The Great Designer Search 2 Finalists: Jonathon Loucks

Posted in Feature on December 15, 2010

By magicthegathering.com Staff

Jonathon Loucks

Epolith

It's evolution or extinction when hours pass in the blink of an eye.

Common Cycle:

CW01 – Omeisaurus
4WW
Creature – Lizard
5/6

CU01 – Baryonyx
4UU
Creature – Lizard
5/5

CB01 – Marshosaurus
4BB
Creature – Lizard
6/5

CR01 – Afrovenator
[Allosaur - http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs_talk:Gds/gds2/l...
4RR
Creature – Lizard
7/4

CG01 – Hadrosaurus
4GG
Creature – Lizard
6/6

Uncommon Cycle:

UW01 – Avant-garde Guard
[Sparkling Shield - http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs_talk:Gds/gds2/l...
1W
Instant
Target creature you control gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn.
If you control two or more colors of permanents, draw a card.

UU01 – Far Out
[Brain Drain - http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs_talk:Gds/gds2/l...
2U
Instant
All creatures target player controls get -2/-0 until end of turn.
If you control two or more colors of permanents, draw a card.

UB01 – Torturous Breakthrough
4B
Instant
Destroy target nonblack creature.
If you control two or more colors of permanents, draw a card.

UR01 – Cutting-edge Combustion
1R
Instant
Cutting-edge Combustion deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
If you control two or more colors of permanents, draw a card.

UG01 – Ground Breaking
2G
Instant
Target creature gets +3/+3 until end of turn.
If you control two or more colors of permanents, draw a card.

Rare Cycle:

RW01 – Overcome
[Starfall Omen
http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs_talk:Gds/gds2/l...
3WW
Sorcery
Preeminence – Destroy all creatures with power less than X, where X is the highest power among creatures you control.

RU01 – Overthink
4UUU
Sorcery
Preeminence – Draw X cards and untap up to X lands, where X is the highest power among creatures you control.

RB01 – Overtime
[Haunting Omen –
http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs_talk:Gds/gds2/l...
4BB
Sorcery
Preeminence – Put all creature cards with power less than X from your graveyard onto the battlefield, where X is the highest power among creatures you control.

RR01 – Overthrow
[Devastation Omen
http://community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/wiki/Labs_talk:Gds/gds2/l...
4RR
Sorcery
Preeminence – Each player sacrifices X permanents, where X is the highest power among creatures you control.

RG01 – Overwork
3GGG
Sorcery
Preeminence – Put X +1/+1 counters on each creature you control, where X is the highest power among creatures you control.

Commentary:

Dinosaurs! Mechanically these beasts not only power up Evolve (whenever a creature with a larger power enters the battlefield, get a +1/+1 counter) but preeminence as well. While each color doesn't normally get a common this large, each color needs tools to interact with one of this set's main themes. In the primitive world, size matters. In set two and three, we'll see Epolith developing more sophisticated weapons.

The uncommon cycle hints to the overarching theme in the Epolith block. In set 1 players are rewarded for controlling at least two colors of permanents – a primitive form of innovation. Since the goal is somewhat easy, the reward is somewhat primitive as well – drawing a card, or maybe a +1/+1 counter. In set 2, players are rewarded for controlling at least three colors of permanents – a more advanced goal. The tools have advanced (gold cards) as have the rewards, such as increasing the effect of a spell (like a Galvanic Blast). In set 3, the goal of four or more colors comes with an even better tool – hybrid. The rewards are even still greater – like a Giant Growth that's conditionally an Overrun.

With the Preeminence cycle I wanted to create cards that let players do something that felt broken. Something that they are normally not allowed to do – like one-sided mass reanimation, or the Urza's block 'free' mechanic. The goal is that these cards look powerful yet are balanced by the hefty additional cost of needing a high-powered creature.

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