don’t say “Enchant creature” then say “Greenaura can only enchant green creatures.” Just say “Enchant green creature.”
Wrong: [Enchant Player], [Enchant Creature], [Enchant a library], [Enchant a card in a graveyard].
Correct: [Enchant player] [Enchant creature], [Enchant library], [Enchant card in a graveyard].
End of Turn Abilities:
When referring to the end of a turn, it is referred to like this: “Sacrifice Lava-Bringer at end of turn.” Notice that it’s just “at end of turn,” not “at the end of the turn.” Think of American Football. People refer to the midpoint of the game as “at halftime” instead of “at the halftime of the game.”
Wrong: [Sacrifice Lava-Bringer at the end of the turn.]
Correct: [Sacrifice Lava-Bringer at end of turn.]
For some reason, Magic cards all use contractions. While this would seem to make the card less formal, this is probably because contractions generally use space more efficiently.
Wrong: [Leaden Weight does not untap during its controllers untap step.]
Correct: [Leaden Weight doesn’t untap during its controllers untap step.]
Dealing Damage:
Cards that inflict damage always “DEAL” damage. Sources never “do” damage and targets never “take” damage.
Wrong: [Flaming Spikes does 2 damage to target player.], [Target creature takes 7 damage.]
Correct: [Flaming Spikes deals 2 damage to target player.], [Burnt to a Crisp deals 7 damage to target creature.]
Upkeep Abilities:
When making a trigger for an upkeep, make sure to say “at the beginning of your upkeep” or, while Wizards has never done this, “at the end of your upkeep.” If you don’t, the player can use the trigger whenever they want so long as it’s still the upkeep, which has too much grey area for practicality.
Wrong: [During your upkeep, you gain 10 life.]
Correct: [At the beginning of your upkeep, you gain 10 life.]
X Spells:
X is only used as a symbol in mana costs of some sort, whether the regular cost or a suspend cost. Otherwise (such as dealing X damage or giving creatures -X/-X) simply uses the capitalized letter X. X “is [some number]” as opposed to X “equals [some number].”
Wrong: [Frogger gets +x/+x, where x equals the number of cards in your hand.]
Correct: [Frogger gets +X/+X, where X is the number of cards in your hand.]
When a card is recurred using an effect like Dread Return, it is “returned to play” even if it was never there before. Furthermore, it is implied that creature cards in your graveyard are returned under your control. You need only say “under your control” when referring to cards in another player's graveyard. Notice as well that while in a graveyard creatures are referred to as “creature cards” instead of simply “creatures”  such as while in play.
Wrong: [Put target creature in you graveyard into play under your control.]
Correct: [Return target creature card in your graveyard to play.]
It is implied that tokens come into play under your control.
Wrong: [Put a 9/9 green Goliath creature token into play under your control.]
Correct: [Put a 9/9 green Goliath creature token into play.]
Refering to Auras and their targets:
Auras need only be referenced as auras. You shouldn’t say “aura enchantment.”
Wrong: [Destroy all aura enchantments.]
Correct: [Destroy all auras.]
When referring to the target of an aura, it is referred to as the “enchanted creature.”
Wrong: [Target creature gets +2/+2.]
Correct: [Enchanted creature gets +2/+2.]
Auras are referred to as “enchanting a creature.”
Wrong: [Destroy target aura that enchants a creature.]
Correct: [Destroy target aura enchanting a creature.]
Using “if” as opposed to “when” or “whenever”:
This is a common source of confusion. Effects should use "if" for replacement effects (which use the word instead.) If something would happen, do something else instead. "When" or "Whenever" should be used when something happens in response to a trigger, but is not being canceled and replaced with something else. When this happens, do that.
Wrong: [If Killer-Frog is dealt damage, destroy it], [When Killer-Squirrel would be destroyed, remove it from the game instead]
Correct: [When Killer-Frog is dealt damage, destroy it], [If Killer-Squirrel would be destroyed, remove it from the game instead]
Using “when” as opposed to “whenever”:
This one is tricky. In this case, "whenever" is used on cards that should be able to trigger multiple times as long as the necessary event occurs. "When" is used on cards that should only trigger once without interference (“such as when something happens, sacrifice this.”) Wizards has never done this, but it would be assumed that a card that says when where it should say whenever would unintentionally still only trigger once. In the example, while the same gravespawn could be put into a graveyard multiple times, that is only via the influence of another card (such as Dread Return.) It would only trigger once on its own.
Wrong: [When you draw a card, you gain 1 life.], [Whenever Gravespawn is put into a graveyard from play, you gain 2 life and target opponent loses 2 life.]
