The Great Designer Search 2 Finalists: Shawn Main

Posted in Feature on February 9, 2011

By Staff

Shawn Main

Doom of Wodotha

Spread the Blight

MR: You correctly got the word blight into the title. I might have made a pun out of it but that has nothing to do with Intro Deck names and a lot to do with my love of puns and the easiness of making a pun out of blight. (Let There Be Blight, Blinded By the Blight, etc.) Perhaps it's a good thing they don't let me name Intro Decks.

1 Crumbling Wasteland
12 Forest
12 Swamp

2 Blightsky Elemental
1 Blightthorn Vines
1 Bone Courier
2 Deathgreeter
3 Doom Herald
1 Gravechatter Rat
2 Hungry Horror
2 Omen Vulture
1 Purveyor of Corruption
2 Runeclaw Bear
2 Venturesome Gatherer
1 Void Dragon
2 Worldedge Sentinel

Noncreature spells
2 Agonizing Fate
1 Deal with the Damned
2 Fog
2 Harrowing Horizons
2 Impending Doom
1 Nether Beacon
1 Predator's Strike
1 Savage Victory
1 Shadowsplit Axe
1 Unweave the World

List of Cards

Blightsky Elemental (Uncommon)
Creature – Elemental Horror
When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, you may blight target creature with flying. (Destroy all permanents with blight counters on them, then put a blight counter on target creature.)
Creatures with blight counters on them lose flying.

KEN: There's weirdness here where two of these can't actually kill a lone flying creature. Extra bad things for blighted permanents is design space I was anticipating, but I was expecting Wanderlust-style effects. It's more of a set two thing, but Doom of Wodotha feels like a singleton large expansion so I'll get on board.

GTH: He was always a Hill Giant, but I appreciated the gesture. He seems like a decent sideboard option, but as a heavy restriction on a parasitic mechanic I'm not sure it would appeal to many players.

TML: Let's talk about blight for a little bit. Overall, I found it rather miserable to play with. I had this enormous pile of cards that read and played to me like "Do half of what you want to do." I don't want to blight things, I want to kill them. Especially frustrating were spells that blighted things, when I am used to playing with spells that outright kill things. The blight cards collected together, rather than alleviate this problem, made me feel like I was fighting someone while knee-deep in molasses.

This individual card isn't so bad, though, as it does something immediately with the blight counter. That's good.

MR: One of the problems we talked about after the last submission was making blight work in decks that were not completely dedicated to blight. This card is nice in that it has a function even if no other blight card gets played in that it grounds a flying creature. What I feel Tom is responding to is that blight is a mechanic that requires all sorts of things working on many levels to have the right feel. Right now, the mechanic feels more molasses-y because you haven't found the right tweaks to make it hit the right level of activity. I believe the potential for it to hit the right level is there, but if this were a real design you'd have a lot of work ahead of you.

Blightthorn Vines (Uncommon)
Creature – Plant Horror
Whenever CARDNAME deals damage to a creature, if that creature is on the battlefield, blight that creature. (Destroy all permanents with blight counters on them, then put a blight counter on the damaged creature.)

KEN: You've done exactly what I said to do here. You took the "blighttouch" creature and made it a defender so it's impossible for two of these to get into a fight with each other. That's a significant amount of weirdness eliminated. You put "if it's on the battlefield" to try to eliminate the weirdness of blocking a 1-toughness creature with a blight counter on it.

However, I wish you took it a step further. I wish you'd made it a zero-power defender that blights anything it blocks.

GTH: A wall that kills whatever it blocked last time seems pretty fun on its own, so I may play this without much other blight support. I wished the toughness were higher but agree that this could be frustrating if too high.

TML: This card also wasn't so bad to play with, as it doesn't really cost you anything to block a little creature with it. Unfortunately, it is really bad to read. The line "if that creature is on the battlefield" is really awful. I figured out why you used it—you don't want to kill all the other blighted guys if the wall killed a 1-toughness creature—but it leads to a hideous and bizarre template. Why wouldn't the creature be on the battlefield? It's a creature! In combat! That's where those creatures are!

If you have to use an awkward template to get something across, you need to think long and hard about whether or not that thing is worth doing. I don't think this one is worth it.

