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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:08 pm 
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BelangiaJo wrote:
How is this as a keyword that fits a common theme in pandemic games and the "choice of damnation" vibe too:

Anguish (As an additional cost to cast this spell, you may pay 2 life. If you do, this spell costs less to cast.)


It's colorless . Obviously the big problem with the phyrexian mana mechanic was it's ability to allow spells into every deck regardless of color (not to mention that somehow half of them are just too good for the game). It does the choice thing well; that is, it offers a choice without too much decision paralysis. More often than not, the choice will be made for you: you'll spend mana when you can, life when you can't. The few times the decision is real adds enough to make the dynamic worthwhile. (We have years of playing with phyrexian mana costs to prove that.) It's yet another mechanic borrowed from Scars of Mirrodin, but with a significant and likely positive change. I can see it as being viable.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:22 pm 
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To Blowfly Infestation (also kind of a wrath variant)

Uncontained Spread
:2::b::b:
Enchantment {R}
Whenever a creature dies, if it had any -1/-1 counters on it, its controller distributes twice as many -1/-1 counters among creatures on the battlefield.
Those who died first were spared the horrors that followed

~~~

RE: 0/0 germs
One of the great things about the 0/0 germ effect is that any "whenever a creature enters/dies" trigger will be set off. Deathgreeter and Soul Warden would both benefit from Germs in a big way. Now, true, germs don't stick around like other tokens without help, but that means that they could be tacked on as riders at a very low effective cost. New Phyrexia had "And somebody loses 1 life" tacked on to just about everything like Vapor Snag. We could take on "and make a germ" with similar weight and create value that's not parasitically bound to this particular set and its mechanics, even if things looking for germs (specifically) are a bit stronger.

Mind Virus
:2::b:
Sorcery {C}
Target player discards two cards. Create a 0/0 black Germ creature token for each creature card discarded this way.

Chitterling
:2::b:
Creature - Rat {R}
Whenever a non-Rat creature dies, create a token that's a copy of Chitterling
1/1

Corpse Collector
:2::b:
Creature - Human Peasant {U}
Whenever a creature dies, put a corpse counter on Corpse Collector.
:b:, Remove a corpse counter from Corpse Collector: Corpse Collector gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
"Bring out your dead!"
2/3

Hidden Infected
:b:
Creature - Human Carrier {U}
When Hidden Infected enters the battlefield, an opponent gains control of it.
Whenever another creature enters the battlefield, you lose 1 life.
2/2

Pox Breath
:1::b::b:
Sorcery {U}
Creatures get -2/-2 until end of turn. Create a 0/0 black germ creature token.

Incubated Emergence
:b:
Instant {C}
Exile up to three target creature cards from a single graveyard. Create that many 0/0 black Germ creature tokens.

Wall of Diseased Bodies
:b::b:
Creature - Carrier Wall {U}
Defender
Whenever Wall of Diseased Bodies is dealt damage, create that many 0/0 black germ creature tokens
0/4

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:04 pm 
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To Blowfly Infestation (also kind of a wrath variant)
Wall of Diseased Bodies
:b::b:
Creature - Carrier Wall {U}
Defender
Whenever Wall of Diseased Bodies is dealt damage, create that many 0/0 black germ creature tokens
0/4



Much as I like 0/0 germs, I'm not sure how it makes sense in terms of flavour. How are 0/0s coming into existence and then dying supposed to resemble the spreading of a plague?

FWIW I like face-down but think that face-down without morph falls possibly into the 'oppressive' category.

Quote:
+1/-1 counters don't particularly appeal to me; I think +1/+1 or -1/-1 are much more evocative of almost any given theme. I suppose +1/-1 represents roid rage well.


Yes I was going for rabies, but roid rage works well too...

Self-infect
Sorcery
Target creature gains roid rage (Creatures with roid rage get +3/+3 and have 'At the beginning of your upkeep, put a -1/-1 counter on this creature')


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:50 pm 
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Can you elaborate why face-down without morph is oppressive? I think that methods to get a creature turned face-down need to be strongly considered. Meaning, a decision needs to be made if there's gonna be a large number of creatures that die into face-down creatures OR if creatures can get turned face-down by other methods OR (if similar to morphs) there are creatures you can cast from your hand face-down. I think there's a lot of design space in this area as long as you're comfortable with face-down creatures not always being morph/manifest variants. I mean, manifest itself kinda started this journey - why shouldn't we open it back up for review?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 7:04 pm 
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BelangiaJo wrote:
Can you elaborate why face-down without morph is oppressive? I think that methods to get a creature turned face-down need to be strongly considered. Meaning, a decision needs to be made if there's gonna be a large number of creatures that die into face-down creatures OR if creatures can get turned face-down by other methods OR (if similar to morphs) there are creatures you can cast from your hand face-down. I think there's a lot of design space in this area as long as you're comfortable with face-down creatures not always being morph/manifest variants. I mean, manifest itself kinda started this journey - why shouldn't we open it back up for review?


Oko, Thief of Crowns kinda already suggests that turning creatures into vanilla 3/3s is kinda oppressive; turning them into typeless, colorless 2/2s seems a little worse. Manifest works because it is basically mill with the countereffect of creating a 2/2 per card manifested.

... Idea actually ... Off topic though

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 7:45 pm 
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Oh, I think that's where there's a disconnect. I don't think the idea is that you would turn your opponent's creatures to face-down 2/2s in mass. Sure, maybe there's a removal spell that does this, but the idea is that some creatures die into face-down 2/2s.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 7:50 pm 
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Oko, Thief of Crowns kinda already suggests that turning creatures into vanilla 3/3s is kinda oppressive; turning them into typeless, colorless 2/2s seems a little worse.


Oko isn't oppressive because it turns creatures into vanilla 3/3s. It's oppressive because it turns creatures into vanilla 3/3s while improving its loyalty, providing you with endless life-gaining opportunities, providing you with your own army of 3/3s, doing so every turn, AND STILL HAVING MORE ABILITIES! It's not like Ixidron was a powerhouse card. Oko just does too much for too little. If Oko's Elk ability cost , it would have been fine.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:21 pm 
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Oko, Thief of Crowns kinda already suggests that turning creatures into vanilla 3/3s is kinda oppressive; turning them into typeless, colorless 2/2s seems a little worse.


Oko isn't oppressive because it turns creatures into vanilla 3/3s. It's oppressive because it turns creatures into vanilla 3/3s while improving its loyalty, providing you with endless life-gaining opportunities, providing you with your own army of 3/3s, doing so every turn, AND STILL HAVING MORE ABILITIES! It's not like Ixidron was a powerhouse card. Oko just does too much for too little. If Oko's Elk ability cost , it would have been fine.


Nobody runs Oko in Legacy for : Gain 3 life or turning off your own Tarmogoyf; it literally turns every major threat off, including Marit Lage and Emrakul if they cheat them in at an opportune time. Ixidron is also a five-mana board wipe whereas Oko is best compared to something like Avatar of Woe that's three mana and a harder to interact with card type (still, despite Planeswalkers being a thing for about ten years or so now).

So, yeah, it does something very strong for too little, but I believe you are overvaluing the rest of its abilities.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:25 pm 
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I don't know why Oko was even mentioned because it isn't relevant to this discussion.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:54 pm 
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BelangiaJo wrote:
Can you elaborate why face-down without morph is oppressive? I think that methods to get a creature turned face-down need to be strongly considered. Meaning, a decision needs to be made if there's gonna be a large number of creatures that die into face-down creatures OR if creatures can get turned face-down by other methods OR (if similar to morphs) there are creatures you can cast from your hand face-down. I think there's a lot of design space in this area as long as you're comfortable with face-down creatures not always being morph/manifest variants. I mean, manifest itself kinda started this journey - why shouldn't we open it back up for review?



Hm, I see, perhaps I misunderstood. My reasoning was as follows:
(a) for turning creatures face-down to represent the plague, it should happen quite frequently
(b) turning creatures face-down to represent the plague will often be a kind of removal, played on opponent's creatures.
(c) turning creatures face-down frequently as removal is oppressive.

But I see that I may have misunderstood your suggestions. I take it that you want to find ways around (b), using something like penumbra abilities. That may be fine... I guess I just thought (b) was the most intuitive application of the idea in this context.


Last edited by arathinius on Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:58 pm 
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That makes sense. I agree that turning opposing creatures face-down as a set mechanic would be unfun.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:30 pm 
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Oko, Thief of Crowns kinda already suggests that turning creatures into vanilla 3/3s is kinda oppressive; turning them into typeless, colorless 2/2s seems a little worse.


Oko isn't oppressive because it turns creatures into vanilla 3/3s. It's oppressive because it turns creatures into vanilla 3/3s while improving its loyalty, providing you with endless life-gaining opportunities, providing you with your own army of 3/3s, doing so every turn, AND STILL HAVING MORE ABILITIES! It's not like Ixidron was a powerhouse card. Oko just does too much for too little. If Oko's Elk ability cost , it would have been fine.


Nobody runs Oko in Legacy for : Gain 3 life or turning off your own Tarmogoyf; it literally turns every major threat off, including Marit Lage and Emrakul if they cheat them in at an opportune time. Ixidron is also a five-mana board wipe whereas Oko is best compared to something like Avatar of Woe that's three mana and a harder to interact with card type (still, despite Planeswalkers being a thing for about ten years or so now).

So, yeah, it does something very strong for too little, but I believe you are overvaluing the rest of its abilities.

I don't think the other abilities should be disregarded. Repeatable removal every turn is a strong mechanic, but if that's all Oko did, it wouldn't dominate the way it does. Oko gets to shut down all of the opposing creatures (and artifacts), then gets to build its own army. The fact that it turns creatures into vanilla 3/3s is part of the problem, but that doesn't mean the mechanic of turning things into vanilla 3/3s is inherently flawed. Forget Ixidron. How about Rapid Hybridization? Or Frogify? Or Beast Within? They all have similar functions: turning creaures into blank dorks. But they're one shots. That puts them well within the parameters of balanced. Oko is a bad example to use for the efficacy of elking as a mechanic, because Oko does it every turn on top of doing so much more.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:38 pm 
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Boy, too bad Infect and Proliferate already exist, eh?

Personally, I think the key points of the disease should be how it's contagious, and dangerous. Most people probably don't want to get it. But, there should also be a gameplay reason for it to go around (and maybe some people DO want it, or at least, want to spread it).

However, the problem with making counters (or statuses or whatever) inherently lethal to the creatures themselves is that it kills out all the hosts too fast, making it hard to get that spreading gameplay. So, with that in mind...

Sickly Spreader
Creature - Carrier
Sickly Spreader enters the battlefield plagued. (Creatures dealt combat damage by plagued creatures become plagued. At the end of their turn, players lose 1 life for each plagued creature they control.)
2/1

It's just kind of a 'status', similar to exert. If it were IRL, I could even see punch-out markers getting included. Since each creature is only either plagued/unplagued I don't think it's that hard to track. You could retool it to include counters I guess, but I stayed away from that to limit math/tracking.

It's... sort of a downside mechanic? but it means cards can also key off the status without being too parasitic since it'll probably jump around to other creatures all on its own (similar in my mind to how you can play one Monarch card by itself and introduce the mechanic to the game all on your own). Stuff like:

Plague target creature (as a spell, or activated ability)
a Hypocondriac - If CARDNAME becomes plagued, sacrifice it.
Creatures you control can't become plagued / Creatures you control stop being plagued.
As long as CARDNAME is plagued, <buff>.
Plague lord - Plagued creatures cause their opponent to lose an additional life at the end of each of their turns.
"You may plague CARDNAME", or, "You may plague an unplagued creature you control" as a sort of Kicker
Protection from plagued creatures
CARDNAME doesn't (or Creatures you control don't) cause you to lose life for being plagued.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:45 pm 
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RE: 0/0 germs
One of the great things about the 0/0 germ effect is that any "whenever a creature enters/dies" trigger will be set off. Deathgreeter and Soul Warden would both benefit from Germs in a big way. Now, true, germs don't stick around like other tokens without help, but that means that they could be tacked on as riders at a very low effective cost. New Phyrexia had "And somebody loses 1 life" tacked on to just about everything like Vapor Snag. We could take on "and make a germ" with similar weight and create value that's not parasitically bound to this particular set and its mechanics, even if things looking for germs (specifically) are a bit stronger.

I agree that the general usefulness of germs is there, I just feel that it might be a huge disconnect for people without tying it directly to other mechanical uses. Borrowing from WOTC market research, mechanics that actively do nothing come across as odd and unsatisfactory. Which isn't to say that we can't use them here in the comfort of YMTC where everyone loves weird and quirky anyway. I'm just trying to be aware of that negative perception. Ya, it's a weird failing of human composition; does creating a 0/0 germ without useful triggers do anything less than playing Contentious Plan without any counters present? Not really. But proliferate feels like more of a bonus here than the doomed 0/0. All this said, I like the mechanical idea 0/0 Germs as random fodder.

arathinius wrote:
Much as I like 0/0 germs, I'm not sure how it makes sense in terms of flavour. How are 0/0s coming into existence and then dying supposed to resemble the spreading of a plague?

I was wondering the same, but now I'm thinking 0/0s that come into existence and blink away without doing anything are the germs that fail to infect, just little creatures coughed into the world that never find a host to maim. It's when they start triggering things that you know they've started wrecking havok.

arathinius wrote:
Yes I was going for rabies, but roid rage works well too...

Self-infect
Sorcery
Target creature gains roid rage (Creatures with roid rage get +3/+3 and have 'At the beginning of your upkeep, put a -1/-1 counter on this creature')

I'm as much a fan of Unstable Mutation as anyone. If we have an excuse to reprint it or emulate it, I'm on board!

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:37 am 
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arathanius suggested I add a list of goals to this assignment (with some suggested goals) and it sounds like a good idea to me, so here they are:

1. How can we represent the pandemic mechanically without being oppressive? We want infection to be a theme, we want to see problems spread throughout creatures, players get stuck with recurring ailments, planeswalkers suffering, but we don't want that spread to be exponential (or even cumulative, really). Infect (darn you Scars of Mirrodin {see below}) is a good example: -1/-1 counters have a lasting, negative effect, and piling them on creates a greater detriment, but that only matters when players choose to engage their creatures in combat.
2. What ideas from Scars of Mirrodin do we embrace and which do we avoid? The more ideas we explore (-1/-1 counters, proliferating mechanics, punisher mechanics, germs, etc.), the more I realize just how much this theme already belonged to that set. I knew there would be some cross-over, but forgot just how much that world was basically suffering a pandemic. My gut answer to this question is that we change the things we find good ideas for and embrace the things we don't, but that's not a real answer. I also like the idea of using SOM ideas in different ways, like with Tevish Szat's weaponless germs. I also think we can lean into our real-world inspiration: rather than a Phyrexian invasion, we have our pandemic be an infectious outbreak and the set deals with the peoples experiences, whether they're good, evil, or somewhere inbetween.
3. How does black relate to each other color in this pandemic world? We brainstormed a lot of different ideas for the colors individually, but I didn't ask about relationships! This set doesn't have to follow traditional binary color schemes, but I'd still like to see some designs that explore what black might bring to each of its color pairs.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 6:34 am 
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Was thinking about an infect variant

Contagious (Whenever a creature blocks or is blocked by this creature, put a -1/-1 counter on that creature at the end of combat.)