Correct: [Whenever you draw a card, you gain 1 life.], [When Gravespawn is put into a graveyard from play, you gain 2 life and target opponent loses 2 life.]
Using “has” as opposed to “gets”:
This is another confusing specific. When altering a creature’s stats, you use "gets". When adding abilities, you use "has".
Wrong: [Enchanted creature gets trample and “R: This creature deals 3 damage to target player.”], [Enchanted creature has -7/-7.]
Correct: [Enchanted creature has trample and “R: This creature deals 3 damage to target player.”], [Enchanted creature gets -7/-7.]
Using “owner” as opposed to “controller”:
This isn’t as set in stone as some other rules. A card in play can be referred to either by its owner or its controller. However, a card that isn’t in play must be referred to by its owner, since it isn’t controlled at that time. Think of Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir.
Wrong: [Put the top card of enchanted library into its controller’s hand.]
Correct: [Put the top card of enchanted library into its owner’s hand.]
Triggers causes by discarding, drawing, etc.:
In this case, the term “causes” is used.
Wrong: [Whenever a spell or ability allows you to draw a card, you gain 1 life.]
Correct: [Whenever a spell or ability causes you to draw a card, you gain 1 life.]
Poison counters:
Poison counters use a language of their own. Players “get” poison counters and “loss” poison counters instead of putting and removing as with normal counters.
Wrong: [Put a poison counter on target player.], [Remove a poison counter from target player.]
Correct: [Target player gets a poison counter.], [Target player loses a poison counter.]
Preventing Damage and triggers based on targeting:
To make your card prevent damage, it must stop it before it is dealt. As a result, you must say to prevent damage that “would be dealt.”
Wrong: [Prevent the next 5 damage dealt to target creature.]
Correct: [Prevent the next 5 damage that would be dealt to target creature.]
Following a similar idea, effects that trigger when a card becomes a target say, specifically, “becomes the target of a spell or ability.”
Wrong: [When a spell targets Imaginative Illusion, sacrifice it]
Correct: [When Imaginative Illusion becomes the target of a spell, sacrifice it.]
The word “discard” means that it is understood that the player targeted gets the choice. You should never need to say “discards a card of his or her choice.”
Wrong: [Target player discards 5 cards of his or her choice.]
Correct: [Target player discards 5 cards.]
Triggers upon shuffling:
Cards that trigger upon shuffling would theoretically need only say “When a library is shuffled” since this would imply the complete process from beginning to end, though Magic has printed no cards to my knowledge with such a trigger to reference.
Wrong: [When a library is finished being shuffled, draw a card.]
Correct: [When a library is shuffled, draw a card.]
When creating an ability that triggers upon blocking, you do not need to say “blocks another creature.” This is implied. You would only specify what’s being blocked if it’s specific (“blocks a zombie,” for example.) Furthermore, if the effect is referring to the blocked creature, you use “all creatures blocked by” as opposed to “the blocked creature” realizing that some creatures can block multiple enemies.
Wrong: [Whenever Darksteel Bulldozer blocks another creature, the blocked creature gets -1/-1.]
Correct: [Whenever Darksteel Bulldozer blocks, all creatures blocked by Darksteel Bulldozer get -1/-1.]
Referring to colored mana symbols:
When referring to colored mana symbols in a card’s converted mana cost, you would say “the number of colored mana symbols in that card’s mana cost.” You say “mana cost” instead of “converted mana cost” because the latter refers to a number while the former refers to the cost itself.
Wrong: [You gain life equal to the amount of colored mana in target permanent’s converted mana cost.]
Correct: [You gain life equal to the number of colored mana symbols in target permanent’s mana cost.]
Referencing your card or player specifically:
When the reference of a pronoun is ambiguous, the intended reference should be specifically stated.
Wrong: [Each other creature that shares a color with it gets +2/+7.]
Correct: [Each other creature that shares a color with enchanted creature gets +2/+7.]
Run-on Sentences:
This is just standard grammar here, but when you get to the end of a clause, you need a comma to separate it from the main sentence. Complete sentences need separation by periods. Here’s an example that resembled some entries.
Wrong: [At the beginning of your upkeep Overburner deals 5 damage to target creature, this damage can’t be prevented.]
Correct: [At the beginning of your upkeep, Overburner deals 5 damage to target creature. This damage can’t be prevented.]
Remeber to Proofread!