MR: Another challenge I gave you was to find ways to have blight happen multiple times on one card. While I like that you were exploring different ways to do this, this card does have the problem that if it kills a 1-toughness creature, the creature won't be around when the trigger resolves meaning that no blighting will happen. You can solve this by making Blightthorn Vines blight on blocking rather than damage.

All of this comes with the caveat that we really don't know how blight will work under the rules. For example, the two parts of blight might be dependent on one another or might be independent. If this was a real design, the lead designer would talk to the Rules Manager to understand the practical applications based on the most likely implementation.

Bone Courier (Common)
[Reverse Gravedigger by Unbrokencircle,
Creature - Zombie
When CARDNAME is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, return another target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.

KEN: Death trigger Gravedigger. It had to be done!

GTH: I enjoyed being able to just cast this without worrying about the graveyard state at that moment, which is different from Gravedigger. I felt clever sacrificing this in a Deal with the Damned.

TML: Sure. This is a nice card that we will make one day.

MR: I like this card. I've put this card in multiple designs. One day it might see print. Blight being the focus of the set is going to increase the number of permanents getting put into the graveyard, I like that you're thinking about making sure there are ways to get some of it back.

Deathgreeter (Common)
[Shards of Alara]
Creature – Human Shaman
Whenever another creature is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you may gain 1 life.

KEN: I still like this reprint.

GTH: Deathgreeter is a good reprint for this deck.

TML: Fine.

MR: This seems like a good reprint. I do like the "death matters" theme in general.

Doom Herald (Common)
Creature - Horror
When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, you may blight target creature. (Destroy all permanents with blight counters on them, then put a blight counter on target creature.)

KEN: Your bread and butter common, it blights and fights.

GTH: I'm glad to see the simple common blight card. I like that it's powerful enough to actually kill creatures even if the blight isn't helping you. I also like that there's three copies of this card in the deck to help you chain them for fast impact. Is a three-mana 3-power guy with blight too good for common? I have a little difficulty gauging blight's power, even after a handful of games.

TML: Okay.

MR: If I was leading this design, I would try to see if I could avoid making any blight card that didn't have a function alone. I might not be able to, but I'm quite interested if it's possible. For example, I think I'd make this card trigger on entering the battlefield and going to the graveyard.

Gravechatter Rat (Common)
[Mindwiper by Demons,
Creature - Rat
When CARDNAME is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, target player discards a card.

KEN: This is a lot of death triggers as per the deck theme.

GTH: I like how this card lets your opponent pay the price when ready. Too many "when CARDNAME is put into a graveyard from the battlefield" cards could make a deck seem weak and uninteresting to many players, so I like the small handful you've thrown into this deck. There's enough to keep the theme fairly smooth.

TML: This is another card we will make one day. I am pleased.

MR: I like it. Death triggers feel right at home in this set.

Hungry Horror (Uncommon)
Creature – Horror
B, Sacrifice a creature: CARDNAME gets +1/+1 and gains flying until end of turn.

KEN: I was definitely expecting a Husk of some kind. It's got the Dreadwing ability where the first activation is better than the other activations. I like it combined here rather than breaking the ability into two abilities.

GTH: Here is the first of the "sacrifice my creatures" cards I was expecting. I may argue that this is the simplest incarnation, despite being repeatable. I expected Harrowing Horizons to be uncommon and this to be common. I like how this encourages you to eat one creature each turn, which is different from Vampire Aristocrat.

TML: This reads unappealingly, but will teach people about getting value from death triggers. Not every card needs to be appealing on the surface, and the lessons this card teaches are worth the cost of making a weird-looking card. I appreciate that you put this as an uncommon though.

MR: While sacrificing a creature is very flavorful and combos nicely with death triggers, it does do one thing that you want to be conscious off. Blight creates a cool chain of effects. Creature sacrifice can break this chain by allowing players to sacrifice the thing about to be blighted thus stopping the blight effect from happening. Part of picking a focus for your set is not only supporting it but also reducing the things that naturally prey on it. The easiest way around this is to limit when you can sacrifice the creature. Another way, which you did slightly here, is to require mana so there are moments of vulnerability.

This ties into another issue that I'll bring up here because it connects. I feel like blight needs to spread, at times, in greater bursts than one. I really would like to see some cards that blight multiple targets (probably at uncommon but maybe even at common). I would like to see some later game moments where a single blight can have huge consequences. The reason this is important here is that these cards might need multiple targets which gets even muckier if its easy to sacrifice your permanents out of the way.

