27 Shades of Villainy

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Tue, 2017-07-11 16:32
thehuw
thehuw's picture


thehuw presents

a one-day custom commander project





get the set file here
you will need M15 and M15 tokens

Before Stratopol, before even The Magnificent Eighty-Seven, there was Planar Bedlam.

My first ever successful MSE project was a 32-card package of custom commanders, one for every possible color combination. Looking back on it now is... an experience. The eight cards I threw up as previews display all manner of design sins, from smalltext to color bleeds to horribly-written flavor text to no art whatsoever. The full set was presumably just as bad, but I can't be certain, because I never got around to uploading the set file and I now can't find it.

While the execution here was pretty poor by all accounts, and I knew it even at the time, I thought the idea of a mini-set of custom commanders was still a good one, and one I might be able to do better in future.

Fast forward almost three years. One evening on the unofficial MSE Skype chat, the topic of interesting villains comes up, and I find myself starting to think about the many different ways in which villainy can express itself. Could you, for instance, make a villain to fit every color combination in the game?

Well, I had to try, didn't I?

27 Shades of Villainy is a collection of 27 legendary creatures built primarily for Commander and assembled, start to finish, in a single day. There's a character here for each one-, two- and three-color combination (I skipped four-color this time around), plus one in all five colors and one that's colorless. Each one is intended to feel villainous both mechanically and flavorfully. Although they're designed to be commanders, none of them have mechanics that specifically reference being your commander, so they work just fine in other Constructed formats.

Here's what I'd like to know - aside from any critiques you may have, which of these characters is your favorite and which is your least favorite, and why?

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Set Huwb
They/them pronouns, please.
Praise Vectron.

Tue, 2017-07-11 17:26
Neottolemo
Neottolemo's picture

I activate the Nowhere King's ability targeting the Iron Sheriff and grant it haste to attack you. *combat happens* I sacrifice the Iron Sheriff to the Dukess of Smoke's ability to add Green mana symbolBlue mana symbol to my mana pool and draw a card.

Is Lorezzo using an old version of profit or did you all switch back to that one again?

The card I mechanically like the least is Khodran, whereas, mechanically, my favourite is probably Squall, followed by Zanja, and I know I'd love to play Zanja or Zudrum and would probably like to try most of these.

Flavourwise, Palax seems somebody I'd really like to read more about to see not only what took for them to get to those conclusions but also to see what kind of actions could that sort of creed lead to, and They of Armaments and Great Vekthran also seem like really interesting characters who hit the right spot so they feel very powerful without seeming undefeatable, intelligent, and extraneous but humanlike enough to be intriguing and to be something other than just beasts that throw themselves in other characters' way.

EDIT-Also, was Zanja cast out from the Golgari or is Zanja an outcast because they're a Golgari?

Tue, 2017-07-11 17:28
thehuw
thehuw's picture

Lorezzo uses the version of profit I found in my copy of Mercadian Tides - which may well be outdated, come to think of it. I don't see much harm in tweaking him for the new version.

Zanja is an outcast from the Golgari. Yeah, even they didn't want her.

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Set Huwb
They/them pronouns, please.
Praise Vectron.

Tue, 2017-07-11 18:03
fluffyDeathbringer
Moderator
fluffyDeathbringer's picture

Favourites flavourfully: Khares (the trope's oft-used but I do like it), Yorek Truefire, The Duchess of Smoke (has a proper supervillain feel to it), The Ruinous Crusader, The Iron Sheriff
Least favourites flavourfully: Lorezzo (no idea what that second ability is supposed to be), Kholir (doesn't really feel villainous at all)

Remind yourself that overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer.

Tue, 2017-07-11 18:22
thehuw
thehuw's picture

Very quick update to fix wording as per Fluffy's suggestions (thanks Fluffy!), and also patch Khares to return to the hand rather than the battlefield (and be cheaper) to avoid easy infinite loops.

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Set Huwb
They/them pronouns, please.
Praise Vectron.

Tue, 2017-07-11 18:24
HerziQuerzi
Creative Direction Award Best Mechanic Award
HerziQuerzi's picture

Gurvagarra - Is there a reason for it not to be a combat damage trigger?