by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 09/26/2007 - 14:28
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

I got so nauseated by the author's (warranted) critiques of grammar and orthography when his own was atrocious as well.

Some misspellings from the author: "strait-forward" (also, why the hyphen?), "templeting" (multiple instances of this error), "grammer" (multiple instances), "grammr", "dew rag" (to be fair: 1,200 hits on google but "do rag" would have garnered over 10,000), "it's flavor" (for Curse of the Depths), "to put it strait", "chose [instead of "choose"] a non-land...", "yet I though this was...", "far to cheap," "it can't be destroy", "it think it would be a cool"

Some grammar issues noted are: missing commas, missing apostrophes, missing spaces, missing capitalization, many missing question marks, periods ending parenthetical comments which aren't full sentences, extraneous hyphenation, and inccorect accusative formation of who [whom].

Use the 'Find' function to locate the errors.  These occurred in just the first half of the article.  Normally, I overlook these, but given how much the author was badgering the submissions, I couldn't pass over sentences like: "Also, proper spelling/grammer/templeting is very important."

I guess I'll go read the second half of the article now.

Enthusiasm by folcojp (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 09/25/2007 - 11:15
folcojp (Unregistered)'s picture

"This card is very similar to Second Wind."

Actually this card is far better, you can untap it on your turn and on your opponent turn. :) 

by Ozzymage (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 09/25/2007 - 14:23
Ozzymage (Unregistered)'s picture

"Firstly, it always damages you, functionally giving you a disadvantage by playing this since either player can use it. Why can either player use the ability?"


i messed up the wording a little. it was supposed to deal damage to the enchanted creature's controller. oh well. i'll have to pay closer attention next time. 

Not really. by iceage4life (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 09/25/2007 - 13:07
iceage4life (Unregistered)'s picture

"'This card is very similar to Second Wind.'

Actually this card is far better, you can untap it on your turn and on your opponent turn. :) "

 Yeah too bad it can't shut down an enemy creature... Which is what Second Wind does 90% of the time (in limited).

by folcojp at Tue, 09/25/2007 - 13:50
folcojp's picture

we agree then that they arent too similar... :)

double post by folcojp at Tue, 09/25/2007 - 13:51
folcojp's picture

cant figure how to erase this... :S

Just some quick notes by jinx_talaris at Tue, 09/25/2007 - 14:03
jinx_talaris's picture

Definitley enjoyed the article.  Very nice to see in depth analysis on our own work.  Makes us feel...important :)

Quick note about a couple of my cards:
Soul's Polarity was meant to have that sort of "opposite" effect as noted by the flavor text.  Just did it for originality purposes.

I do believe "When a library is shuffled" would be the wording WotC would use if they ever printed such an effect as you noted in the 101 section.

So glad that someone bothered to research the name on Narcocatharsis.  I do try to put every bit of creativity into a card and it usually starts with the title.