Omen Vulture (Uncommon)
Creature – Horror Bird
When CARDNAME enters the battlefield or is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you may blight target creature. (Destroy all permanents with blight counters on them, then put a blight counter on target creature.)

KEN: A bigger version of the Doom Herald. Would it be cooler if the death trigger blight was instead sacrifice to blight?

GTH: This guy appears to be the centerpiece of the deck. He often did as much blight work as everything else combined, using tricks such as Bone Courier and Deal with the Damned. He also did a lot of chump blocking due to his size and effects, which I think is a good thing. This is a card that you may play as a single in a non-blight deck.

TML: I would want to make this 1/1 so that it actually died pretty often. As a 2/2, it's not clear whether I am supposed to attack with this or use it as a delayed blast Terror.

MR: You seem to be embracing my birth and death trigger suggestion by pulling it from rare down to uncommon. My note today is keep going. I believe, you're not done lowering its commonality yet. It is quite possible Omen Vulture is your Cave Bear. (That's a reference to Ethan's first creature with his current evolve mechanic.)

Purveyor of Corruption (Rare)
[by shdwcat,
Creature - Demon
Whenever a creature is put into an opponent's graveyard from the battlefield, you may pay B. If you do, put a 3/3 black Horror creature token onto the battlefield.

KEN: A nicely placed rare for a deck full of blighting your opponent's creatures. A bit strange that this looks at the opponent's battlefield but Deathgreeter at common looks at the entire battlefield. We normally don't subset cards that are that thematically close. I like this card regardless, though.

GTH: At first I was a little confused from having both "whenever a creature is put into an opponent's graveyard" and "whenever another creature is put into a graveyard" at the same time. I also was a little sad that all my "whenever this card is put into a graveyard" cards didn't trigger my fancy rare. Once the blight got rolling, it was pretty fun spitting out horrors. With 5 power I wish its toughness were raised a bit so it was encouraged to attack also.

TML: "You may pay " is fidgety to me. I understand that you don't want it to happen every time, but I would want the mana cost phrase to read like upside rather than downside. I would do this like Kazuul instead. Make your opponent pay for you to not have a guy! That way, you win either way.

MR: This card both fits the set well and is an exciting Intro Deck rare. It feels pretty demon-y and played well in the deck. My one complaint is the same that Ken and Graeme bring up which is you have to pick what deaths you care about and then be consistent.

Runeclaw Bear (Common)
[Magic 2011]
Creature – Bear

KEN: Vanilla quota +1!

GTH: I'm always happy to see this card. The game play is great, and the card is easy to identify as one to upgrade. Its flavor stands out a bit amongst the death and horror of this deck, which may be intentional if it's intended to be sacrificed.

TML: I try to put 3 vanillas in instead of 2, but I'm glad you put this in. Some of your colleagues had 0!

MR: You remembered that Intro Decks, more than any other product, need to be beginner friendly.

Venturesome Gatherer (Common)
[Tasty Fruit Plant by Toby,
Creature – Elf
T: Add G to your mana pool.
When CARDNAME is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, draw a card.

KEN: We've hit a glut here of a kind of card I dislike. This is the Spikey style of card design—like a resource trading game. Venturesome Gatherer costs mana and a card so it should give back mana and a card. I understand that's the nature of this Intro Deck, but don't forget the Timmy Wooly Thoctar style of card designs with dream best-case scenarios of just smashing your opponent.

GTH: Another green creature with an odd flavor for the deck. The direct death trigger telling you to eat your little elf sure was fun. I would think this card reads attractively to many players.

TML: Huh. This card is powerful, but not in an obvious way. I bet most people will look at this and not be excited. I, on the other hand, am looking forward to accelerating on turns 3-5 and then cashing this in for a card. Be careful about putting power in such sneaky places.

MR: This card feels a little strange to me, but I can see where it fits. I'm not sure if you gave any big picture thoughts to your death triggers. Is it a black and green thing or is it in all colors and we're just seeing the two colors in this deck?

Void Dragon (Premium Rare)
Creature - Dragon Horror
Whenever CARDNAME attacks, blight target creature defending player controls. (Destroy all permanents with blight counters on them, then put a blight counter on target creature.)

KEN: An attacking Visara, nice! Probably art of a bone dragon or something great poking through the box. The defending player clause I feel is correct given multiplayer implications. I dislike that Teneb the Harvester can hit one player and steal from another player.

