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By: Evu,
Feb 08 2008 1:07am
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The Contest

Each month, PureMTGO users run a card design contest in this site's forums. This article contains the entries, along with the judges' scores and commentary, for the January 2008 contest.

Before we start, some quick links: PureMTGO's monthly Custom Card Contest takes place in the Custom Cards forum. We use the Magic Set Editor software to bring our cards to life (no Photoshop skills required!). Here are January's threads for submissions (including results) and discussion.

In this month's contest, competitors were asked to design a common creature with a comes-into-play ability. A comes-into-play ("CIP") ability is a triggered ability that happens when the card enters play, such as the abilities printed on Wood Elves or Highway Robber.

Perhaps the most difficult part of this challenge was making the card acceptable as a common. Though this contest was inspired by the Pauper format, in which only commons are legal, contestants did not have to design with Pauper in mind (since, after all, Wizards of the Coast doesn't either). They did, however, have to design for Limited environments, i.e. Booster Draft and Sealed Deck, which are the primary considerations when assigning rarities.

Commons are the cards that players will see most often, especially in Limited, but probably also in casual Constructed games. For this reason, it's important that they be easy to "splash", not tax your mana or other resources too much, not change the rules of the game too dramatically, and be limited in the scope of their effects. They are also most players' first introduction to the new mechanics or themes in their set, so it's important that they be easy to understand, and not lend themselves to complicated play situations.

Designing a card that keeps within these restraints while still being balanced and interesting is tougher than it may seem. Our contestants had their work cut out for them!

The Scoring

A panel of three judges graded each card on a scale from 0 to 10 in each of five categories, for a possible total of 50 points per card. The categories were as follows:

  • Originality measured whether the card design was fresh and/or clever. Had it been done before? Was it too obvious?
  • Templating measured whether the card, as submitted, conformed to the rules of Magic card writing and the English language.
  • Balance took stock of whether the card was strong enough to be worth playing, and also whether it was too strong.
  • Flavor examined the card in the context of a fantasy game. Did its name and art match its mechanic? Was it in the right color?
  • Appeal asked the question, would anybody actually want to play this card? Would the set, or any given format, be better for having this card in it?

As usual, this month's judging panel was made up of the winners of the previous month's contest. Comments in black text like this are my own (Evu). Comments in red italics are by Pyrosin. Comments in green italics are by DiesIrae, who, it should be noted, suffered a hand injury partway through the judging, and thus didn't comment on all of the entries in the interest of time. My thanks go out to both of my fellow judges for the significant amounts of time and effort they put into judging this competition, which featured a record total of 53 entries!

A brief note about interpreting scores: this month, since part of the rules were that the entries had to be common, it was important that cards that were well or poorly suited for that rarity be rewarded or penalized as appropriate. I put a lot of thought into which scoring category was best used for that purpose. I first considered Balance, thinking that a card's rarity is primarily determined by its mechanics, and that printing cards at inappropriate rarities can lead to an "unbalanced" format. But I eventually decided to use Appeal, thinking that the real problem with overreaching effects at common is that they make a format less fun to play. Looking at my fellow judges' scores and commentary, it seems that they both used the Balance category for this purpose. Either of these choices is reasonable, and it doesn't affect a card's overall score. But the numbers below might seem strange if you didn't know about the judges' different scoring methods.

The Cards

Lord Erman

Stinger Faerie

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 2 9 6 7 6 30
Pyro 1 8 8 7 6 30
DI 8 10 9 8 7 42
Avg 3.7 9 7.7 7.3 6.3 34

Evu says:

A fair creature and a good try at something that's intricate without being too complicated, but this design suffers from the fact that it's strictly worse than Pestermite, which is a fine card but hardly broken.

Pyrosin says:

It's Pestermite, but a lot more restrictive. Same cost, same P/T, but you can't use it on your opponent's turn to tap down an attacker or at the end of their turn to tap down a blocker for your next turn. What's the point of Flash then? You removed the best part of Pestermite.

Executioner

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 8 8 7 7 9 39
Pyro 6 10 2 9 7 34
DI 7 10 6 8 7 38
Avg 7 9.3 5 8 7.7 37

Evu says:

This is exactly what common mass removal spells tend to look like: clumsy, but capable of getting the job done. I think there should be at least one such card per block at a minimum. I'm worried that this might be a little overpowered... a higher price or maybe a lower power might be an improvement.

Pyrosin says:

There's only one black common creature with Flash; Drudge Reavers, which makes me think that Flash isn't really a black ability. Flash is a Blue/Green ability and partially in White with the condition to return another creature to your hand. This card is too overpowered for a common. In the best case scenario it could be a one sided Wrath of God/Damnation, and at worse it's a removal spell without the color/type restrictions that are usually found on spells like Terror or Eyeblight's Ending.

Seer of Visions

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 8 9 4 6 8 35
Pyro 7 6 3 5 3 24
DI 9 9 9 8 8 43
Avg 8 8 5.3 6.3 6.3 34

Evu says:

Our first mulitcolored card. Multicolor at common is pretty much unheard-of in normal blocks, but of course it's perfectly acceptable in blocks like Invasion or Ravnica where multicolor is the theme, so I judged all of the multicolored entries in that context. This looks to be its block's version of Izzet Chronarch. A high pick in Limited. My main objection is that, in the algebra of Magic card abilities, two damage is usually equivalent to one card, not two -- see Electrolyze or Sword of Fire and Ice, for example.

Pyrosin says:

Way too complicated for a common. Looking at the bottom of the library, then having a modular effect if the condition is met; that's too much. Card doesn't say what you do with it after you look at it. Do you put it back? Put it in the graveyard? Do you shuffle your library? I don't like the idea that if you just put the back on the bottom then the ability of multiple Seer of Visions would either all work or all not work without further library manipulation.

councilchaos

Tourach's Cryptkeeper

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 8 10 7 8 6 39
Pyro 3 10 9 5 6 33
DI 7 10 9 8 9 43
Avg 6 10 8.3 7 7 38.3

Evu says:

It's the wrong kind of two-for-one in terms of card advantage, but if you put it in your deck, you probably know what you're doing. The homage to Hymn to Tourach works well, I think.

