Custom Magic devlog #3: Evolution of commons

Today we’re going to take a look at the white commons of my set. More importantly, we’re going to put them side to side with the older versions of themselves so we can see how they have evolved and I’ll explain the decisions that led to these changes. I really feel like I’m headed in the right direction for the first time, in terms of balance and mechanics and it’s a good motivator to keep going.

The 1st version is on the left, latest on the right.

White commons – King’s River custom MtG.

A Fair Warning

A Fair Warning

A Fair Warning – I changed the text, made it cheaper and added flavor text. I gotta say that this card is not popular at all in playtests but it’s needed for drafting purposes.

A Spear in Every Home

A Spear in Every Home

A Spear in Every Home – This card helped me clean up the Reserves mechanic. I also changed the way it works and the cost. I’m thinking of making a mirrored pair for other colors as well, something that could return to your hand depending on the condition.

Angels Watch

Angels Watch

Angel’s Watch – I think this card has a lot of potential. It wasn’t popular in playtests so I made it cheaper to make it more attractive to play. I’ve added a single-sentence flavor text, which I think I will keep doing on cards that showcase knights. I like when I see that sort of thing on real MtG cards. Also this card always reminds me of this song by Social Distortion.

Bone-Weapons Expert

Bone-Weapons Expert

Bone-Weapons Expert – I quite like this card too. It’s mostly there for world-building my D&D setting but it could work well in a two-color deck from my set since dinosaurs are mostly spread-out between green, red and white. Note that it’s a Half-Orc, a nod to D&D, and a Chreature. I love that the art is so dark on a white card.

Charge of the Bold

Charge of the Bold

Charge of the Bold – Appeared between playtest 1 and 2. Simple and straight-forward. You need cards like these for drafting. Great to build flavor as well.

justiciar portal

Cleansing Spark

Cleansing Spark

Cleansing Spark – The main inspiration was Justiciar’s Portal which I feel could kickstart a lot of combos and I wanted that level of possible creativity in my set. You can see that I removed “Target creature’s color is white” since I got rid of the “Colors matter” mentality altogether. It’s still a work in progress and a place holder for now, as the mechanic doesn’t make sense in its current iteration.

Deadly Volley

Dinosaur Tamer

Deadly Volley and Dinosaur Tamer remain unchanged for now, but I’ve added a dinosaur card at common to make Dinosaur Tamer better and dinosaurs more relevant to the set altogether. Most white dinos are in uncommon due to their size, so it was hard for my playtester to see Dinosaur Tamer’s utility while playtesting the commons only.

Farmer

The token for my Reserves mechanic. Trying to showcase the Asian influence of the set which is pretty hard. If I had access to custom art I could make it more prominent. This is actually a Chinese farmer, not a Vietnamese farmer (the inspiration for the homebrew D&D world) but I liked the painted style reminiscing of the old art styles of MtG.

Honor-Bound Knight

Guilt-Bound Knight

Honor-Bound Knight – Holy poops do I love that dude. I even made him up as a playable D&D 5e character. I changed him from a white card needing black to a stand-alone white card that solidifies “Tribes matter” for my deck. The flavor text also helps a bit with word-building the knights’ order of King’s River.

gideonsacrifice

Heroic Sacrifice

Heroic Sacrifice – This card appeared after I recently decided to re-work my mechanics. I might drop it later but I thought this was representing Knightly values very well.

High Walls

High Walls

High Walls – This card is as much world-building for D&D as it is for MtG. It’s a white artifact. I’m still working on artifacts and want to make them interesting since D&D loves loot and magic items. I decided to make it do something a bit more than just be a wall because it’s 2019 and there’s been hundreds of basic walls already.

Kings River Militia

Kings River Militia

King’s River Militia – Unchanged. A little interesting fact: It used to be called King’s River Reserves, and the white mechanic used to be called Militia, but I decided to change it for lore reasons. This card could use flavor text, methinks.

Luminicer Sword

Luminicer

Luminicer – I was trying to make a white wizard that uses blinding light and was looking for a word equivalent for what pyro is to fire. Google pointed me to luminis, which sounds like lumière, French for light. There’s supposed to be a French influence on the knights of the set, so that’s a small behind-the-scenes compromise for me. This card helps build the basic win-con of white also: contain your opponent until you have amassed an army of farmers led by knights, then attack. Luminicer’s Sword has been completely dropped from the set for now.

Noble Family Guardian

Noble Family Guardian

Obsidian Lizardman

Noble Family Guardian – Unchanged up until now. Nothing special about it, it exists for drafting purposes. It’s part of an unintentional mirrored pair and the star of a dumb video on the Saigon Geeks youtube channel.