It's hard to not like this card, given that blight passes the mustard as a major mechanic.

GTH: As a black dragon horror that breathes blight, it's certainly splashy and a good fit for the premium centerpiece of the deck. I was hoping at some point to see a card that put more than one blight counter on things at once. Right in the reminder text it says, "Destroy all permanents" giving you the dream of having more than one counter out at a time. I saw a mythic rare in your earlier work do this, but with a parasitic mechanic I'd be inclined to give players one of the marquee cards right off the bat.

TML: After playing with blight, I would want the premium rare to not have anything to do with it. You're supposed to think that the premium rare does something unique and awesome and cool. Blight is kind of lame feeling to me, so I'd try to keep it off my spotlight card. This, by the way, is not a good sign for blight.

MR: An attack trigger seems like a good place for blight. I wasn't sure why it needs the "defending player controls" text as you have very little incentive to blow up your own creatures, but I am not as multiplayer minded as Ken. The only thing I don't quite get is why the dragon is in black rather than red. Is that an issue of how blight is distributed? If we were continuing with this world, I'd ask you to present me your blight plan. (That's how awesome blight is, you get puns out of it without trying.)

Worldedge Sentinel (Common)
[by Toby,
Creature – Giant Warrior

KEN: Vigilance + size is a great combo.

GTH: I like it when green has a common creature that strongly rewards you for going green. In this deck the Giant Warrior seems a bit odd, but it plays a few roles. It's a strong card that players could enjoy even though it has nothing to do with the deck. Or, it could be an easy choice to replace with another blight card.

TML: This is a Magic card. It played kind of board-dominating for a common, but I don't mind it if this is one of green's best commons in a set.

My favorite part of this card is the in the mana cost. If I'm going to make this card, I want it to be for green players. Two green mana in the mana cost is a great way to do that.

MR: While your green cards fit okay, they don't give me much of a sense of what void green fills in your world. You've done a great job fleshing out blight mechanically, but I really want to get a better sense of who is in your world that's being eaten by the blight.

Agonizing Fate (Common)
Blight target creature. That creature's controller loses life equal to the creature's toughness. (Destroy all permanents with blight counters on them, then put a blight counter on target creature.)

KEN: Is this a place to make more blighted things matter? Count every blighted thing's toughness? Another card was trying to do this—how about piling on the Soul Bleeds so the blight counter matters more? After all, the blight mechanic removes +1/+1 counter design space for this set.

GTH: Does the life loss work when you target a creature with a blight counter already on it? I'd have to ask someone to be sure. It felt odd to end of turn cast this instant Lava Axe + Terminate, especially since it strangely left the targeted creature still around. I wonder what this would be like as an Aura with "When this enters the battlefield blight enchanted creature. When enchanted creature is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, its controller loses life equal to its toughness."

TML: This reads, and plays, to me like "Destroy target creature. Just kidding, actually don't. Maybe next turn." It made me wish I just had Doom Blade.

MR: I like you adding effects so that the spell does something even if nothing dies to the blight. Another issue you would need to monitor is the volume of kill spells. My gut is that supporting blight means you have to up the number by some amount (playtesting would tell you how much).

Crumbling Wasteland (Uncommon)
T: Add 1 to your mana pool.
3, T, Sacrifice CARDNAME: Blight target creature with power 3 or less. (Destroy all permanents with blight counters on them, then put a blight counter on target creature.)

KEN: We've got a Mouth of Ronom-style land. Colorless utility lands like this can help increase the power level of mono-color decks. It's nice to see this kind of thing from design since it's often development that notices FFL mana bases needing some spice.

I appreciate the fatty-loving clause but it might not be needed considering it takes two blights to actually do something.

GTH: It's very risky to put this effect on a land. Even when I reminded my opponents when I played it, they sometimes would walk into a trap right there on the board.

TML: I don't like putting tricky lands in Intro Packs. Most people forget about their lands' non-mana abilities. For example, only 50% of Panoramas I saw played at the Shards of Alara Prerelease were ever actually popped. Just stick to basic lands.

MR: You were the only designer to design a land for their intro deck. I like the flavor of this being a land, but I agree with the other judges that surprises sitting out in the open often create bad play moments. Restricting the effect to smaller creatures made for some interesting gameplay. I think I like having blight cards restricted in what they can target forcing the players to work sometimes to get rid of the card they want to get rid of.