Pyrosin says:

Card seems balanced, printable, and simple enough to be common. A Ravenous Rats variant that would work in Mono B Suicide. The only thing I don't like is the random discard part. MaRo says, "[Random] discard has fallen out of favor in R&D. While we still make them every once in a while, they're rather rare. Why? Because experience showed us that random discard tended to really annoy players." I agree with this sentiment. The idea that this guy could come down on Turn one and strip that second land out of your hand really bugs me.

DiesIrae says:

Playing this card on the first turn in a multiplayer game is probably a bad idea, which means I would try it if it existed.

Soltari Drill Instructor

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 8 9 9 7 6 39
Pyro 5 8 5 4 4 26
DI 7 9 8 8 8 40
Avg 6.7 8.7 7.3 6.3 6 35

Evu says:

I really like the balance on this one; it seems like a good pick in Limited -- an evasive attacker on its own, plus a way to get your big monster through once.

Pyrosin says:

Looks a lot like Spirit en-Dal, a Future Sight Uncommon. And I think this card is better than Spirit en-Dal. The comes into play ability basically says, "Target creature is unblockable this turn." With an unblockable 2/2 for only 4 mana, this card seems undercost at common in White. I wouldn't want to see a lot of this guy running around in limited. I think this card could see print, but belongs at uncommon.

DiesIrae says:

Nitpick: "Gets Shadow" should be "Gains Shadow".

Vine Elemental

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 3 10 6 6 5 30
Pyro 4 10 2 9 2 27
DI 8 10 7 8 9 42
Avg 5 10 5 7.7 5.3 33

Evu says:

This is really more of a red ability nowadays, and this card is probably strictly better than its red counterpart, Akki Rockspeaker. I like the symmetry better, though: it's kind of like a cantrip, but with mana instead of cards. Good for Storm decks.

Pyrosin says:

It is balanced and its common. It is printable, but underpowered. Not very exciting.

Quipp

Gold's Fool

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 9 2 8 4 30
Pyro 3 1 2 9 5 20
DI 9 9 6 9 8 41
Avg 6.3 6.3 3.3 8.7 5.7 30.3

Evu says:

Transguild Courier is the only precedent for a card that's all colors, and that was uncommon. But the Changeling ability in Lorwyn, which was thematically similar, was printed at all rarities, and I don't see how it would be problematic as a set mechanic. What I don't like about this card is how it's all colors, but then not all colors. If the "this is all colors" ability were made into a keyword, that might seem a little less weird. As it is, it's just confusing, and commons, since they're most players' first experience with a new mechanic, should be the least confusing cards in a set. More than that, though, the biggest problem with this card is that, as a rule, only green gets one-mana creatures that can make more mana repeatedly (like Llanowar Elves).

Pyrosin says:

The templating is confusing. So it's all colors in your hand, but then becomes a color of your choice when it comes into play? It provides color fixing and mana acceleration for every color on turn 1. It's basically Birds of Paradise for everyone. That's too strong.

Fight Fixer

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 10 7 6 6 36
Pyro 7 10 7 5 4 33
DI 9 10 9 9 9 46
Avg 7.7 10 7.7 6.7 6.3 38.3

Evu says:

An appropriate effect for common. I don't think that the CIP effect works quite as intended, though. If you're involved in the combat, then one part of the ability is unnecessary -- you could easily choose how you want to attack or block, without Fight Fixer making it mandatory. The ability could be a modal choice. In a multiplayer game, where you're not involved in the combat, if you madness out Fight Fixer before attackers are declared, the attacking player can probably choose to attack a player other than the controller of the creature that was forced to block, so again, only one part of the ability would actually ever matter. This mechanic is a great way to encourage creature combat, and I like how putting it at common would subtly increase the value of combat tricks like Giant Growth in the environment; it just needs some re-thinking in order to work well.

Pyrosin says:

There really isn't anything black about this card. It's a red ability. And I don't understand why it has madness.

Quick Study

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 8 8 10 3 36
Pyro 8 8 1 9 7 33
DI 8 9 9 7 8 41
Avg 7.7 8.3 6 8.7 6 36.7

Evu says:

Not only has split second never appeared at common, but I don't think that "the next spell you play this turn" effects (Quicken, Scout's Warning, etc.) have ever appeared below rare. Split second is a somewhat controversial mechanic as it is; handing it out to any spell that needs it, perhaps multiple times per game, might not be very fun. But aside from the rarity issue, this is a card worth printing, and probably fairly costed.

Pyrosin says:

Split second on a common. No.

MechtaK

Troop Reserves

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 10 4 5 8 34
Pyro 7 10 2 10 7 36
DI 8 10 8 7 7 40
Avg 7.3 10 4.7 7.3 7.3 36.7

Evu says:

Giving this creature an extra +0/+1 over Whitemane Lion would seem to imply that the fact that it's required to return to hand every time you play a new creature is a drawback, but I don't see it that way. This is a card that will let you replay Mulldrifter, Flametongue Kavu, or Blind Hunter endlessly, and that's pretty powerful -- more so than a 2/2 with flash. It's not necessarily broken -- compare Crystal Shard -- I'm just saying I don't think the cost is right.

Pyrosin says:

The loops this could set up would be really annoying to play against, seems to make it really powerful. The flavor of the card is great. But I would change it so it read, "return another creature you control," just so you can't keep bouncing it by itself to set off some other trigger.

Orc Sparker

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 9 10 8 10 6 43
Pyro 8 10 2 9 8 37
DI 7 10 7 7 7 38
Avg 8 10 5.7 8.7 7 39.3

Evu says:

A good, flavorful, original idea for a creature that can be useful both early and late. In the late game, though, it's a lot like Bond of Agony, and even though it's more expensive, I don't know if it's safe to have something like that running around at common.

Pyrosin says:

Another really powerful card. I would not want to see how many limited games this would just end. That's why cards like Orcish Artillery deal 2 damage to target and 3 damage to you. It has got to hurt you more for repeated damage effects.

Wandering Dryad

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 8 9 6 8 7 38
Pyro 7 10 9 7 5 38
DI 8 10 7 8 7 40
Avg 7.7 9.7 7.3 7.7 6.3 38.7

Evu says:

When you consider that even getting Forestwalk on a 2/2 usually costs at least 3 mana (see Leaf Dancer), getting a landwalk ability that's guaranteed to be relevant for a lower price seems unbalanced. The idea is good, but going down to 2/1, and/or changing it to be a basic land type you control, might be fairer.