Great work again.  I feel the future CCC's will have a lot more (and better) competition after prior competetors and newcomers alike read this.

Waning Lich by hk3family at Tue, 09/25/2007 - 09:38
hk3family's picture

Just as an FYI, on Waning Lich... the ability says to only play that ability as a Sorcery... so you couldn't just pay [4] to draw 8 cards... you pay [1] draw 2 cards... and then it flips... before you can activate it again... seriously dropping its power level... and it DOES say, "that player gains control of it"... other than that, I don't have any disputes with anything :)


As always, a learning experience :D 

by Evu at Tue, 09/25/2007 - 10:57
Evu's picture

DarkDragon, thanks for all the thought and effort you put into judging the contest and writing this article.  Thanks also for the high praise for my cards!

I don't think that any of my cards would see play in tournament-level Constructed -- and, as runeliger pointed out, most cards don't -- but I think that all of them could see play in Limited or casual Constructed.

In retrospect, Timorousness could probably go down to a single mana and still be fair.

My biggest regret about my entries is that the art for Enthusiasm really isn't appropriate for a blue card.  It would be just fine on, say, a red card with the same name and effect, although giving red that mechanic would be a bit out of flavor.  I also considered making the card white, and this art would have fit a little better in that case.  If I could have found something like a picture of a scientist working late into the night on an experiment, that would have been a better fit for blue.

My favorite card from this month is probably jinx_talaris' "Urza Decimal System".  Triggering on a library being shuffled is an interesting and largely unexplored area of design space, and the effect is certain to be useful at the time.  It may not affect the board, but it's subtly powerful, with increasing returns as the game lasts longer.  But I'm not big on the idea of a colorless enchantment, which is mechanically hardly any different from an artifact.  I might have preferred it as either a blue or white enchantment, or else as an artifact that only affects its controller and their library.

by dragonmage65 at Tue, 09/25/2007 - 00:12
dragonmage65's picture

I don't think he's necessarily referring to competitive constructed alone. I wouldn't play the card even in a casual game, it just isn't very good for what it does.

Overall, an excellent article. It was interesting to hear the judges' opinions, so thank you.

DarkDragon's picture

Remember that cards were judged for these five criterions: Originality, Spelling/Templeting/Grammer, Playability, Flavor, and Appeal. For the card in question, Timorousness, it is noted that it is not very usable in constructed. This counts against the card in terms of appeal in that people may not like a card that has such a limited range of uses; the score for playability was minimally affected. This is to say that Timorousness could be improved by making it somewhat more viable in other formats. It is not absolutely wrong to make a card targetted for a specific format, but it will be more popular if it has other applications. For a recent example, refer to Dread from Lorwyn previews, which is for those unfamiliar with it a 6/6 creature with fear costing 3BBB with this ability: “Whenever a creature deals damage to you, destroy it.” This is obviously ideal for free-for-all matches, but can still be used outside of that format. This is objectively a superior design than one that is only usable by those who play in free-for-all formats, but by no one else so far as designing a more popular card is concerned, and so would be something to consider for future improvement.

Very Nice by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Mon, 09/24/2007 - 18:07
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

I have to say this is probably one of the best articulated articles I have read on MTGO. Very impressive ideas and break downs, I especially appreciate the writers knowledge and ability to provide constructive criticism.

Good article by runeliger at Mon, 09/24/2007 - 21:56
runeliger's picture

A nice read, a lot of those cards cannot be played simply on a few basis, but I just wanted to point out one thing, "This card is not really playable in constructed. While all cards don’t necessarily need to be constructed-usable, this is something that must be considered when designing a card." That's what you said was needed to be approved for Timorous. That's a completely wrong statement, and if that's really the only thing that needs to improve, it's fine the way it is. The majority of cards you ever seen in magic will not be constructed playable, something you admit to as well, therefore this card not being constructed playable shouldn't be labeled as an area for improvement.