Previewing Riggers in Pheris: Mythics!

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Tue, 2017-02-28 23:25
marioware2
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Doctors say I'm the illest

Doctor

'Cause I'm suffering from realness

Suffering

Got my Riggers in Pheris

Rigger

And they going gorillas, huh!?




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© Ghastlydarkworld on DeviantArt


Set 1 of 2 of the Pheris block
Cards: 197
Development & Design: marioware2
Announcement Date: February 28, 2017
Anticipated Release Date: March 28, 2017

Disclaimer
I know I have a set previewing already, but those previews were always intended on being short-lived and are very close to being over. I finished this set right as Kaladesh was announced, and it tread on the ground I was walking on pretty hard, so I shelved this for awhile. Now that Kaladesh hype has died (along with all the Contraption sets that inexplicably popped up around the same time), I figured it was a good time to get this one out there!

(Also, I've been waiting to use that introduction for a LONG time and I was getting antsy.)

Wed, 2017-03-01 01:04
jacqui-pup
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oh gosh

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Wed, 2017-03-01 04:12
ThisisSakon
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Rigger Mortis


Wed, 2017-03-01 08:04
HerziQuerzi
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nice

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Wed, 2017-03-01 08:13
fluffyDeathbringer
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Consummate's a nice mechanic, and I'm interested to know about all these new proper nouns that have popped up.

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Wed, 2017-03-01 10:19
Guitarweeps
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lol

Some type of lotus I see...

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Wed, 2017-03-01 19:50
marioware2
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"oh gosh" "Rigger Mortis" "nice" "lol"

You guys realize there are actual cards in the post, right? (Thanks Fluffy)

Consummate was from a long time before Improvise. I'm considering changing the mechanic to Improvise, but I think I like Consummate enough and the sac-artifact theme enough that I won't be changing them.

Later today I'll go ahead and kick things off with a more in-depth preview of a mechanic, or two... or perhaps all of them!

Wed, 2017-03-01 21:27
Daij_Djan
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Contraptions? Count me interested!

Really like both new designs, btw. Part of me would love to make your opponent chose between life loss or discard - but that's just because I sometimes like forcing such choices on your opponents Stick out your tongue


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Wed, 2017-03-01 22:06
MadLuckKingg
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I think that Louring Lobotomizers effect should let the opponent decide if they keep it and lose life or discard it, it makes those kind of effects more fun and strategic when you have to choose which negative effect you want to inflict on yourself, because your opponent's just going to choose the best one them.

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Thu, 2017-03-02 03:47
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Louring Lobotomizer: Random discard is always scary, but I think that with just 1 toughness and at CMC 3, your opponent should have a chance to deal with this before it gets really degenerate. Hitting lands will be pretty spicy, but that always seems to be the case with random discard.

Cell: I like consummate as a cost reduction mechanic, because you still have to pay for it, you just get to do it over multiple turns. I think this could be uncommon.

Steamflogger Boss: This card is OP. Please nerf.

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Thu, 2017-03-02 22:07
marioware2
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Louring Lobotomizers now lets the opponent choose, though he does get a lot sadder when he hits a land now. A sad 'frowny'

Consummate is a mechanic I'm shelving for the future, as I realized every single card (and I mean every single card) I made with it looks better with Improvise. That will give Cyntha's Cell a more reasonable existence at rare as well. Improvise is in! Consummate is on the shelf.


Alright, ladies and gentlemen. Let's address the Contraption in the room.

There have been a lot of attempts to make Assembling Contraptions work, and I haven't liked a single one of them. Some of them made blank Artifact - Contraption tokens, which I hated (you know me and blank tokens). Some of them let you give Contraption creatures additional abilities, which felt clunky and didn't really jam with Steamflogger Boss's wording. My first iteration created Scrap tokens, and when you assembled you would sacrifice any number of scrap and put a Contraption with scrap cost X or less into play from a preset group of Contraption tokens. Not my finest work. I scrapped that idea pretty quickly, and went back to the drawing board.

I've always liked the idea of Contraptions as creatures - after all, if I was to make a robot, I would want it to fight for me. So I started with a baseline - Contraptions are 1/1 Artifact Creature Tokens.

Contraptions

But where to go from there? What does assembling them mean? Just putting them into play seemed much too basic. Putting +1/+1 counters or charge counters on them was a possibility, but there are already words for that. It didn't need a keyword, and it didn't really feel like assembly. That's when I came up with this gem.

