Cardsmith Blog

CCC: New Year, New White

Hello everyone, East2West here with the most tepid take ever. White isn't bad, R&D just doesn't know how to define the color anymore. This month, I'd like to ring in 2020 by going over the most overlooked and put down color in magic. We'll be looking at White's history in the game and what can be done to differentiate it from the other colors. So sleeve up those Plains and prepare yourself to cast 2/1's for one White mana, let's get into it!

First off, let's talk about Whites place in the history of the game so we have a historical starting point for our analysis. Ever since Alpha, White has been a jack of all trades to the color pie. While each other color has specific things that it does better than the others (Card draw, direct damage, removal, ramping, etc) the closest thing White ever had to that was damage prevention something that, unlike the others, has fallen out of favor. Other than that, White has sort of struggled to have an individual identity. It's able to do almost everything the other colors can, but it just doesn't do them as well. Historically we also see things that are traditionally White divvied up among the other colors. Examples of this include life gain, +1/+1 counters, and tokens being taken by green and flicker abilities being taken by blue.

So what does White have left that is unique? Really only one thing has stayed primarily and that would be exile effects that target permanents still on the battlefield. According to scryfall there are around 320 cards that refer to exiling cards from the battlefield (Not including flicker effects). Of that, around 140 of them are white, that's well over half. This shows that white is seen as the primary color for on board exile effects. For anyone interested in the exact breakdown by color, here it is. I counted multicolor cards for both colors

  • W - 137
  • U - 44
  • B - 78
  • R - 55
  • G - 22
  • C - 46
We see here that exiling from the battlefield is an overwhelmingly white ability, and something that we can all admit is really powerful! Exiling a problematic permanent not only gets rid of it in the moment, but makes it infinitely harder to get back for reanimator decks. So now that we've identified exile as an ability unique to White, where do we take that design space? To answer that question, let's look at what wizards has already done to help us out.

Warden of the Beyond is one of the most unique cards in Magic, as far as I could tell it's the only card in the game that has an effect like this. But what if that wasn't true? I propose that White could very easily pivot into being a color that makes use of the exile abilities like Black takes advantage of the graveyard. The flavor here is on point too, exile is used to represent prison or some sort of capture, therefore the color of law and order would be adept at using such things. Imagine cards that get powered up if a player has cards in exile. What if you could cast certain cards from exile for a bonus effect, or maybe even exile the card for a bonus effect. There are endless ways to go from here, and I hope to see what you all do with it!

So there you have it, let's make White something we can all be proud of. Let me know what you think of the color and what could be done with it in the comments below. You can find me on twitter @East2Westmtg or email me at [email protected] As always this has been East2west with CCC, I'll see you guys on the battlefield.

Jan 15, 2020 by East2West
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Happy New Year and Step Right In!

Welcome to 2020!

Another new year brings excitement for the unknown... for the journey into the next decade. That is where our inspiration for the next Theme of the Month comes from. This month we're looking for cards with the word "Portal" in their name as we transition from one decade to the next!

Looking for inspiration? Click Here!

Featured Cardsmiths

In order to start the year off right, we've picked not just one, but two very creative Cardsmiths to feature this month! Our first Cardsmith is pewnd! He is the man behind several of our most beloved Set Symbols, the winner of our most recent Artwork challenge and a very talented artist in his own right! He even has his own ArtStation!


Scott_Anderson, aka SpecialGuestStar, is our second Featured Cardsmith this month. Scott_Anderson is one of our amazing card commenters and it should come as no surprise that he is also a very creative writer as well. We're big fans of both of our Featured Cardsmiths this month, and we're sure you will be too, if you aren't already! Check out their cards and drop some favorites on them!

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

Jan 03, 2020 by Corwinnn, & Tomigon
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CCC: Reliquary

Merry Wintertime everyone! This month is a stressful time for me since my school work is piling up and finals are just over the horizon. Since I could use a mental break, this month will be kind of a return to form. Just like in the early days of CCC, I'll be introducing ya'll to a new casual format. This format was devised by me and a friend while sorting bulk rares, please give a warm welcome to Reliquary.