Notably, you can flavor it so that creatures with -1/-1 counters on them are hurt by the plague, but are not necessarily a vector.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 8:37 pm 
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@Temjen - I really like that take on plaguing. It makes combat very interactive and interesting. Chump blocking and chump attacking would have a lot of value. There'd be a constant struggle between keeping your creatures or finding ways to sacrifice them. Every deck would play a bit like sui-black, which is an archetype I've always found enjoyable. I imagine it can be approached in a lot of mechanical ways (keywords, supertypes, counters, etc.); my guess is that counters work best due to the constant need to count up the life loss every turn. Or some combination of counter plus supertype/keyword.

Some color-pair ideas:

~~~~~~

False Cure

~~~~~~

Control Group
Creature - Human Subject (C)
Control Group can't have counters removed from it.
3/3

~~~~~~

Plague Concealer
Creature - Human Carrier (C)
Whenever combat damage is dealt to Plague Concealer, destroy Plague Concealer.
3/3

~~~~~~

Deadly Infection
Sorcery (C)
Destroy target creature. It's controller creates a plagued 1/1 black Carrier creature token. (Players lose 1 life at the beginning of their upkeeps for each plagued creature they control. Damage dealt by plagued creatures to unplagued creatures causes those unplagued creatures to become plagued.)

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:18 pm 
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: Self-Sacrifice

Matriarch of Martyrs -
Creature - Human Cleric | R
Vigilance
Other creatures you control have "Sacrifice this creature: Matriarch of Martyrs has protection from the color of your choice until end of turn."
2/2

: Anguish

Agonize -
Instant | U
Anguish (As an additional cost to cast this spell, you may pay 2 life. If you do, this spell costs less to cast.)
Choose one —
  • Counter target spell if it has converted mana cost less than or equal to the amount of life you lost this turn.
  • Destroy target creature if it has converted mana cost less than or equal to the amount of life you lost this turn.

: Pure Chaos

Thievery -
Enchantment | R
At the beginning of your upkeep, discard a card.
At the beginning of your end step, return two cards at random from your graveyard to your hand.

: Drones (creatures that die into colorless face-down 2/2s)

Fatted Beast -
Creature - Beast | R
At the beginning of combat on your turn, put a +1/+1 counter on each face-down creature you control.
Drone (When this creature dies, return it to the battlefield face-down as a 2/2 creature.)
Enough meat to feed an entire horde for months.
3/3


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:35 pm 
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Thoughts on my designs/archetypes above?

Do we plan to move to other color philosophies? Are decisions being made?

This has been a fun exercise, Rush!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:23 pm 
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I know this thread is only for Black, but I think we should probably iron out what the main "disease" mechanic is, because it'll probably play a pretty big part in the set as a whole. I'm certainly biased, but I still like the idea behind my interpretation (plagued creatures causing life loss and spreading it via combat damage) the best.

@BelangiaJo: I like putting sacrificial stuff into (instead of the much more common ), especially if there are plagued creatures running about. Getting rid of some diseased things that are hurting you/to protect the rest has an interesting "good of the many over the few" vibe. Also, I think Anguish is very neat combined with plagued things - life becomes a much more valuable resource if your creatures are also potentially hurting you every turn, so the decision on mana vs life becomes a little more divisive. What about moving it into , though? It could be a good suicide aggro mechanic, plus we get to call the archetype "plaggro" which is very appealing to me, personally. I'm less enthusiastic about face-down stuff, though, unless we're specifically aiming for a "zombie virus" feel?

feels like the color that gives opponents the disease, just to see how it works. They like the data, even if it comes through morally dubious means. "Tap and plague target creature"? Stalling effects to let the opponent just die to it? Gosh that sounds a little sadistic, actually. Plague their dudes and then play Fog Banks and just... wait.

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