Autobots Assemble

This way, you get to really make whatever you want. Each time you assemble, you get to make the Contraption that suits your desires, and the possibilities are endless. (Kinda.) The upgrades are Token - Upgrades that come in packs in the Token slot, and you can attach as many of each upgrade as you like as long as you're using upgrades from the specified pool. Here are the upgrades you can put onto a Contraption:

Upgrades


That means Assemble 3 can create a 3/2, a 2/3, a 1/4, a 3/1 with first strike, a 2/2 with lifelink, a 1/3 with vigilance, a 2/2 with prowess, a 1/1 with first strike, lifelink, and trample - you get the idea. You can really fine-tune your Contraptions to the scenario - playing beatdown? 3/1 first strike. Need a blocker and some life? 1/3 lifelink. Casting a lot of noncreature spells? 2/2 prowess. There's no one setup that's definitively better than the others (though some are more outwardly powerful, I'll grant that) and I feel that the mechanic lends itself to really feeling like you're assembling, which was the most important part.

There were three keywords that I found too powerful for Upgrades because it seemed like they'd be chosen more often than others due to their power level. Don't worry, though - there's a nice, clean fix for that.

Tinkerer Cycle

Let me know what you think! Next time I'm back, I'll spoil some of the more exciting Assemblers, as well as the next mechanic!

Thu, 2017-03-02 22:15
HerziQuerzi
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Turn one Provisional Workshop, turn 2 pop it and upgrade with double Psionic Implants. Turn 3? We Kiln Fiend, bois and goils

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Thu, 2017-03-02 22:18
thehuw
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Are upgrades considered permanents in their own right that can be interacted with, or are they innate characteristics of the Contraption (and the token cards just markers/reminders)?

Either way, this is easily my favorite interpretation I've seen of Contraptions so far. I worry that it's kind of inherently pie-bendy since you can grant upgrades outside the color of the card assembling the Contraption, and I think that eight different options might eat up a bit too much time agonizing over exactly what to give one - but, despite that, this is a really, really cool execution and it gets a great big thumbs-up from me.

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Thu, 2017-03-02 22:25
marioware2
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@Herzi: *sweats nervously*

@Huw: I was typing up a response about how they're permanents, but I think they're much cooler as innate characteristics of the Contraption. Let's go with that! It's a little color-pie-bendy, but each of the keywords has been on artifact creatures before except for Prowess, which has only not been in the color Black (assemble only shows up in Grixis).

Thu, 2017-03-02 22:32
MadLuckKingg
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WOW! This is honestly the first time I've seen a contraption idea I actually like. I feel like the first strike upgrade could get out of hand though, if you created multiple 3/1, 2/2 or whatever tokens with first strike then at some point your opponent won't be able to attack with non first strike creatures because they would just die. Then again I guess they could also make an army of first strikers as well.

Interesting that you put contraptions in same set as improvise, but please tell me the upgrades aren't permanents. If they are then improvise will be broken within the set 100%.

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Thu, 2017-03-02 23:39
ZephyrPhantom
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I think I'm in favor of having them be innate characteristics as well, even if that bends the pie and possibly the rules a bit (alternatively, cards-under-cards aka Overlay Zone could expand to include this when I think of it...). I'm reminded of a previous version that also tried to do little creatures but instead let you pick prebuilt creatures as opposed to always starting with a 1/1 token and building your way up.


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Fri, 2017-03-03 01:19
ThisisSakon
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This reminds me so much of what Conspiracy 2 electric boogaloo just did with the Monarch and I love it! In fact, you could probably just make them like the monarch card and just call them 'The Monarch.' No need for the word token(?)


Fri, 2017-03-03 02:25
HerziQuerzi
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Yeah, if you don't want them to be considered permanents, just making the typeline "Contraption Upgrade" could help get that across.

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Fri, 2017-03-03 03:01
Cajun
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This is the best version of Contraptions I've seen, although I'm wondering if it passes the 'Rigger assembles a contraption' test. Monarch method is probably better than an overlay zone rules-wise:

Quote:
XXX. Upgrades
XXX.1. Upgrades are designations permanents can have. Contraptions are upgraded during the assemble ability.
XXX.2. A permanent can have multiple upgrade designations and multiple of the same name.
XXX.3. Upgrades are separated into eight categories; Sharpened Sword, Rusted Buckler [snip]
XXX.3a. There is an inherent static ability associated with the upgrade Sharpened Sword. The full text of this ability is "This creature gets +1/+0."
[and the rest]

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Fri, 2017-03-03 04:50
marioware2
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@MadLuckKingg: You'll notice that the Upgrades actually aren't Artifacts at all, so no worries there. Looks like we're moving towards them not even being permanents, so there's no overlap between them and Improvise at all!

@Group of people suggesting Monarch-like Contraptions: I approve of this. Cajun's comprehensive rules basically state what I'd like the end result to be.

@Cajun: Notice that the first spoiled Assemble card isn't a Rigger, so it won't trigger Steamflogger Boss. I think "Rigger assembles a contraption" is a good enough crib phrase to replace "Whenever a contraption creature token is created by the ability of a Rigger you control" or whatever monstrosity it would need otherwise.

@All: I'm thinking that I may have misjudged the power levels of both first strike and haste - making a 2/1 haste with assemble 2 is much less egregious to me than a 2/1 first strike, so I'm thinking I should swap first strike to the red tinkerer and haste to an upgrade. Thoughts?

Fri, 2017-03-03 05:12
Vunik
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For the record, I love this interpretation of contraptions - much better than the one I was playing around with. As for first strike vs. haste, I agree that a 2/1 with first strike is much more powerful than a 2/1 with haste. Haste as an upgrade would be cool.

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Fri, 2017-03-03 12:05
Guitarweeps
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Very interesting. I think I like but it seems VERY high complexity in regards to board states. Also is upgrade always with assembling a contraption? Or is there ways to apply upgrades outside assembly? And can you upgrade non-contraptions? Does Steamflogger Boss also replicate the upgrades? I think it is more "fun" to be able to upgrade after the assembly but it is increasing in complexity.

I wouldn't worry about color bending too much since technically artifacts can already do that. However you can pick abilities that feel the least color bending such as trample and haste. Flying is one too but that is pretty powerful. Another route you can go is make some utility effects like tap to scry or loot or something; could allow for some interesting customization. The design space is essentially limitless since you could ever add to the upgrades in future sets.

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Fri, 2017-03-03 15:34
jacqui-pup
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I think Prowess is the most concerning one tbh because it's the only one that stacks. First strike is mildly concerning. "Tap symbol: Add Colorless mana symbol to your mana pool" perhaps? Or is that too lit because it gives every color ramp? Not much better than XXX Myr.

PS if there isn't a card that wins you the game if you control eight Upgrades with different names you are dead to me

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Fri, 2017-03-03 23:42
marioware2
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I've hit a tiny roadblock when deciding what to do with Contraptions - there's a lot of feedback (mostly positive, thanks!) and I have a few ideas of how to improve the model. I'd like to hear what you guys have to think about the following ideas:

a) Leave them the way they are
b) Make all the upgrades unique (one per contraption)
c) Make all the upgrades unique except +1/+0 and +0/+1
d) Make all the upgrades unique and change +1/+0 and +0/+1 to +2/+0 and +0/+2 (which would require rebalancing)
e) D except also add a +1/+1 and heavily rebalance
f) Include +1/+1 but make it unique and keep +1/+0 and +0/+1 as non-unique upgrades

My inclinations are either C, E, or F - E has some power level issues since you could make a 4/4 with Assemble 3 and Assemble 4 makes a REALLY powerful creature (4/4 trample, 4/4 lifelink, 4/4 menace, 2/4 vigilance lifelink, 4/4 haste... yeesh) but it's a relatively clean solution. D is also acceptable but feels weird without a +1/+1 option. C is the easiest solution from where I am now, and F just bumps up the possible power level a little bit which I'm inclined to do since the contraptions as-is are fairly weak. That said, I'd love any input!

(I'm intentionally straying away from non-keyword abilities because of complexity - this keyword is, obviously, already very complex.)

Fri, 2017-03-03 23:56
jacqui-pup
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I really like the idea of all upgrades being unique TBH. It means the max size for theme is 2/2 which is easier to balance around. Like, assemble 4 gives you a 4/1 first strike potentially. It's weird.