The Ruinous Crusader - SICK ART

They of Armaments - The fact that this synergizes so strongly with the Jeskai mechanic is beautiful.

Zudrum Shinehammer - When you get down to it, this is just "Creatures you control can't be blocked", because if the opponent blocks their creature is bounced and they still take full damage.

Flavorful fave: Prince Krauth of Elnoch

Flavorful knave: Kholir the Resolute

Mechanical fave: The Duchess of Smoke

Mechanical knave: Lorezzo, Mercadian Tycoon

Phasing
This phases in or out before you untap during each of your untap steps. While it's phased out, it's treated as though it doesn't exist.
Set Hub

Tue, 2017-07-11 18:34
thehuw
thehuw's picture

Gurvagarra: Yeah - I wanted to be able to handle the counter adding and removing with the same trigger, and you can't have a trigger go off when Gurvagarra doesn't deal combat damage to a player.

TRC: RIGHT? Really pleased with that one.

They of Armaments: Wasn't originally going to be Miousian, but it worked so damn well. (Reminds me, I need to remove the Horror type - I'll push that in the next big update tomorrow.)

Zudrum: ... yeah. There's probably some kind of political power move you can pull off by agreeing to get someone's creature bounced to recur an ETB, but this one's probably getting the redesign hammer.

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Set Huwb
They/them pronouns, please.
Praise Vectron.

Tue, 2017-07-11 18:52
HerziQuerzi
Creative Direction Award Best Mechanic Award
HerziQuerzi's picture

Quote:
Gurvagarra: Yeah - I wanted to be able to handle the counter adding and removing with the same trigger, and you can't have a trigger go off when Gurvagarra doesn't deal combat damage to a player.

Oh, uh, in that case, I think what you want the card to do and what it actually appears to do are two different things. I'm pretty sure that, as worded, the +1/+1 removal happens when you've dealt damage and already have a +1/+1 counter on it, since "if it doesn’t already have one" is the most recent conditional.

Phasing
This phases in or out before you untap during each of your untap steps. While it's phased out, it's treated as though it doesn't exist.
Set Hub

Tue, 2017-07-11 18:53
thehuw
thehuw's picture

That wording has now been slightly updated (thanks Fluffy!) and should work better now.

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Set Huwb
They/them pronouns, please.
Praise Vectron.

Thu, 2017-07-13 01:23
pkStarStorm
pkStarStorm's picture

I would love to see the story behind some of the cards. Other than that, I love the gameplay and interaction the commanders bring. Nice job!

Fri, 2017-07-14 23:55
jacqui-pup
Featured Set Editor - Best Set of 2015 - Community Award
jacqui-pup's picture

I agree that Lorezzo is rather nonsensical, and not especially in-flavor for MTI because the mercenaries were in Black mana symbol not Red mana symbol, and also Mercenaries rather than Rogues.

I also think the one-drop tribal guy should have costed Red/white mana symbol so you could get red weenies in there too.

The Iron Sheriff is my fave.

[center]"It's exciting to create something that demonstrates how clever you are, that you pushed in a direction that players didn't anticipate. The problem is that the point of game design isn't to be clever, it's to create a great game." --Mark Rosewater

Wed, 2017-08-30 15:22
thehuw
thehuw's picture

Quick update to clear the way for 27 Shades of Heroism - this should be considered the final version of the file.

Changelog:

  • Kholir's name has been changed to Holir to combat the proliferation of "kh" sounds in the set. (I don't know why there were so many.)
  • Lorezzo's second ability has been reworked completely, and his profit ability uses the new any-color Gold rather than the old Colorless mana symbol-producing version.
  • Gurvagarra has been reworded. He works mostly the same, but his ability should be less of a confusing rules kludge.
  • They of Armaments are just an Angel now to comply with other Miousian Angels.
  • Zudrum Shinehammer's has been nerfed slightly to stop his second ability from effectively just being "can't be blocked" - opponents can now buy out of having their blockers bounced.

Link should be the same as before. Happy villainy, everyone!

Red mana symbolWhite mana symbolBlack mana symbol
Set Huwb
They/them pronouns, please.
Praise Vectron.