Pyrosin says:

Solid card. I don't know if it would be common, because it basically says, "this creature is unblockable." It's better than Dryad Sophisticate, which was uncommon. It would be a great addition to any green aggro/midrange deck.

Scartore

Demented Sage

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 8 9 6 8 7 38
Pyro 7 10 9 7 5 38
DI 7 10 8 7 7 39
Avg 7.3 9.7 7.7 7.3 6.3 38.3

Evu says:

A great idea for a black counterpart to Sage Owl, but in a color where a two-mana 2/1 without any abilities (like Krovikan Scoundrel) can be considered playable in draft, I think this might be a little over the top. Mirroring Sage Owl more closely, perhaps by making Demented Sage a 1/1 with Flying or Fear, might have worked a little better. Alternatively, go down to three cards instead of four -- not a bad idea anyway, since denying your opponents good draws is probably better than ensuring your own.

Pyrosin says:

The card ability isn't black, it's blue. When black looks at the library it does so to remove something, such as Thoughtpicker Witch does. So to make it black, I think the card should say, "When CARDNAME comes into play, you may look at the top four cards of target opponent's library, remove one of those cards from the game, then put the remaining cards back in any order."

Springing Netvine

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 9 7 9 10 7 42
Pyro 6 10 3 1 2 22
DI 8 9 9 8 7 41
Avg 7.7 8.7 7 6.3 5.3 35

Evu says:

The Evoke mode is Crossbow Ambush from Stronghold, so that seems fair, not to mention long overdue for a reprinting. The extra body for the extra cost also seems balanced. Great name and flavor, too. I guess my biggest criticism of this card is that it could stand to be a little more exciting -- 0/3s don't tend to get combat kills. That's a minor quibble, though, about a card that I think would still be playable as printed.

Pyrosin says:

The card is overcosted at 2G. We get Wall of Roots or Wall of Blossoms for 1G at common. It's a purely defensive card that can't even kill any flyers on its own. Flavor wise, evoke doesn't make a lot of sense on a plant.

RUNCH

Vision Seer

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 6 9 10 7 8 40
Pyro 6 10 9 5 4 34
DI 7 10 7 7 7 38
Avg 6.3 9.7 8.7 6.3 6.3 37.3

Evu says:

Not to be confused with "Seer of Visions" from earlier in the contest, this Vision Charm on legs (minus the most peculiar mode) is a good example of how to make a blue creature interesting without making it superior to its peers in other colors. One of these can help provide some temporary color-fixing in a color where it's hard to come by. Pick up two or three, and your blue control deck just might manage to mill an opponent out -- or you could make some targets for your black reanimation spells. Mind the templating, though: Vision Charm has received updated Oracle text, and this card should have followed suit.

Pyrosin says:

The two options don't seem to relate in any way. I don't like how you could play this guy during your opponent's upkeep to turn all their lands into the wrong color so they can't play anything. That would be annoying.

Chezrel's Acolyte

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 3 9 5 6 6 29
Pyro 2 4 9 8 7 30
DI 8 10 7 8 8 41
Avg 4.3 7.7 7 7.3 7 33.3

Evu says:

Unfortunately, this is just a weaker Elvish Pioneer. If it just said "you may put a forest card from your hand into play", then it would be different enough to be worth printing -- in fact, I'd be curious to see whether it showed up in Constructed decks. I went through a couple of stages of confusion about the flavor here that I think are instructive. First I thought, "Why does the art depict Chezrel herself, rather than her Acolyte, for whom the card is named?" Then I decided that technically we didn't know who the art depicted, and only after that did I realize that the source of my confusion was that I had mistakenly understood the flavor text to be spoken by the acolyte, about Chezrel, instead of the other way around. Why did I think that? I think the reason is because the tone of the quote is one of admiration. Is it impossible for a person to admire their own acolyte? No, but it is unexpected: the word "acolyte" implies that the admiration is going in the opposite direction. And the amount of space available to convey flavor on Magic cards is so small that, most of the time, it's best to exploit people's preconceptions, rather than challenge them, so as to communicate more meaning in less space.

Pyrosin says:

It's Elvish Pioneer, but more restrictive. I don't think the templating is correct, you just have to say, "forest," and not, "a basic land card named forest."

Volcanic Range

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 10 8 2 7 3 30
Pyro 9 10 5 10 4 38
DI 9 9 6 9 8 41
Avg 9.3 9 4.3 8.7 5 36.3

Evu says:

I suppose an Enchantment Land isn't that much weirder than an Enchantment Creature, which we saw at common in the Future Sight set. But just like Lucent Liminid, I'm left wondering why this card needs to have two normally incongruous types. Wouldn't this card function pretty much the same if it were just an enchantment? Is the vulnerability to land destruction worth the added complexity? My vote is no. More importantly, though, this card seems like a massive tempo swing. I don't think of myself as one of the rabidly anti-LD players you often hear in the casual room, but I don't get the thought process by which somebody can look at Stone Rain and say, "This is good, but it should really stay around and accelerate your own mana too."

Pyrosin says:

I love the flavor of this card. You make a volcano erupt somewhere, destroying the landscape that was there. I just don't know if it should be an enchantment land. I see where you're going with it. After creature and artifact, enchantment is the only non-land permanent type left. It just doesn't feel enchantment-y. Can the rules support it being a land alone with a casting cost? I don't know.

Verbage

Ember Raven

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 8 9 5 7 2 31
Pyro 6 1 1 2 1 11
DI 8 9 6 8 8 39
Avg 7.3 6.3 4 5.7 3.7 27

Evu says:

Night of Souls' Betrayal just has the "All creatures get -1/-1" part, and that by itself is enough to put it up to rare. I get that this creature kills itself when it comes into play (barring any help from some other source), which means it's effectively like a more complex version of Hideous Laughter -- but that's an uncommon. Any way you look at it, this card is too complicated, and too sweeping an effect, to be common. Well-chosen art, though, with colors that reflect the card's name and its mana cost.

Pyrosin says:

First ability: The templating is not correct, it should read more like Pyroclasm. Second ability: You won't have a Night of Souls' Betrayal ability on a common. Besides, doesn't it just die to itself when it comes into play? Very confusing.

Stitched Remains

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 9 5 4 4 2 24
Pyro 7 2 2 3 2 16
DI 9 9 7 9 9 43
Avg 8.3 5.3 4.3 5.3 4.3 27.7

Evu says:

Again, the existing card that this seems most similar to is a rare: Grave Pact. Cards that so dramatically change the dynamics of the game shouldn't be constantly popping in and out of play in Limited. I also wonder about the Sacrificial keyword: why does it have "half-shroud" attached to it? Maybe it's needed for balance reasons, but I'd still be inclined to write that text out separately. The originality here is undeniable, but it could have been put to better use on another card, in another contest.

Pyrosin says:

The keyword is very confusing and complex. Too complex for a common, if your opponent has no creatures out, then they can never get one on the board.

Keshian Angel

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 7 5 7 6 32
Pyro 7 2 3 1 2 15
DI 9 10 8 9 8 44
Avg 7.7 6.3 5.3 5.7 5.3 30.3

Evu says:

Does Mana Siege really have enough depth to get its own keyword? The two multicolored blocks we've seen so far have had plenty of color-fixing, but never so much of the same kind that it needed to be keyworded. I also wonder whether the CIP ability makes this card worth the extra (specifically-colored) mana over its close cousin Silhana Starfletcher. A good fit for common, though, and again, well-chosen art that picks up on the card's name, cost, and "angel" type.

Pyrosin says:

It's an angel, but it doesn't have flying. Flavorwise that's a big No No. This is another complex card. Too much stuff going on for a common. Is mana siege supposed to be mana acceleration or mana fixing? It feels like trying to play something with convoke, but having to pay four mana in order to use the convoke ability on your next spell.

authenticsimpsonian

Androit Diverter

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 8 8 8 8 8 40
Pyro 5 10 9 5 7 36
DI 6 9 8 7 7 37
Avg 6.3 9 8.3 6.7 7.3 37.7

Evu says:

Skyknight Legionnaire, plus two mana for the CIP ability, which is very much in-color, and useful for an aggressive Limited deck. A well-designed common. But even monocolored cards can do better than 2/2 and flying for five mana. Maybe it would be safe to go up to 3/2?

Pyrosin says:

Feels very Boros. It's Skyknight Legionnaire plus for two extra mana you get to tap two potential blockers. Looks like it would be a strong limited card that could definitely printed as a common.

DiesIrae says:

I think AuthenticSimpsonian meant Adroit, but since it's in the name it could also be the name of a place, so I might be mistaken.

Exotic Guide     [3rd Place!]

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 8 9 8 7 8 40
Pyro 8 10 9 7 6 40
DI 7 10 8 7 8 40
Avg 7.7 9.7 8.3 7 7.3 40

Evu says:

Authenticsimpsonian pointed out in his submission post that this card is like a reverse Fierce Empath, but it reminds me more of Aurochs Herd. By either standard, it's probably a reasonable card. A great way for green to get a little card advantage in Draft without doing anything broken, or tutor up a silver bullet in Constructed.

Pyrosin says:

This card is an interesting take on green's ability to tutor for creatures. Certainly works as a common. Tutors are powerful when they're cheap. At six mana this would be another nice limited card.

draco36

Crude Golem

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 8 9 6 4 34
Pyro 4 10 2 4 6 26
DI 7 7 7 7 7 35
Avg 6 8.3 6 5.7 5.7 31.7

Evu says:

The card seems fair, but I have to wonder what the CIP ability is supposed to accomplish. If the set is full of artifact creatures, then it could reliably let you sneak past a big blocker for one turn, but if not, the artifact you tap -- if it's not the Golem itself -- can probably be activated in response, and will untap again soon enough anyway.

Pyrosin says:

The "comes into play" ability will not be relevant in most cases. And a 5/5 for 6 is way too good for each color to have access to it. Only green gets big vanilla common creatures with no drawbacks at this cost.

Stealthy Strategist

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 8 8 7 6 36
Pyro 7 10 8 8 6 39
DI 8 10 9 9 8 44
Avg 7.3 9.3 8.3 8 6.7 39.7

Evu says:

Comparing this card to its closest analogue, Mesmeric Sliver, it seems like it's pushing the envelope. On the other hand, Mesmeric Sliver was a pretty firm 14th pick in TPF draft, so maybe the envelope can stand a little pushing. What I like most about this design is that it's so hard to give blue creatures useful abilities that don't involve card advantage, but this solves that problem nicely.

Pyrosin says:

Feels very blue. Nothing overly exciting, but it's a solid common.

DiesIrae says:

Simple and effective, which I think is great for a common.

Slime Growth

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 8 10 9 4 6 37
Pyro 6 7 7 3 4 27
DI 8 10 7 9 8 42
Avg 7.3 9 7.7 5.3 6 35.3

Evu says:

This effect immediately reminded me of Torment's Nantuko Cultivator, which is rare, but in this case you don't get to draw new cards. Does that difference make this card okay at common? My main concern is that you probably wouldn't want to run more than one copy in your Limited decks -- how often are you going to want to discard a bunch of excess cards? Uncommon might be a better fit. Also, what's blue about this? Seems green and/or black to me. I do like the effect, though, and the mana cost seems fair.

Pyrosin says:

I guess this would work with the Simic guild, but we already had that set. The Wild Mongrel ability was overly powerful because of the set it was in and the mechanics it enabled. This card on its own is rather unexciting.

SillyMagician

Flickering Theurge

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 8 10 7 9 41
Pyro 2 10 3 5 4 24
DI 9 10 9 7 8 43
Avg 6 9.3 7.3 6.3 7 36

Evu says:

A Glory Seeker with a slow Momentary Blink attached -- a great way to get an extra use out of your other creatures' CIP abilities, but one that doesn't leave the door open for a lot of abuse. A well-designed common. A bit of a lapse on the templating, though: the second sentence should read, "At end of turn, return that creature to play under its owner's control."

Pyrosin says:

The whole point of white's flicker ability is to save a creature from a spell or combat damage. This card needs flash to be relevant like Whitemane Lion.

Elite Myr

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 9 6 7 7 36
Pyro 6 10 8 8 7 39
DI 8 10 8 7 7 40
Avg 7 9.7 7.3 7.3 7 38.3

Evu says:

Frogmite it ain't, and that's probably a good thing. On the other hand, the power of that comes-into-play ability could vary widely depending on the equipment in the environment. Turn-two Vulshok Morningstar could give decks of any color a 4/4 on turn three, which is perhaps a little too reminiscent of the dreaded Myr Enforcer.

Pyrosin says:

This card is an interesting take on affinity that doesn't seem inherently broken. The affinity and "comes into play" ability have nice synergy. I think this could be printed as is.

Aura Punisher

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 10 6 6 3 32
Pyro 8 7 8 5 5 33
DI 8 10 8 7 7 40
Avg 7.7 9 7.3 6 5 35

Evu says:

Aura Barbs is uncommon primarily because it just isn't going to do that much most of the time. Printing it at common would be a waste -- but attaching such a similar effect to a common creature that's practically playable without it would ultimately have the effect of making every aura in the set unplayable in Limited, just because the risk of taking significant losses from a random Aura Punisher, that your opponent just happened to be playing as filler, would be too high.

Pyrosin says:

Its feels like Unforge from Darksteel, but as you know red isn't supposed to deal with enchantments. The inherent weakness of auras means this card will also be inherently weak, because its ability usually won't trigger.

Rasparthe

Cold Tallow Zealot

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 8 8 7 6 7 36
Pyro 5 8 4 3 4 24
DI 9 10 6 8 7 40
Avg 7.3 8.7 5.7 5.7 6 33.3

Evu says:

A flavorful and original effect. Useful either to support your own need for islands, or to color-screw your opponent(s) for a turn. The body might be a little small for the cost, though, and the flavor text comes off as a little overdone.

Pyrosin says:

The abilities are very similar to Runch's Vision Seer submission. I don't think this card should have flash. It makes it too complex for a common.

Nightwood Assassin     [2nd Place!]

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 9 10 7 8 8 42
Pyro 8 10 9 10 6 43
DI 8 10 9 9 8 44
Avg 8.3 10 8.3 9 7.3 43

Evu says:

A good common take on Nekrataal. Often won't find any targets, but can be combined with other effects (such as Geyser Elemental below, perhaps) to ensure kills. My biggest complaint about this card is that I don't understand why the border is the wrong color.

Pyrosin says:

I like the idea of this card a lot. In limited it would let you take out a lot of utility creatures instead of using a removal spell on them. But why is the black card in a land frame?

Geyser Elemental     [2.5th Place]

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 8 9 8 7 8 40
Pyro 7 10 7 10 7 41
DI 8 9 8 8 7 40
Avg 7.7 9.3 7.7 8.3 7.3 40.3

(Note: Rasparthe actually submitted both the second- and third-highest scoring entries, but a contestant can only win one prize.)

Evu says:

Power- and toughness-modifying counters that aren't +1/+1 or -1/-1 are pretty rare, and not used in modern Magic design, if I recall correctly. But this is a good effect -- in fact, a great way for blue to have "removal" without really having removal -- and I'm not sure how else to achieve something similar. With blue getting this slice of the color pie, it may be that -2/-0 counters need to start showing up.

Pyrosin says:

Solid card, simple, very blue. I don't really like -2/-0 counters though.

Barroom Hero

Shivan Youngling

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 6 10 3 8 8 35
Pyro 2 10 7 1 6 26
DI 7 9 7 8 9 40
Avg 5 9.7 5.7 5.7 7.7 33.7

Evu says:

It may not be Flametongue Kavu, but this one puts some of its common predecessors like Steamcore Weird and Sparkmage Apprentice to shame. But the concept and flavor are good, so I think this card could survive development with some adjustment of the numbers.

Pyrosin says:

It's a dragon but it doesn't have flying? Even if it's a "youngling," it still needs to be able to Jump. Other than that the "comes into play" ability is quite generic.

Salt Marsh Hesjing

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 7 3 5 8 30
Pyro 4 8 4 3 4 23
DI 8 8 7 8 9 40
Avg 6.3 7.7 4.7 5.3 7 31

Evu says:

This is pretty close to a Compulsive Research (which was possibly the top draft pick among blue commons in its set) that's easier to cast and gives you an evasive creature as a bonus. The discard being random is significant, but not enough to make up the difference.

Pyrosin says:

Too much for a common. Swampwalk and digging three cards for three mana is too strong. And you used hybrid mana; a mono black deck shouldn't be able to play this card.

Dartak Battlemage

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 8 9 7 7 38
Pyro 3 10 8 9 6 36
DI 7 9 8 7 7 38
Avg 5.7 9 8.3 7.7 6.7 37.3

Evu says:

A great card for an aggressive red deck when it targets itself, or use it on an evasive creature to help break a late-game stalemate. This feels like solid early pick for Limited.

Pyrosin says:

Fun finisher card for red decks. I guess Ball Lightning can work at common for five mana.

DiesIrae says:

Nitpick: "Until the end of turn" should be "Until end of turn".

Hollow0n3

Seassontender

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 8 8 8 5 36
Pyro 4 4 7 8 6 29
DI 7 10 8 7 7 39
Avg 6 7.3 7.7 7.7 6 34.7

Evu says:

This card asks the question, "What if Elvish Pioneer were a bear?", which is a step in the right direction, since Pioneer is a card that people seem to want to play, but isn't really worthwhile on a 1/1. Seassontender is notable for allowing any kind of land to be played, instead of having only basic land put into play, but I can't imagine that being a terribly big deal. In fact, I think this card's mana cost could go down to 1G, which would be more in line for a common.

Pyrosin says:

A lot like Runch's Chezrel Acolyte submission, which was a lot like Elvish Pioneer, only this card is stronger.

Memorymage Apprentice

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 9 8 10 7 41
Pyro 5 10 4 3 4 26
DI 7 10 9 8 8 42
Avg 6.3 9.7 7 7 6.3 36.3

Evu says:

Comments: Strictly better than Merchant of Secrets, which is fine by me since Merchant of Secrets is unplayable even in Sealed Deck. The power level feels about right, and the ability is in-color (see e.g. Stream of Consciousness) and flavorful (since the graveyard represents your memory of spells you've cast before).

Pyrosin says:

First ability is pretty generic, second ability isn't very exciting.

DiesIrae says:

Nice card. You never know when you'll need to take a card out of your opponent's graveyard.

Consuming Fireborn

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 10 9 5 9 3 36
Pyro 7 2 2 3 2 16
DI 9 10 8 8 7 42
Avg 8.7 7 5 6.7 4 31.3

Evu says:

3/1 for 3 is fine, and this card doesn't have an added effect so much as an either/or. But the alternative effect is too "sweeping" for common. Uncommon would be okay, but when you consider that this is really a "Johnny"-targeted design that probably wouldn't be useful in Limited play, I think rare is really the right place for it.

Pyrosin says:

I don't get it. I don't think "build around me" Johnny cards work at common.

AirStriker

Emberling

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 6 2 7 8 30
Pyro 6 10 4 5 6 31
DI 7 2 4 7 7 27
Avg 6.7 6 3.3 6.3 7 29.3

Evu says:

3/3 for 3 with no drawbacks is already way off-curve for Red. Adding haste, not just to that creature but to at least one other as well, is just too much. The idea is clever, and the card would be great for Limited, but it would need either a higher mana cost or a lower power & toughness.

Pyrosin says:

A 3/3 with haste for three that might give haste to other creatures, that's too powerful, too efficiently cost for common.

DiesIrae says:

Airstriker unfortunately lost points on templating because of spelling and typos. The idea wasn't bad, but a red 3/3 with haste for three mana should not be common.

Cephalid Wardmaker

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 8 5 7 8 7 35
Pyro 7 2 6 6 4 25
DI 7 2 8 7 7 31
Avg 7.3 3 7 7 6 30.3

Evu says:

Having a creature lose all abilities is an effect that's been printed only infrequently, and never at a lesser rarity than uncommon, at least not in tournament-legal sets. (See Ovinize for reference.) This card is a good fit for Blue (although the name "Wardmaker" might suggest something a little more White), and I like the flavor text.

Pyrosin says:

There are a couple of misspelled words in this card. It also feels overcost for the ability.

Tidal Assassin

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 6 6 3 6 7 28
Pyro 8 10 8 6 7 39
DI 7 3 7 7 7 31
Avg 7 6.3 6 6.3 7 32.7

Evu says:

The nearest analogies that come to mind are Keening Banshee and Steamcore Weird, both of which are mechanically superior to this card in almost every way. I feel like this design needed to stretch its legs a little bit -- the complexity level is about right, but the creature could have had better statistics, or done something a little more unusual.

Pyrosin says:

Solid card. I don't think it should be a blue card, just mono black.

.idoru.

Traitorous Confidant

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 3 9 5 8 3 28
Pyro 2 10 5 8 4 29
DI 7 10 9 8 7 41
Avg 4 9.7 6.3 8 4.7 32.7

Evu says:

The quest to print a blue 1/1 for 1 with an ability that's useful, but not too powerful for a color that isn't supposed to get good creatures, is ongoing. I'm afraid this card hasn't solved the puzzle. Telepathic Spies was at least a Gray Ogre, which is usually playable in a pinch.

Pyrosin says:

It's the same as the Portal card Ingenious Thief. Not very Exciting.

Fledgling Phoenix

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 9 9 5 9 7 39
Pyro 5 10 8 8 6 37
DI 8 10 8 8 7 41
Avg 7.3 9.7 7 8.3 6.7 39

Evu says:

A nice take on a red version of Mtenda Lion or Wild Griffin. But the flying-or-no-flying switch should be represented by a counter, whether of the +1/+1 variety, or just some new type made up for this card. When designing commons, it's even more important than usual to make sure players have more to rely on than just their memories to keep track of the game state.

Pyrosin says:

Feels like a red version of Mtenda Lion. Usually it would be a 2/2 flyer for 3, which is too strong for red.

Fearfeeder     [1st Place!]

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 10 10 8 8 7 43
Pyro 10 10 10 8 10 48
DI 9 10 9 8 8 44
Avg 9.7 10 9 8 8.3 45

Evu says:

This is a simple, cool, original mechanic that's functional without dominating the game. A great fit at common; congratulations to .idoru. on the clever design. My biggest concern is that this creature starts life as a five-mana 2/1 and would too often be Shocked before it ever gets to start handing out -1/-1 counters. That's a lot of risk for such a high mana investment. A printed power and toughness along the lines of 2/5 might address that problem.

Pyrosin says:

I think this is the best card of the bunch. The ability is great. It only comes into play as a 2/1 for 5 mana, which is pretty awful. But as your opponent plays more creatures, they get smaller and your guy gets bigger. I think it would be more in black's flavor to remove the "may" clause from removing the counters so that it creates an additional tension with your own creatures, but this is a really nice submission.

ZeroFusion

Apprentice Advisor

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 8 10 8 7 7 40
Pyro 5 10 4 9 6 34
DI 9 10 8 8 8 43
Avg 7.3 10 6.7 8 7 39

Evu says:

While this card inherits its ability from an uncommon, Long-Term Plans, it's not unheard of for common cards to get tutor effects, Trinket Mage being one of the best known. But is getting any card you want too much for a common? I'm on the fence about this one. Setting aside the question of rarity, though, I like the concept a lot; Long-Term Plans is one of my favorite tutor effects, and this would be a great way to bring it back. Four mana for a 1/1 is a lot to ask, though; I'd be willing to go up to 1/2. About the flavor: the art is great, but who's the advisor? The human mage fits the type line, but seems to be casting a spell rather than advising anybody, whereas the fairy looks like an advisor, but isn't the focus of the picture. (I hate to be too critical of art selection, though; I know how hard it is to find something that matches the idea you already have in mind.)

Pyrosin says:

So it's the Scourge uncommon Long-Term Plans on a stick. Not very exciting.

Fireborn Purifier

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 10 6 8 1 32
Pyro 9 10 1 3 2 25
DI 9 10 6 7 6 38
Avg 8.3 10 4.3 6 3 31.7

Evu says:

I searched Gatherer for the text "lose the game", and the only non-rare card it appears on is the uncommon Rocket-Powered Turbo Slug from Unhinged. Then I searched for "destroy all other creatures"; it only appears on two rares. This is hands down the least "common" card in the contest. It's instructive to think about why this wouldn't be common. Ask yourself: if you were building a draft or sealed deck, how many of these would you want to include? Does clearing the board except for a 1/1, then losing the game two turns later (and that's if your opponent has no creature removal), sound like the sort of thing you'd want to do early or often? How frequently would you expect to build decks that could even make use of one copy? It's not that the design is bad, it's that printing it at common would mean a whole lot of cardboard that wouldn't get used -- and that would take space in the set away from something that might. Keeping cards like this at rare ensures that Johnnies can get them for their Constructed decks, while Limited players don't have to worry about them getting in the way.

Pyrosin says:

A card with the words "destroy all other creatures" and "you lose the game" is not a common.

Cloudrider Monk

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 8 10 8 6 8 40
Pyro 7 10 7 5 6 35
DI 9 10 8 8 8 43
Avg 8 10 7.7 6.3 7.3 39.3

Evu says:

A great idea; a CIP effect that we don't often see, and a good fit for common. But when you consider that this is Wild Griffin with a Blinding Beam kind of effect tacked on, you have to wonder why it's blue/red. 3W or maybe 2WW sound like about the right cost for this card.

Pyrosin says:

Apes aren't really a blue creature type, and outside the Wizard of Oz they usually don't fly. Other than that, it's a solid card that works at common nicely.

makeoutkid

Orailk Sparker

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 9 10 8 7 8 42
Pyro 3 10 6 6 4 29
DI 7 10 9 7 7 40
Avg 6.3 10 7.7 6.7 6.3 37

Evu says:

An interesting take on a playable version of Goblin Sky Raider. In-color and probably not overpowered, but could be tweaked to only target either creatures or players if necessary. I wonder, though, why this is an Elemental when the art depicts something that looks more like a Gargoyle to me.

Pyrosin says:

Pretty generic, Sparkmage Apprentice with flying.

Vassari Apothecary

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 9 8 7 9 7 40
Pyro 3 8 4 6 6 27
DI 7 9 9 7 7 39
Avg 6.3 8.3 6.7 7.3 6.7 35.3

Evu says:

If you're going to do a sweeping effect at common, this is how to do it. This card keeps a limited scope on the effect while still making it useful. It's possible that keeping track of which creatures have used up their prevention shields might be taxing, but keep this out of a token-heavy block and I think it would be okay. I chose to regard the omission of the words "this turn" as a templating issue rather than a power-level one.

Pyrosin says:

A much better version of Samite Censer-Bearer from Future Sight, but still not exciting.

Lonely Standard Bearer

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 6 8 8 5 3 30
Pyro 8 7 1 3 4 23
DI 9 10 6 7 7 39
Avg 7.7 8.3 5 5 4.7 30.7

Evu says:

The first card that this makes me think of is Soulblast -- and the differences between that and this are significant. Like Soulblast, this card should be rare, and shouldn't be a creature. The days when board-sweeping, game-ending spells were common are long past. Devouring Greed in the same set is a good example of how this idea could be reined in a bit.

Pyrosin says:

The ability on this guy is pretty insane. It basically says, "pay six mana, win the game." That's a little too strong at any rarity.

dragonmage65

Sentinel Keeper

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 10 5 7 5 34
Pyro 8 10 6 4 7 35
DI 8 10 7 8 9 42
Avg 7.7 10 6 6.3 7 37

Evu says:

So this is kind of like a cheaper Treasure Trove (which is uncommon, but never gets played), except it starts drawing cards sooner, and it can be interrupted by a Shock, or it can optionally turn into a 2/1 flyer, if that's the kind of card you want to draw anyway. There's a lot going on here -- and I think that that complexity, as well as the fact that this is basically an unending card advantage engine, are just too much for a common. Sprout Swarm was probably too much for a common too, and all that did was give you infinite Saprolings; the potential here is much greater.

Pyrosin says:

You took Whispers of the Muse, reduced its rarity, cut the price in half, and put it on a stick if you like. Clever, but too powerful.

Dragonmayu

Flowergirl

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 9 8 3 9 4 33
Pyro 7 10 3 5 5 30
DI 8 9 8 8 10 43
Avg 8 9 4.7 7.3 6.3 35.3

Evu says:

You figure nobody would cast this in Squire mode unless they were desperate, so we're talking about something that most of the time is a 1/2 and a free enchantment for five mana. How much would the enchantment have to cost to make that worthwhile? I'm thinking five at the least, maybe four if it had tough color requirements. Perhaps a combo deck with something like Debtors' Knell? This is a good idea, and I think it would work at common, but the numbers need to be adjusted -- both the P/T up, and the mana cost down. I also wonder why you have to reveal your hand; seems like rewording it to say "you may put an enchantment card..." would have been preferable.

Pyrosin says:

Situational card that would either be very broken with the right cards in the format, or very boring.

DiesIrae says:

The Flowergirl looks so innocent, I can't help but want to use her to put Gratuitous Violence into play.

Bloodthirsty Bats

Evu says:

This card had to be disqualified because Bloodthirst isn't really a "comes-into-play ability" -- it includes the words "comes into play", but it isn't a trigger that's activated by the card coming into play. But let's review it anyway. Barring any trickery with things like Glorious Anthem, what we're looking at here is a 2/2 flier for 2 that can only be played on turns when you've dealt an opponent damage. Quite playable, depending on the quality of the one-drops in the environment. Negative numbers in the power/toughness field are unusual, though, and never seen before at common. Are they too confusing, even for an expert-level set? I don't know, but WotC probably thinks so.

Pyrosin says:

I don't like the idea of a creature that just dies on its own.

Wavereader

  Orig Tmpl Blnc Flav Appl Total
Evu 7 8 6 7 7 35
Pyro 2 5 4 7 4 22
DI 8 9 9 8 8 42
Avg 5.7 7.3 6.3 7.3 6.3 33

Evu says:

The printed card that this makes me think of is Merchant of Secrets, which I'm not sure I've ever seen in play. Wavereader gives you a one-mana discount in exchange for the possibility that you won't be able to draw, but also provides some library manipulation and the remote chance that you'll be able to draw more than one card. That last part isn't likely enough to justify the added complexity, I don't think; I would have reworded to "If the revealed cards share a card type, draw a card." But keep in mind that you have to add reminder text that lists the card type, and I think we're still exceeding the amount of complexity that would be acceptable at common. I could see this as an uncommon.

Pyrosin says:

Way too similar to Stealthy Strategist by Draco36, and he submitted his first. Second part of the card is very difficult to understand. I had to read it several times before I knew what it was doing. To be cleaner I would make it say something like, "then clash with that opponent. If you win the clash, draw a card."