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Sat, 2017-03-04 00:06
marioware2
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Oh, I did cut the first strike one in favor of haste. (The red tinkerer now grants first strike.)

Sat, 2017-03-04 04:11
Guitarweeps
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I might like making them all unique is it also reduces complexity a bit. Although I think F probably leads to most fun version all around.

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Sat, 2017-03-04 04:21
ZephyrPhantom
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+1 to making them all unique except for a P/T boost one (so either C or F, basically) because I think it's a fair compromise between limiting how many different cards are on the board and the feeling of being able to upgrade the Contraption.

(To compare, when Delkor did something similar it generally didn't get this overly specific with the cards 'under' the card and thus could handle more "generic cards" sitting under the spell/permanent. By limiting how 'specialized' the cards 'under' the Contraption get, I think this'll get a lot more straightforward in a good way.)


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Sun, 2017-03-05 01:43
marioware2
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I really want the biggest assembled creatures to be, well, big. I also want to be able to put assemble on lower CMC cards, and with a +1/+1 upgrade as an option the baseline for Assemble 1 is a 2/2, which is just a bit too strong. As such, I'm sticking with +1/+0 and +0/+1 being non-unique, and the keywords all being unique. This way you can't stack prowess, the power level stays low enough that I can use it on low CMC cards, and you can still scale P/T upwards when given the opportunity. I'm sticking with this for now but will continue to keep an eye on it in case I come up with any better ideas!

Sun, 2017-03-05 03:37
HerziQuerzi
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rip assemble fiend :'C

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Sun, 2017-03-05 17:01
Simonbarsinister
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I know this has been said by a lot of people, but I'd just like to say that I really love this idea for contraptions. I wholeheartedly agree with replacing the first strike upgrade with haste as the first strike upgrade would lead to a lot of 3/1 first strikes or the like. I would almost always do a 3/1 first strike over, say, a 2/2 lifelink.

Wed, 2017-03-08 17:45
Gorgonzola
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Well, assemble looks a bit... OP?
Maybe let assemble be only creating contraptions, and some type of "upgrade" keyword?

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Wed, 2017-03-08 21:38
ZephyrPhantom
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That would result in a lot of cards featuring upgrade that would struggle to work outside of the set. Keeping the entire mechanic bundled in Assemble is more ideal IMHO.


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Wed, 2017-03-15 23:19
Timespiraled
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Love the contraption idea here, keep an eye on Journey to Ungoro in hearthstone for some ideas.

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Fri, 2017-03-17 15:53
Gorgonzola
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@Zephyr: Well, yeah. But if so, maybe have Contraptions be 0/0, ay?

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Fri, 2017-03-17 17:40
digiman619
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What image hosting site are you using? Because I can't see a dang thing...

Fri, 2017-03-17 19:27
marioware2
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I'm using imgur. Are there any sites that you have been able to see?

Fri, 2017-03-17 20:24
digiman619
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Imgur's hit and miss for me in that sometimes I see it, sometimes I don't. Can you include a direct link so I can see what all the hubbub is about?

Sat, 2017-03-18 04:33
ZephyrPhantom
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@ Gorgonzola - What makes them OP aa 1/1s?


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Sun, 2017-03-19 16:23
MysticalOctopus
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If they were 0/0, Rusted Buckler would be a mandatory upgrade just to let them stay alive, unless you run anthem effects or similar.

Sun, 2017-03-19 17:53
Gorgonzola
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@Zephyr: Nothing, but assembling wouldn't be: Go on, IT will be 11/1 with lifelink. (Meh, it still would be 10/1 with lifelink. Go on, destroy my life.)

I see, Reckless Tinkerer is a human? And pigs might fly.

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Sun, 2017-03-19 22:11
MysticalOctopus
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@marioware: Just confirming, but a rigger with "Assemble X" paired with Steamflogger Boss would assemble 2 contraptions and attach X upgrades to each of them, right? Also, why is not Reckless Tinkerer not a goblin? Especially flavorwise, it would make the most sense.

@Gorgonzola: What are you trying to say? Sorry, I'm probably just understanding here.

Sun, 2017-03-19 23:05
HerziQuerzi
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Making contraptions 0/0 instead of 1/1 is functionally, barring a desire to make big butts, identical to just removing 2 from every Assemble, except it creates a feel bad of people being forced into a specific two upgrades to start off, instead of feeling like they have complete control over their creation.

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Sun, 2017-03-19 23:43
fluffyDeathbringer
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How about making them 0/1?

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Mon, 2017-03-20 03:50
HerziQuerzi
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That still begs the question of why bother.

EDIT: To clarify, why bother modifying stats when the keyword that makes them gives you the player the ability to modify stats anyway? All it does balance wise is modify the value of X in Assembly X to get the same end result.

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Mon, 2017-03-20 05:40
ZephyrPhantom
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I'm in agreement with Herzi here - it seems pointless to mess with the base stats of the Contraption when one can avoid feel-bad design just by lowering the individual values of Assembly on each card. The mechanic reads mostly like a slightly stronger fabricate (if only because keywords are bundled into the deal) and I seriously doubt anyone would be questioning the power of Assembly if the Tinkerer cycle was Assemble 2 instead of Assemble 4.

I'm also going to point out that outside of EDH a 11/1 lifelink contraption is pretty much never going to happen (in fact, I'm pretty sure cheating out Blightsteel Colossus is easier than somehow getting a virtual 11 mana symbol for Provisional Workshop) even if marioware didn't nerf the upgrades slightly.


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Mon, 2017-03-20 06:04
HerziQuerzi
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and 11 mana symbol for an 11/1 lifelink isn't exactly the most dangerous thing you can do with that much mana. The aforementioned Blightsteel, some big Eldrazi, etc etc.

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Mon, 2017-03-20 17:17
Gorgonzola
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Okay, okay. But don't you agree that Reckless Tinkerer is a Goblin? Art much?

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Mon, 2017-03-20 17:45
Ziolang
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It's obviously a typo.


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Mon, 2017-03-20 19:30
marioware2
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Though it's been stated before, I'll say it as the creator of the mechanic: Your suggestion is more or less "nerf all assembles by 2", except in the cases where you really need a 0/3 rather than a 1/2. As a 1/1 to start, I'm essentially saying that the first two assemblies are a +1/+0 and a +0/+1, which I'm just not charging you for in the mechanic. It will stay as-is for now.

Reckless Tinkerer used to have different art, and I never changed the creature type from it. It is supposed to be a Goblin, and the type has been changed in the set file.

Let's look at the remaining mechanics!


Subjugate

Subjugate functions as a reverse soulbond, where your creatures pair with your opponent's creatures instead. Each creature with Subjugate gains a bonus for each subjugated creature your opponent controls, which gives them a substantial boost when played together. This keyword comes with the following change to the comprehensive rules:

Rules wrote:
702.94d A creature you control can be paired with up to one other creature you control and up to one creature an opponent controls.

This allows for you to pair Praterburgh P.I. with a creature you control with Soulbond as well as a creature your opponent controls. It is worth noting that creatures subjugating other creatures are already paired, so if an opponent plays a creature with subjugate they can't choose the creature you control that is already subjugating something else.

Concord

Concord is similar to Delirium, with the key difference that it checks your battlefield and as such gives slightly more impactful bonuses. This keyword is amplified by the fact that this is an artifact-based set, so that third card type will be found running around more often than usual, leaving you to just scramble to find a fourth. (Note that it also counts lands.)

Mount

Mount makes a return from Glacia, as a keyword that allows your creatures to functionally ride on your other creatures. Nothing has changed about the keyword since Glacia except for the cards that it shows up on.

Improvise

Improvise returns from Aether Revolt after a realization that all of my Consummate cards worked better as Improvise cards. Notice that the mechanic lets you tap your tokens, so this keyword works particularly well with Assemble.

Artifact Mana

Artifact Mana functions the same way as Snow Mana - it can be paid for by one mana produced by an artifact source. It is represented by the Gear mana symbol, and shows up in activated abilities at common and in a few casting costs at uncommon and higher. And because I'm a complete maniac, it comes with its own Artifact Basic Land! Scrapyard produces colorless mana similar to Wastes, but also happens to be an artifact, so its mana can be spent as Artifact Mana.

Thanks for reading, and as always, let me know what you think!

Mon, 2017-03-20 19:42
ZephyrPhantom
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Huh. Subjugate appeared in Delkor as Demoralize. Interesting parallels even if it's just a coincidence.

Mechanics seem to work together fairly well though I find it amusing Scrapyard and Improvise have a bit of mechanical redundancy.


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