Territorial-Hammerskull-Iconic-Masters

Parasaurus

Parasaurus

Parasaurus – I figured the absence of white dinosaurs at common was ludicrous (actually, that was a playtester’s complaint) so I looked at Ixalan for inspiration and remembered the all-powerful Territorial Hammerskull. I didn’t want to straight-up copy it so I tried to mirror the card. The playtester in question, contributor to the blog Jesse Rebock loves Parasaurolophuses so I went ahead and did a bit of fan service. Following a redditor’s suggestions I made it a bit more expensive to cast.

Prince Hawk

Prince Hawk

Prince Hawk – Small flying creatures have become a staple in white so I felt that I simply had to make one. I called it the Prince Hawk because nobility and royalty are heavy themes in my homebrew D&D world. King’s River, Queen’s Grove, Prince Hawk, etc. I’ve come to realize that small common cards like these are the actual foundations of your set, flavor-wise. I inverted its power and toughness to make it more lethal.

Rice Farmer

Rice Farmer

Rice Farmer – To me, this is the poster boy for the white color of this set. It has changed quite a fair bit while retaining its essence. First, it’s now a human farmer rather than a simple farmer. This was to demonstrate that other creature types like orcs were more inclined to take up a sword rather than a plow. I’ve also decided to put the reserves mechanic on it to make mechanics more prominent at common. Note that the mechanics of my custom set tend to keep the same basic functionality but are not stiff, they are slightly mutable.

Shock Cavalry

Shock Cavalry

Shock Cavalry – I don’t know why but I loooove this little dude. Well, I know why… It’s a freakin’ Drabonborn jouster (the only one in the set) riding a feathery raptor! I really need to start crediting the artists for their amazing work… The art for this card was done by Will O Brien.

Summer Games

Summer Games – This card appeared just recently and hasn’t seen a lot of playtesting. I needed something at common who could boost farmers and create counters. I know it doesn’t say “farmers you control” and that’s intentional – only red has another farmer. Why not invite him to your summer games?

Here are some of the white cards that have been dropped, modified, or moved up the rarity ladder following playtesting and re-designs.

Dragoon

Dragoon

Dragoon – A very popular card among friends and one that got redditors talking. Ultimately though, a FF card set in a D&D setting showcased in a Mtg set is pushing it a bit, so I dropped it in favor of more relevant things.

Domesticated Triceratops

Domesticated Triceratops – The first big white creature. Turns out it made green players jealous! It has since been moved to uncommon.

Kuyos Cantine

Kuyo’s Cantine – For anyone who lives or has traveled Asia, you know how prevalent street food is, so I quite loved making this card. However, this creature was part of the culling of the set I did recently in an effort to be more creative. It might return.

Militia Crossbowman

Militia Crossbowman – I used the artist details of the pointy ears to make this creature a Half-Elf (showing that King’s River is a town with diversity) but ultimately this card was a simple place-holder and lore builder and was replaced. There’s different iterations of it which I cannot find at the moment.

Town Priest

Town Priest

Town Priest – When I first started designing the set I drew inspiration from the Ravnica sets which usually have guild mages and the likes, so I wanted to have a sort of side-line magic caster for each color. The Luminicer eventually took this Town Priest’s place at common (I figured I already had enough “Prevent damage”) and following playtesting, figured I had enough token pumpers as well.

Triceratops Rider

Triceratops Rider – Another creature too big for common, it has been moved to uncommon for now and the type has been changed to Dinosaur Rider to help with tribes synergy. Its ability is being reworked as well.

veteranarmorer.jpg

Veteran Armorer

Veteran Armorer – This is straight up a “reprint” of a previous card. After I realized that my set had more in common with the Lorwyn block (back when colors mattered) I looked up the card list for this set and attempted to fill holes the lazy way until I could figure out better things.

Wholesome Hero

Neighborhood Hero

Wholesome Hero / Neighborhood Hero – This card got an “aww” from Jesse and I just love the art and the card’s feeling in general. She reminds people to be good simply by being there. I did get rid of the color change stuff though when I changed the black mechanic but I didn’t want to lose this thicc hero. For now it sits at uncommon with an undefined ability.

And there you have it folks! This post turned out to be a load of fun to write and was useful as well, even if a bit time-consuming. As always, feel free to share any Magigrammar mistakes you spot, thoughts, inspiration, concerns about global warming or happy thoughts in the comments.

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