DiesIrae says:

Very similar to Stealthy Strategist, which made it a bit hard to judge.


And with that, the January 2008 Custom Card Contest is put into the graveyard from play. Thanks to all of the contestants who made this the best-attended CCC yet. Don't forget that the February CCC is already in progress in the Custom Cards forum!

7 Comments

Re: Scoring by SillyMagician (Unregistered) 72.134.101.58 (not verified) at Sat, 02/09/2008 - 02:38
SillyMagician (Unregistered) 72.134.101.58's picture

Evu: 36 +/- 5

Pyrosin: 30 +/- 8

DiesIrae: 40 +/- 3

 

 

It just seems odd to me that, according to those deviations the card was graded at the highest of the other 2 judges' deviations, yet nearly the lowest of yours (41, 24, 43). I can understand if you didn't find the card particularly powerful (balance?), but even on a curve I fail to see how the card comes up so short in Originality and Appeal. 

Nevertheless I don't want this to turn into a sour grapes type thing. The contest was fun and I will definitely be entering a couple more. Also thanks to the judges for their work in doing all of the scoring and commenting as well as Evu for writing the wrap-up article!

Thanks for the reviews! by idoru (Unregistered) 99.147.19.33 (not verified) at Fri, 02/08/2008 - 23:00
idoru (Unregistered) 99.147.19.33's picture

Traitorous Confidant - I did my mechanic checking in MTGO, so I didn't catch that this card had been printed in Portal.

Fledgling Phoenix - I hadn't thought of adding a counter to denote the flying. It would have made the templating a little more readable, too, I think. I guess no one noticed that the name of the mage in the flavor text is an anagram of Jaya Ballard? When in doubt, use an anagram! I also agree that 2/2 is probably too good for red; 2/1 would make more sense.

Fearfeeder - Regarding Evu's comment that this costs quite a bit for being so easy to kill: I thought this as well, but decided the effect was powerful enough, especially combined with any Blink effects, to warrant the cost at common. I originally costed this at 3B, but didn't want to go the 2BB route. I agree it would be a little more useful with a reversed P/T, but black doesn't normally get creatures with significantly higher toughness than power. As a sidenote, this is a "commonized" version of a rare I designed for a set I'm making; it has the same mechanic, but comes into play with four counters, costs 2BB, and is 6/6. 

My cards... by MechtaK at Fri, 02/08/2008 - 14:26
MechtaK's picture

Wish I had kept Troop Reserves at a 1/3 as I originally designed it.  I let a friend of mine convince me I could give it 1 more power, and I felt that was a mistake.  Still, I think Troop Reserves was well designed had I put the power right.  It's intent was to trigger abilities of other cards, but at a greater cost, the extra 1W.  Also, any card that gives an opponent a creature, such as the various Hunted cards or Varchild's War-Riders, will aslo return this card to your hand. 

Orc Sparker was an idea straight from Stalking Yeti.  I just tried to created a common version of it, in the flavor of Brothers of Fire.  Unfortunately, looking back, I realize it could be abused easily with a Soul Warden.

On Wandering Dryad, I really didn't know how to cost it correctly.  In the end, I went the Knight route, and costed in GG, but in retrospect, should have costed it higher, say 2GG.  Hindsight is always 20/20. 

Still, overall, I am pretty pleased with the scoring, Pyrosin has the right idea to grade a curve.  I did the same thing in the past contest, though my curve was a bit more along the lines of non-linear

by Pyrosin at Fri, 02/08/2008 - 12:39
Pyrosin's picture

Re: Flickering Theurge - You guys are right, "relevant" was a bad choice of words on my part.  The card has lots of uses, but my point was that it isn't a white card if it doesn't have flash.

by Evu at Fri, 02/08/2008 - 12:04
Evu's picture

Re: Flickering Theurge -- certainly the card has its uses; "relevant" may not have been the best choice of word.  But Pyrosin makes a good point that, from a flavor perspective, White's flickering effects are usually instant-speed, so that they can save creatures from combat damage or removal spells.

Re: scoring -- another important point, and one that I meant to mention in the article.  Pyrosin's scores are lower on average because he graded on a curve, but when you consider the scores in relative terms, i.e. how each judge would have ranked the entries from best to worst, the differences aren't so great (and the differences that still exist actually do signify a divergence of opinions).  In fact, without the greater variance in Pyrosin's grading, it's likely we would have had even more tied scores than we did, so it's a good thing he graded on a curve, and I'm thinking about changing my own scoring methods accordingly next time I'm a judge.

by SillyMagician (Unregistered) 72.134.101.58 (not verified) at Fri, 02/08/2008 - 06:11
SillyMagician (Unregistered) 72.134.101.58's picture

[quote]The whole point of white's flicker ability is to save a creature from a spell or combat damage. This card needs flash to be relevant like Whitemane Lion.[/quote]

 I actually thought of Whitemane Lion as I designed this card. It does not need flash to be relevant. As I pointed out in my post (and the other designers must have noted, by their scores) it has a surprising amount of utility as is:

-"Disenchanting" an enemy enchantment

-Unmorphing a large beater.

-Retriggering CITP abilities.

-At worst, "untapping" a creature you attacked with earlier in the turn.

While the card does not have flash, it is a prime target for combinations with cards that do grant flash (Teferi, Scout's Warning) and it makes a great target for bounce or reanimation. I had considered adding a way to return it to your hand or for it to flicker itself but deemed those unworthy abilities for a common. I was a little disappointed with your low scores Pyrosin (especially considering the other judges' scores). :(

How I scored the Cards by Pyrosin at Fri, 02/08/2008 - 08:51
Pyrosin's picture

When I scored the cards, I tried to use the entire range available to me.  i.e. 1 - 50.  I did not realize the other two judges would not be doing that.  If you look at the average score and the standard deviation of those scores from each judge you will see:

Evu: 36 +/- 5

Pyrosin: 30 +/- 8

DiesIrae: 40 +/- 3

So that means for the vast majority of entries, my score is going to be the lowest of the three, but that goes the same for everyone.  The score I gave for an average card looks a lot lower than the other two judge's scores, but it all averages out in the end.

 P.S. Evu, the article layout looks really good.