So what is Reliquary. Well it's similar to Brawl or Oathbreaker in it's deckbuilding, 60 card singleton, command zone, matching color identity, etc. The difference stems from what goes in your command zone. In Reliquary, any legendary nonland, noncreature, nonplaneswalker is allowed in your command zone. So this means legendary instants, sorceries, artifacts, and enchantments are all fair game. Also players start the game at 30 life. An additional rule is that, due to the lack of color in a majority of the commander options, players with colorless commanders may declare their deck to be up to 3 colors, if they do they start the game at 25 life instead of 30. Currently there is a ban list that can be found here (https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2547380#paper) With the rules out of the way, let's get to some decks!

So of course I'll be including the two decks me and my friend brewed when this format was first formed. On top of that I asked around with some smiths and got two additional choices for which I'll brew some decks. So without further ado, let's meet the sample decks!

The Magic Mirror
https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2547492#paper

When making my deck I chose The Magic Mirror as my Commander. The price reduction that we get from casting our spells makes sure we always get a nice low cost on our main piece and with a big suite of proliferate, you best believe we'll be drawing a hell of a lot of cards. For the most part we want to draw through our deck and hit either Laboratory Maniac or Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, then we draw the rest of our deck for the win! It's simple, fun, and who doesn't love drawing cards?

Throne of the God Pharaoh
https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2548784#paper

My friend brewed up an Abzan vehicle aggro list, relying on the massive draining power of Throne of the God Pharaoh. Using cards that benefit from being tapped such as Emmara, Soul of the Accord and King Macar alongside bulky vehicles, this deck is a total powerhouse of on board power! There's also a slight token theme added into the deck that can completely come out of nowhere to destroy your opponents.

Skysovereign, Consul Flagship - ThatOneCat
https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2548828#paper

As suggested by ThatOneCat, our next list is based around Skysovereign, Consul Flagship. For this deck I decided to go a sort of Jeskai Ensoul path given the power of our commander. The main goal here is to throw down one of our many vehicles then animate it, making it able to swing on it's own. This deck, although similar to the Throne list, has its own distinct flavor since it plays a bit slower but relies on bigger threats. A 6/5 flier that doubles as a lightning bolt every time it attacks is no joke.

Tamiyo's Journal - Lukijul
https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2548838#paper

Finally, as suggested by Lukijul, we have a list featuring Tamiyo's Journal. For this clue-centric commander I chose to go with a Bant list that involves the sweet sacrificing machine known as Grinding Station. Two mana is a lot to pay to sacrifice your clues and Grinding Station let's you do so for free, and with an added mill bonus. The whole deck generates so many clues offhand that often times, Grinding Station mixed with Fleeting Memories can seriously close games. We also run a nice amount of Naturalize effects to deal with other player's pesky commanders.

That's all I have for you this month, let me know what commanders you want to brew in Reliquary, and if you ever do, send me the lists. You can find me on twitter @East2Westmtg or email me at [email protected] As always this has been East2west with CCC, I'll see you guys on the battlefield.
Dec 18, 2019 by East2West
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Secret Santa on MTGCardsmith!

Is that who I think it is?

We're very excited to bring you the MTGCardsmith version of Secret Santa! How does it work? Well it's very simple! All you need to do is favorite and submit up to three cards created by other Cardsmiths via PM to Corwinnn & Tomigon. Let us know why you picked these cards and what makes them so good. Featured cards for December will chosen from among cards submitted this way.

But wait... there's more...

On December 25th, Corwinnn & Tomigon will select the best Secret Santa. That person will get to select a card of their own to be featured! How is that for a Christmas surprise?

How to send a PM in the Forums

Just in case you're not familiar with the Forums and want to participate as a Secret Santa, simply log in to the Forums by selecting the Forums tab at the top of MTGCardsmith. From there, go to your Inbox, select New Message, choose the recipients (Corwinnn & Tomigon), write your message (including links) and then hit Post Message! It's just that easy!

Featured Cardsmiths

benw, in case some of you don't know, is one of our favorite Cardsmiths who has recently returned from a long hiatus. Take some time today and look over some of benw's creations, as we feel there are quite a few unseen cards in this collection that will astound and amaze you!


Arceus8523 is a very active Cardsmith, but if you don't pay attention, you might not notice! An experienced Set Builder and designer of great cards (Check out some of Arceus8523's commons... they're nicely thought out!), Arceus8523 not only uses other platforms to make cards but also has his own YouTube Channel about Magic! We hope you'll take some time and check out both of our Featured Cardsmiths, as they are both creative and thought provoking!