Deal with the Damned (Uncommon)
Return target creature card from a graveyard to the battlefield under your control. Then sacrifice a creature.

KEN: Now I have to bash this fatty-hating card even though it's thematic for the Intro Pack. A one-shot Recurring Nightmare is a fine card, but three-mana reanimation puts a huge constraint on Iona-level fatties we can print alongside it.

GTH: Enabling tricks galore, this card is very exciting. In this deck the sacrifice is usually bonus. This is interesting in an intro deck, as it's a card that gives a newer player a chance to feel clever. The deck's theme pushes you towards assuming you'll get a card from your graveyard. But when you figure out it works from anyone's graveyard, that's a fun moment.

TML: This is a cool card. Some of our FFL playtesters would go nuts trying to make this work, and even get it killed. I don't actually know if they would succeed.

MR: Here's where flavor runs into mechanics, or put another way where Vorthos and Melvin have to fight. The flavor says that you want to sacrifice the creature before you animate the other, but reversing it allows some neat tricks where the card you sacrifice is the card you bring back. I would lean towards Vorthos on this unless playtesting showed that you're really going to want to do the Melvin trick a decent percentage of the time.

Fog (Common)
[Magic 2011]
Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this turn.

KEN: Kill-all-your-creatures death-triggers-on-my-creatures don't really mesh with having a Fog effect, but ok.

GTH: A creature with a blight counter is more likely to attack. Since it's already marked for death, you're likely to either chump or not block. The creatures in the deck answer the first, and Fog answers the second.

TML: Hooray! I like this. Part of why I like it is that it's actually not very good. One of the stealth lessons we try to put into Intro Packs is that sometimes a card isn't actually worth playing in a deck. You're not trying to stall for anything in particular, so Fog isn't worth much to you. Eventually, someone might figure that out, cut the Fog for something else, and be on their way toward a happy lifetime of designing decks.

MR: This card totally saved me in a game against Scott's deck when he cast Incite Anarchy. This story will be quite funny when you get to Scott's commentary.

Harrowing Horizons (Common)
[Blight Harrow by Demons,
As an additional cost to cast CARDNAME, sacrifice a creature.
Search your library for a basic land card and put it onto the battlefield. Then shuffle your library.

KEN: I liked this Goblin Grenade / Perilous Forays well enough, but we normally make this kind of card care about the creature involved. You end up with an uncommon or higher card when you care about power or color here.

GTH: This card seems fairly complex to me. It is instant speed and involves sacrifice as the cost, much like Harrow. However, Harrow sacrifices a land, which almost becomes invisible to most players because you're getting more land. This sacrifices a creature, which is a very different cost for most people. Of course you're going to sacrifice your Gravechatter Rat, but that just adds to the complexity of when to use. Especially considering that the land enters the battlefield untapped so the spell is free while it fixes your mana. There is a lot going on here, and I wonder if it is really common.

TML: I don't like this card at all. As a competitive player, this is quite unappealing. I don't want to sacrifice a guy to accelerate. For a new player, this will be confusing because it is a spell that costs one mana that can't be played on turn one. I think this card is a miss.

MR: While I get what you're going for here, I have a few issues. First, I don't like cheap land fetching that you can't use early. The point of putting it into the set is to help the player with the one or two land draw. This card can create some "feel bad" moments.

Second, this is another instant sacrifice a creature effect. This one isn't as bad as it's a one-shot, but I think you need to figure out what preys on blight and make sure you have it at the level you want.

Impending Doom (Common)
[Blight of the Damned by Toby,
Enchantment – Aura
Enchant creature
At the beginning of your upkeep, blight enchanted creature. (Destroy all permanents with blight counters on them, then put a blight counter on enchanted creature.)

KEN: A nice card that actually gets the blight action to go all the way. It also cleans itself off the battlefield unlike a Pacifism.

GTH: There were a few double-takes and "wait, it doesn't work like that does it" moments playing this. Blight already is a "mark you to be killed later" mechanic, and this was "mark you to be marked to be killed later."

TML: "Two turns from now, destroy enchanted creature." I did not enjoy playing with this card.

MR: I liked how this card played. It works in a vacuum but is much better in a dedicated blight deck. Different strokes for different folks, I mean judges.

