Cardsmith Blog

Mystery Box World

Mystery Box World

Mystery Box World is a virtual amusement park that originates from the MTGCS Forums and jpastor's brain. While inside Mystery Box World you can post where you want to go with an appropriate request for that place.

- Example: "I'll head to the cantina lounge and chill there for a while. One mystery box please!"
- Check out the park App to avoid getting lost!

You can also Earn Loy and Zib while crafting cards and adventuring within Mystery Box World.

- Every card you post and every prize you earn counts as 1➰ (Loy). Accumulate ➰ for milestone rewards. 
Check your Loy earnings here➰Progress 
- Throughout the park, you can also earn 〽️ (Zib), credits that you can spend on prizes in the park's gift Shop.
Check your Zib earnings on the 〽️Tracker
- At random points in time, the park launches fireworks, signaling it's time to randomly pick 5 winning cards for bonus rewards.

Park's Cantina (Open 24/7)
- Chill in the lounge to do endless mystery boxes. A mystery box contains a 50/50 shot at a prize and a mystery challenge.
- Head to the balcony to chat with the park owner, @jpastor, to post a card for a ▶️YouTube Shorts Review.
- Check out the downstairs game room to join the underground Cardsmith league to bet and earn 〽️.
- Talk to the park's mascot characters in the cantina for quests, feedback on cards, and more.

- The park's app shows which attractions are open and how to do them.
- Queue for an attraction with a post in the forums, and @jpastor will give you a mystery box for it.

So come to the Forums and check out Mystery Box World, for an amazing experience you can't get anywhere else!

jpastor is one of our amazing Cardsmiths and the brains behind many of your favorite MTGCS forum events!
Nov 05, 2023 by MTG Cardsmith

Spooktoberfest 2023


Hi custom magic creator community... I mean, greetings, fellow monsters and creatures of the night. I, jpastor, have been in the mood to bring the MTGCardsmith blog back lately and what better way to kickstart its return than with some themed and limited time contests for Halloween!?

I've compiled a quick list of some of the Halloween-related contests and challenges from the MTGCardsmith community forums over the years. Partake in as many of them as you wish.

Many cards created for this on MTGCardsmith will be featured on the homepage and/or will receive a favorite from Spooktoberfest.

Along with MTGCardsmith creations, some cards created on non-MTGCardsmith platforms, like Set Designer or MTG.Design, will be talked about in The Custom Magic Podcast with community members, and posted to my YouTube channel.

Use any of these methods to partake in this event!

  1. Post the URL of your entries in the comments section of this blog post
  2. Post your cards in the MTGCardsmith Community Forums here: Spooktoberfest
  3. Tweet them! @MTGCardsmith #mtg #trickortweet


Create a Halloween contest/challenge discussion on the forums for Halloween 2023.

Let the below examples of Halloween-themed contests be your inspiration but be unique.

Scarecrows... Boo

Alright you little ghouls, witches, and all-around creeps, here's a little Scarecrow contest for you.

Create a Scarecrow Artifact Creature card or a card that can become one.

- Created by Faiths_Guide, 2022

Monster Mash

This is a contest focused on classic Halloween monsters.

Create cards focusing on Halloween monsters.

- Created by SpellPiper2213, 2022

Halloween 2021 Contest

I'm in the mood to see you create anything as long as it fits the flavor... Of Halloween!

Create a card that's flavor text has words associated with Halloween. 

- Created by sorinjace, 2021

Adventures in Halloween!

So, it's Halloween Season, and Eldraine made Adventures. Put 'em together!

Create some spooky adventure cards

- Created by Dom_Rocks, 2019

OH THE HORROR!!! Halloween Challenge...

This is gonna be a somewhat simple contest, but with great depth.

Create cards created that capture the theme of classic horror movie characters or premises, using artwork, not scene snippets.

- Created by spookoops, 2019

Trick or Treat!

This one is about the costumes!

