Fixing random cards, part 1

Welcome to my first Zeromagic entry in almost three years!

If you wonder why I’m back here from oozero, you can read about in in this entry there (the latter half, which is in German). If you only want to enjoy some Magic content, however, I will just start!

This new series is a mashup of my fixing old cards series from oozero, and my looking at a random cards series I used to do on Zeromagic years ago, both of which having been very well-recieved by my readers. Fixing cards is more creative and more fun than just analyzing and evaluating them, but the strict chronological progression I followed so far became tiresome for me, and it also meant that there was no hope to ever get to newer cards. This is why I will now instead “fix” randomly selected cards to mix things up. Instead of explaining everything about how I handle this in detail, I’ll just go ahead and let you figure it out – it shouldn’t be too hard!

Just one small thing: “LCP” is the abbreviation I will use in this series for my Limited Card Pool. I will denote if a card I consider fine is in that pool (at the moment when I write this – that pool is changing over time, of course), and if not, why not.

Skyshroud Troll

Skyshroud Troll

This card is fine – nothing to fix here.

LCP – no, because it loses out in the crunch to Wolfir Avenger and Cudgel Troll.

Augur of Bolas

Augur of Bolas

Again, a perfectly fine card.

LCP – common.

Gray Ogre

Gray Ogre

While I have nothing against vanilla creatures in limited, and a 2/2 for three mana is never quite unplayable, it will always feel bad if you actually have to include it in your deck. Such cards should not exist. Also, a 2/2 is a bit small to portay an ogre, although that is an issue with creatures from Alpha in general, where bears were 2/2 and giants 3/3…

I believe a good basic concept for an Ogre has already been conveyed on an existing card:

Hulking Ogre

LCP – common.

Felidar Sovereign

Felidar Sovereign

I really dislike alternate win conditions, and I am not a big fan of cards which are bombs in limited, yet unplayable in competitive constructed. While I can accept the existence of strong rares in limited, they should not come with an alternate path to victory if their presence in combat alone is not enough to win the game. I’d rather have a powerful creature end the game directly via attacking if it cannot be dealt with.

What it boils down to is that I just want to streamline this design, while having it require a bit more of a commitment to White – some might call my version boring, but I consider it elegant (and it’s not as if an elegant card with this concept already existed!) It should also have a better shot at constructed than the original (excluding casual constructed, of course). Please note, though, that I design my cards for limited environments with access to a healthy amount of reliable removal – a description which does not really fit most modern environments.

Felidar Sovereign fixed

Cancel

Cancel

A fixed version of this card already exists. It’s called Counterspell! No, that is not overpowered – it just does not fit Wizards‘ current philosophy of making the game mainly about expensive permanents and catering to the preferences of bad players.

That aside, the card is okay in limited (although rather weak), so there’s nothing to fix about it in itself.

LCP – no, because I just use Counterspell, duh!

Blade Sliver

Blade Sliver

And yet another fine design. I explicitly like that it pumps all slivers – that is what slivers are (well, were) all about! The old slivers also add a very unique and interesting dynamic to a limited environment.

LCP – staple common.

False Orders

False Orders

Hey – I already fixed that card!

Belbe’s Percher

Belbe's Percher

A bit weaker than necessary, but still fine for limited.

LCP – no, because of several more attractive options, and because the “high-flyer” ability feels more at home in Blue.

Stun Sniper

Stun Sniper

Completely fine again!

LCP – uncommon.

Twisted Image

Twisted Image

Also fine.

LCP – no, because it lost out in the cantrip crunch, and I already use Inside Out.

Tracker’s Instincts

Tracker's Instincts

Fine, although I do not especially like the dynamics of off-colored flashback costs

LCP – no, for the aforementioned reason.

Whirling Dervish

Whirling Dervish

Protection from a color just does not play well in limited. That issue is exacerbated because this card is quite weak unless this protection matters. I found another way to express the dervish’s ability to avoid harm, while making its strength less dependant on it. One thing I cannot mend, however, ist that neither the mechanical concept of the card nor its art have anything to do with real dervishes or their whirling.

Whirling Dervish

Hindering Light

Hindering Light

Perfectly fine.

LCP – common.

Marshal’s Anthem

Marshal's Anthem

I dislike a bit how unrelated the two effects on this card are, but other than that, this is a good design hitting a good power level for a rare.

LCP – no, because I have enough anthem effects and resurrection effects and prefer to keep those separate.

Karplusan Yeti

Karplusan Yeti

From a limited vantage point, this is a tad too strong for my taste, although I admire this card’s elegance (but not its artwork). I do not believe it is so overpowered that it needs to be fixed, though.

LCP – no, because it is too powerful and suppressive, and I prefer the more moderate green version of that effect on Tracker.

Illusionary Mask

Illusionary Mask

And another card I already fixed!

Tuknir Deathlock

Tuknir Deathlock

Some say the mana costs of the legendary creatures from the Legends set have been assigned randomly, and seeing this creature, I wouldn’t want to argue. Ignoring the mana symbols, this is a Nantuko Disciple with flying. Why is that red-green, and why does it need to be uncastable? I have no clue.

I have decided to keep a card’s color identity when fixing it, so I gave Tuknir an ability which fits better with his identity.

Tuknir Deathlock

 

That is it for this time!

 

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2 Comments on “Fixing random cards, part 1”

  1. Simon Rau Says:

    Great Idea! I love looking at random cards, too. And reading other player’s thoughts about them is great. Keep going


  2. Random cards are a good idea, since I might know more of them and actually go back on my own experiences when comparing them to your designs.

    As for Counterspell: I like the card too and think it wouldn’t be overpowered, especially in Modern. But I can understand, why Wizards doesn’t print it in Standard sets anymore: There are no universial answers at 2 CMC anymore (at least without are drawback or jumping through hoops). One could argue that’s the overlaying problem, but with that as the baseline, I’m okay with Counterspell being split up in Negate and Essence Scatter.

    Though I admit, Essence Scatter is criminaly underreprinted, which might the same problem you adressed: Can’t have players getting their “exciting” creatures countered for 2 CMC…


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