Nether Beacon (Uncommon)
[Void Sphere by Havelock Vetinari,
When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, blight target nonland permanent. (Destroy all permanents with blight counters on them, then put a blight counter on target nonland permanent.)
6, Sacrifice CARDNAME: Blight target nonland permanent.

KEN: I think the "appealing design space" of blight is telling; this card tries hard to unparasitize blight like many other designs. "Destroy target creature" is more to the point, creates good gameplay, and we do it multiple times every set. "Choose one – mark target creature; or destroy target marked creature" is cool enough for Hunter of Eyeblights but I'm getting more and more convinced it's not something to hang a set on.

GTH: Unlike Crumbling Wasteland, this card was not forgotten once on the battlefield. Also, artifact planeswalker removal isn't something you see every day. This card had a good flavor and felt like it could be a rare, perhaps tweaked.

TML: The numbers on this are very high. As a package, it feels extra medium.

MR: My only downside to this card is how easy is it to deal with enchantments. In general, we try to keep artifacts from doing it too well. My gut is that this level's okay, but I'd watch out for it in playtesting.

Predator's Strike (Common)
Target creature gets +3/+3 and gains trample until end of turn.

KEN: I trample over your blighted creature?

GTH: My creatures, in general, were on the weak side, so having any Giant Growth effect was always welcome. However, I would expect this particular one to be paired with large creatures to make the most out of trample. If my opponent had a blighted creature to block with, I would rather let blight continue than trample over it, killing it normally. That would lose my blight counter and I'd have to kickstart the process again.

TML: Sure.

MR: The fact that I'm not quite sure why you repeated this card is indicative that I don't quite get what you're doing with green here. The biggest hint is the names rather than the mechanics, which is a sign that it could use some tweaking.

Okay, I just read your write-up and came back. It's quite possible that this card is adding good gameplay. I'm not sure though whether this functionality warrants a repeat or is just something to weave into your set.

Savage Victory (Uncommon)
Whenever a creature is put into an opponent's graveyard from the battlefield, you may pay G. If you do, draw a card.

KEN: Hah, bonus for killing opponent's stuff! In general, I've come to like paying on effects like this (Mind's Eye) than paying C (a colored mana) since this effect can happen multiple times. and pay is what I'd do to reward a green player but not overly reward the mono-green player.

GTH: I had to keep blighting aggressively to keep up, so it was difficult to find a time to cast this card. I do think it's exciting, so I'd push the cost down to where it's played and see what happens. I like the idea of playing this in a Big Green deck against another creature deck.

TML: "You may pay cost. If you do ... " reads so bad to me these days. I try to avoid putting it in sets. The card seems fine otherwise.

MR: While I enjoy all the "death matters" going on, I caution you to be careful not to make the players have to monitor too many different things. Right now some cards care about your stuff dying and some care about your opponent's stuff dying. This is another global system that you need to look at holistically.

Shadowsplit Axe (Uncommon)
Artifact – Equipment
Equip 2
Equipped creature gets +2/+0 and can't be blocked except by two or more creatures.

KEN: I blight your stuff, then attack past it. A nice deck inclusion since your opponent will be quite compelled to block with their blighted creature.

GTH: This helped get the creatures in the deck through for damage, which they needed because of their smaller size.

TML: I feel like you're trying to make a flavorful Equipment here, but I have no idea what the flavor of this is. Echo Circlet and Darksteel Axe work separately, but what are they together? This confuses me. It will, of course, work just fine, but I think you might want to put a simpler card in your Intro Pack deck.

MR: Nice solid design, flavorful and plays well. Good job.

Unweave the World (Common)
Choose one or both- Destroy target artifact or enchantment; and/or blight target artifact or enchantment. (Destroy all permanents with blight counters on them, then put a blight counter on target artifact or enchantment.)

KEN: I see you've changed this card based on judge critique. The one time in playtesting this effect came up, I wanted the effects in the other order.

Once again, this is a blight card that goes extra lengths to make blight stand on its own. A good effort but maybe it's telling about blight in general.

GTH: Another complex common, but blight tends to do that. If there are two targets, then the choice is just which to destroy now. If there is only one, you may have another blight counter somewhere that turns this into creature removal (even though it says "artifact and enchantment" three times and "creature" zero times).

TML: I'm trying to figure out some kind of quasi-flavorful justification for this, and I'm having trouble. So far all I've seen is creatures getting blighted, which makes sense. I don't know what is going on when you start going after other permanents.