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

Dec 01, 2019 by Corwinnn, & Tomigon
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CCC: Hidden Treasures

We're excited to continue Coast to Coast Casual (CCC), a blog series written by East2West, published on MTG Cardsmith.

Howdy folks and happy November! On this, the month of caring and sharing feels with your friends and family, I wanted to take some time to talk about my favorite designs. (Both official and unofficial). I've spent the last few weeks trawling my cards as well as the pages of Cardsmith for a total of nine lesser known cards that really inspire me in my own design space. I'm glad to present to you dear reader, my nine favorite lesser known designs in Magic.

First up let's start with the five cards printed by Wizards themselves before moving on to the four taken from the site.

Archangel's Light

This often overlooked and hated on Mythic was the centerpiece of a draft deck I made that, despite going 2-2, is one of my favorite draft decks ever. The goal was to use Mirror-Mad Phantasm to dump as much of your deck into the grave as possible, then use Archangel's Light to gain a massive amount of life to stall out the game. This plan only came to fruition once, and it was beautiful. Archangel's Light is, objectively, a terrible card. It costs 8 and unless you jump through a lot of hoops, the life it gains you will be pretty easily taken away. The reason it's here is because it's a great example of a tinker card, a total Johnny's paradise. These are the kind of cards I like to make cards that dare you to build around them in crazy and new ways! When most people look at Archangel's Light they see a totally worthless mana sink. When I look at it, I see 60+ life.

Cosi's Trickster

Cosi's Trickster may be the second most known card on this list. For those of you unfamiliar with it please take a second to just absorb what the card says. Done? Cool. So Cosi's Trickster is exactly the kind of cards that spark my fire. It cares about a part of the game that next to other cards really care about. There are really only 40ish cards that interact with shuffling outside of searching libraries and shuffling things into them. Of those 40 cards there really aren't any others that do quite what Cosi's Trickster does. The card as a whole represents what seems to me like an archetype that Wizards decided to never really finish. We see cards like Psychic Surgery and Psychogenic Probe that would support a shuffles type deck, yet it never really came together. I love Cosi's Trickster because it looks you dead in the eye and says "Do it, build what was never meant to happen." And damn if that isn't cool!

Hunger of the Nim

This card represents something important to the crafting of a card, ambiguity of effects. What I mean by that is, looking at Hunger of the Nim, it doesn't seem like a black card. It pumps a creature, that's mainly a green effect. Then it cares about artifacts, that's a blue or red thing. It's effect doesn't match the conventional ideas of the color, yet it fits perfectly for a couple reasons. A card like Lightning Helix combines white and red to do something that is normally black, Hunger of the Nim is kind of the opposite. It takes something that black does on occasion, pumping, and combines it with something that isn't strictly nonblack, artifacts matter. This creates an effect that's very unique yet not out of place. Nowadays, I think Hunger of the Nim could be shifted into red very easily but it still remains a great example of how to bend colors without breaking them.

Dark Temper

Remember I was just talking about cards that bend colors? Well how about a kill spell in red. Dark Temper is so unexpected, I've gotten so many surprise kills with this in EDH. Imagine playing Rakdos and having all your black mana tapped, your opponent thinks it's safe to swing in. Suddenly you tap three mana and boom, their big beater just got vanquished. If you play any commander that involves black permanents and red mana I cannot recommend this card enough. The design here is so original, there's not really anything else like it. Cards like this keep your opponents guessing and the game as a whole interesting.

Seed Time

Color pie? Never heard of her. Seedtime spits in the face of everything you hold dear as a magic player. Ever wanted to cast Time Walk in a mono green commander deck? Well now you can! Seedtime has everything I love about Dark Temper but cranked all the way to eleven. In multiplayer formats it's common to be countering spells, cantripping, or casting any number of blue instant effects on others turns. Seedtime lets you have a super interesting counterplay in a color that, unless they expect you to have the card, doesn't really have tricky effects like this. Seedtime is another amazing example of how to break the color pie in interesting ways that don't make the game any less fun or interesting. Seedtime is a gem I think every smith out there can look too as an inspiration.

 

The criteria I followed when picking the cards from Cardsmith is that they had to have less than five favorites. