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Saturday
Oct182008

Magic: The Gathering Makes a Card for Me

Ken Nagle from Wizards of the Coast explains here how he designed a Magic: The Gathering card inspired by me. It's in the Shards of Alara set.

The first of many Sirlin-inspired Magic cards.

Hadouken!

David Sirlin is a world-class Street Fighter player and game designer. Whenever he talks about "the most balanced" games with "the best design," he inevitably sticks Magic: The Gathering at the top of his list. He obviously has great respect for the game design work we at Wizards of the Coast do on Magic.

A simple question arose in my mind: if David Sirlin were to design a Magic card, what would it be? I reached for the lowest-hanging fruit...

In Naya design, this card was upgraded to hit players, ending many a stalemate between Spearbreaker Behemoths and Feral Hydras. This card was cycled across Naya into Soul's Might, Soul's Fire, Soul's Grace, and embraced by the creative team as a chance to show Ajani on cards other than Ajani Vengeant. Development and templating dropped the "tap your guy as an additional cost" to remove text and combo better with attacking (via exalted and unearth).

Here's my Hadouken.

Thanks Ken, that's awesome that you made a hadouken card as a tribute to me. Though if I designed a card, it would have been something that captured the essense of the Shoryuken. The Shoryuken says, "I know what you were going to do, and I was ready for it." I would have looked for some way to make a counterspell that you play ahead of time, proving you know what's coming, rather than as a reaction. Meddling Mage comes to mind, the card that Chris Pikula got to design for winning the Sydney tournament in the year 2000.

This card requires knowing the opponent's deck.

To really get that "bam!" moment though, it would be better if you could bait the opponent into playing just the card you expected, then show right then that you expected it. It's pretty hard to capture that in Magic though, because there isn't really a clean way of naming a card, yet keeping it secret which card you named. If there were a way though, it's easy to imagine the cycle across the colors. The red version would deal damage when you Shoryuken them; blue would let you draw cards; green would put a token creature into play under your control; black would make them sacrifice permanents; white would do something boring.

Reader Comments (8)

<<To really get that "bam!" moment though, it would be better if you could bait the opponent into playing just the card you expected, then show right then that you expected it. It's pretty hard to capture that in Magic though, because there isn't really a clean way of naming a card, yet keeping it secret which card you named.>>

There are cards like Predict or Cabal Therapy that involve ostensibly blind prediction.

November 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRufus

Since it's the creature rather than the caster performing the Hadoken, the Shoryuken equivalent would be something more mundane, like a higher-powered Hundred-Talon Strike (which gives a small power boost and first strike). Your 1/1 Soldier token gets to avoid a 2/2 Beast's attack and kill the Beast in response.

November 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBucky

how about this for a double-blind magic yomi:

Search your library, and set aside one card facedown. When your opponent next casts a spell, if the type and converted mana cost are equal to those of the set-aside card, your opponent's spell is countered and you take the set-aside card into your hand. Otherwise, remove the set-aside card from the game.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterricefrog

How about:

BB

Name a card and a number. Search your opponents library for all copies of the named card and remove them from the game. If the number of cards removed from the game this way is equal to the number then .

This card would be powerful because it would really reward knowing your opponents deck. Also, it would be great to have something that rewards staying away from absolute net-decking. It would really create a great tension, because you wuold want to play 4 of your best card, but doing so could put you at a big disadvantage.

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJimb0v

Jester's scepter comes to mind:

When Jester's Scepter comes into play, remove the top five cards of target player's library from the game face down. You may look at those cards as long as they remain removed from the game.
2,T , Put a card removed from the game with Jester's Scepter into its owner's graveyard: Counter target spell if it has the same name as that card.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPalrat

Here would be my draft:

Shoryuken R
Enchantment
Search your library for a card and remove it from the game face down. If an opponent plays a card with the same name, Shoryuken deals 5 damage to that player.


I leave the balancing to the academics.

December 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohnBono

Shoryuken U

Enchantment
When shoryuken comes into play, choose a card you own from outside the game and place it faced down, removed from the game, under Shoryuken.

Whenever an opponent plays a spell, you may reveal that card. If it has the same name as the revealed card, counter that spell and you draw a card.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBill the maniac

Shoryuken UU
Sorcery
All players search their libraries for a card and reveal it.
If the converted mana cost of your card is less then your oponents, they put the card in their hand and you remove your card, and all copies of it, from the game.
If your converted mana cost is equal to your oponents converted mana cost, you may play the card without paying for it's mana cost and they remove their card from the game.
If your converted mana cost is more than your oponents, then all the cards are removed from the game.


(someone else can balance this card)

December 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrandom lurker
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