Create Artifact - Equipment representing costumes one might wear on Halloween.

- Created by Aggroman15, 2018

The Spooky Scary Contest

Does Wizards not care about the bony boys? Are they too spooked perhaps?

Create spooky scary skeletons that send shivers down your spine.

- Created by Jonteman93, 2018

jpastor is one of our amazing Cardsmiths, who always brings great joy and excitement to our community!

Sep 30, 2023 by MTG Cardsmith

The Return of CCC

The Return of CCC

Welcome back folks, it’s been far too long. As always I’m East2West, and this is Coast to Coast Casual. Before getting into this month’s article I want to quickly discuss a small change to CCC.

For most of CCC’s time it’s sort of been my place to write about whatever MTG thing caught my fancy that month, but I’d like to give it a more consistent tone starting from here forward. I want to focus more on the design aspects of Magic, concepts and ideas that will help us all in our journey to create the best Magic cards we can. I’ll still write the occasional lore or general topic article, but CCC will mainly now be about design. I hope you’ll all stick with us through that change.

This month I want to discuss two of the subtler parts of Magic design that highlight the tricky balance we have to strike as designers; Utility and Player Intention. This article will be using EDH as its reference point, but the lessons apply to all formats.

To do this, let’s take a look at three different cards that are all meant to fill similar roles, and while each succeeds, they do so to varying degrees that change their reception and usage to insane degrees. These three cards are Morophon, Golos and Sisay from Modern Horizons

To start, let's get the framework established. Magic players are wild people who will make decks whether or not there is any official support for them. This is an important part of Magic as a game, the concept of decks representing their pilots. It’s an aspect of the game somewhat lost in more competitive, meta-driven, formats but something that thrives in EDH. Pet cards, unusual strategies, and completely janky themes are an integral part of what makes EDH the special beast that it is! But this is also where the duality of utility and intention comes into play.

Take our first of the three cards we’ll discus today for example;

Morophon represents the middle of the scale here. While it is undeniably a powerful card, it also supports weaker themes that are likely to never get any direct support from WotC. For examples of this just scroll through some Morophon decks on Moxfield. You’ll find a myriad of combo decks featuring tribes like Slivers and Elementals, but you’ll also find everything from Zuberas to Mercenaries.

To truly show the duality of utility though, let’s take our next two side by side.

Golos and Sisay are both extremely powerful commanders in a vacuum, but only one of them is currently banned in the format. So why is that when both have similar power ceilings and support unusual strategies?

My working theory on this is that where Sisay guides the deck brewer in a vague direction, Golos is a blank slate on which anything can be applied. The builds I’ve seen most often helmed by Sisay are vorthos style theme decks, shrines (Prior to Go-Shintai), and Background tribal. Golos on the other hand tends to always be some variety of five color “Every combo piece I own” or “Good stuff”. This isn’t to say there aren’t degenerate Sisay builds too of course, but it seems people are more willing to innovate with Sisay.

So what lessons can we as designers take away from all this?

For my money, the most important lesson here is that players won’t always do what you expect them to with the pieces you give them.

In the 2019 article “What Core Can I Say - Part 1” Mark Rosewater discusses the creation of Golos. Specifically he says “As more and more players are playing Commander, we're trying to make sure that every set has some tools for the format.” and “Golos was designed as a simple five-color Commander that helps your mana, something most five-color Commander decks need.”

This shows that Golos was not designed to intentionally fuel the explosive combo decks he ended up helming, but was instead meant to be a simple and effective commander for players trying to edge into the format.

When making cards it’s important not only from your own perspective, but from that of all varieties of players. It’s easy to look at your own designs and imagine them utilized how you intend them to be, but more often than not there will be things far beyond what you think are possible that can be done with them.

This is where utility meets player intention, let’s loop back around and look at our examples.