MR: One of the things I'd try is to see if "blight and blight again" can be templated to read well. If not, I guess you go with a template like this, but this card feels like it would read better if it was double blight.


After challenge 4, I wanted to work on blight designs that stood on their own while simultaneously building a deck to take advantage of their inherent synergy. I started with MaRo's suggestion for a creature that blighted both on entering the battlefield and dying. I made it a small flier so it wouldn't be held back in perpetual defense and was less likely to create three-for-one scenarios. From there I looked at cards that would blight multiple times, such as on attack triggers (Void Dragon), on damage (Blightthorn Vines), or at high cost (Nether Beacon). The complexity and potential for card advantage skewed these cards toward uncommon and rare, so I'm happy that Impending Doom works as a common, providing slow inevitable destruction on its own, while triggering other blight effects and being sped along by them. From there I looked at cards that could function as blight + connected effect (like Blight Delirium from challenge 4). This led to Agonizing Fate, Unweave the World, and Blightsky Elemental.

Around this core, there are cards to capitalize on death (Deathgreeter, Savage Victory, Purveyor of Corruption) and some that make it difficult for doomed creatures to chump block (Predator's Strike, Shadowsplit Axe). Finally, the deck has cards that fit its strategy of creeping inevitability (Worldedge Sentinel, Fog) as well as the death triggers prevalent in Wodotha.

And, as this will be posted publicly, I want to thank everyone who took the time to design, comment, and playtest for GDS2. I'm very humbled.

KEN: This Intro Pack deck definitely had a feel all its own. The blight action keyword is like delayed creature destruction that leaves you enough time to taunt the creature with its demise. The other cards care about death even though they seem engineered to fight against blight (Gravechatter Rats) rather than directly complement it.

The game-play was as expected—blight many things, don't touch the blighted thing and hope to draw another blight card. While I have qualms about the Wodotha set design having enough "meat" to sink my teeth into, it's more than enough for this Intro Deck exercise. Once again, good job using what you were given.

GTH: Spread the Blight is certainly a compelling deck title, and easily using the mechanic name is a plus. Blight itself is a very strange concept with a somewhat complex implementation. I noticed several people making mistakes because of misunderstanding exactly what was going to happen with blight counters.

Once the deck got rolling it was enjoyable to see the tide turn in army size. The Purveyor of Corruption helped this a lot, since I was throwing most of my creatures away or recycling them.

I like seeing blight cards that could stand on their own, considering how parasitic the base idea is. The other cards were fun during Sealed, but I doubt they'd have much to offer people who like to play with their current decks. They'd most likely just keep playing Nekrataal.

I have concern that blight would be difficult to expand much beyond this deck. You could tack on blight to any number of cards, but that would get boring fast.

TML: I did not enjoy playing with this deck. Blight frustrated me a lot, as every blight did half of what I wanted it to do. I just wanted to kill stuff, and the delayed blast that blight had was really frustrating. I believe that a new player would also find this frustrating, as there's no reason that there needs to be two steps to kill something in someone's first game of Magic. I would not be proud to present this deck to a new player.

If you handed off a set to me with blight as one of the mechanics, I would push back and try to have it removed. None of the individual blight cards read well to me, which led to a large number of negative comments on the cards. The blight cards also all felt very similar to me. Magic is a card game, so we have to put the spotlight on the cards when we are trying to sell it. Almost none of the blight cards read well to me, and that's scary to someone who has to craft a design into a final product.

MR: Shawn, You have been saddled with one of the most difficult world concepts to weave into mechanics. The fact that you did so is a real testament to your design skill. Your Intro Deck isn't going to win any awards but then you were essentially forced to make a blight deck which at its best is never going to make a great Intro Deck. I did find your deck fun to play but it was by far the busiest of the four decks and had the most fidgetiness to it.

The thing I enjoy about you as a designer is that you try very hard to find multiple options to each problem you're trying to solve. It's clear that you spend a great deal of time evaluating the problem and tracking down solutions. My biggest complaint in this area is that you are a little more timid than you need to be. (I understand that the act of being judged makes people design a little more conservatively.) To make blight work, you're going to have to push against some conventions. While you're doing some of this, if we were building more of your world I would urge you to be more aggressive in your experimentation.

All in all though, you have really stepped up as a designer. I found myself always being excited to see what you came up with for each challenge. Great work.

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