Morophon and Sisay are both powerful, but provide some direction to the player. Tribal and Legendary strategies are baked in for them to work off of, both limiting their power and providing something of a blueprint for brewers to go wild with. Golos on the other hand is such a generically powerful piece that any deck can utilize it, meaning eventually you’ll get a long list of wildly overpowered decks with a sprinkling of truly creative ones hidden within.

Players want to have fun of course, but they also want to win. It’s important to remember not everyone is going to use something like Golos to create a deck that skips its own turn.

Thanks for reading folks, as always I’ve been East2West. I’d love to talk more about utility and player intention in the comments below. And if you’d like to contact me directly you can email me at or find me on twitter at East2Westmtg. See y’all next month!

East2West is one of our contributing Cardsmiths, who always enlivens our community with her insightful commentary and masterful observations in the world of Magic! We are proud to host her CCC series here on MTGCardsmith. For more of East2West's articles check out our past blogs! 

Oct 02, 2022 by East2West

Artful August V

Artful August, The Fifth!

Welcome once again to our FIFTH Annual challenge. This is where you get to show off your skills in both artwork and card-making, and be generously rewarded for it! If this is your first time here, don't be afraid, we have a lot of different prizes!


As in previous years, we want you to create a Custom Card,using original artwork created and owned by you. Cards will be judged on both standard contest design rules, as well as the artwork design and relation to the card concept presented.

Entries will be accepted from August 1st - August 31st. Winners to be chosen by our League of Judges and announced the first week of September.You may only enter one card url, so submit wisely. Cards may be directly edited (premium feature) on the same submission URL until the final day of the contest, but you cannot re-post/enter more than once.

Rule Change:

This year we've decided to mix things up a bit! Cardsmiths who have won Artful August in the past are still allowed to compete in any category they choose, but they must change their medium if they want to win.


1st: $50 Amazon gift card + 2 months of premium membership
2nd: $25 Amazon gift card + 1 month of premium
3rd: $10 Amazon gift card + 1 month of premium
Best artwork award: Custom MTGCS Avatar from your original Artwork
Best Traditional art award: $25 Amazon gift card
Best pencil drawing: 1 month of premium

Now it's finally time for you to show us what you've got!

--Eligibility - Entrants must be over the age of 13 to redeem prizes. Previous contest winning cards or featured cards are not eligible, sorry. Each entrant authorizes their card submission & username for contest and future promotional use by MTG Cardsmith. By following the contest entry steps listed here you agree to the terms and rules of the contest. Limit 1 entry per person. These rules are subject to change, by participating in the contest you agree to these terms.

Aug 01, 2022 by Corwinnn, & Tomigon

The Call of the Wild...

The Call of the Wild West

For our July theme this year, we're looking for something straight out of the Wild West! Show us your best Wild and Western themed cards over on the forum or in the comments below and you might just see your card get Featured!

OMG It's Only One Month Away!!

Artful August is coming next month! This year we're going to mix things up a bit! Previous winners of the best card award or best artwork award from the past three Artful August contests must change the medium for their art if they want to win this year! So if you're thinking about a return to victory, now it the time to mix it up!

And now, let us reveal our newest Cardsmiths of the Month!

Hailing out of Tarkir, feralitator not only creates custom cards here on MTG Cardsmith, but is also huge fan of creating their own custom mechanics. Take a gander through these five cards and then wander over to feralitator's home page and check out more of their collection and drop some favorites on a few of your favorites!

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Before Cardsmith League, there was the Circuit Challenge. The Circuit Challenge was the brain child of our very own Grimshac. Though he hasn't been on the site for quite some time his impact helped shape MTG Cardsmith. We wanted to pay homage to our old friend by featuring five randomly selected cards that we feel highlight his card crafting prowess. If you like these, head on over to Grimshac's home page and check out the rest of his collection.

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Each month we're excited to highlight a few Cardsmiths that have helped make MTGCardsmith the best interactive online Card Creator. We hope you'll take some time to check out their creations!

Jul 08, 2022 by Corwinnn, & Tomigon
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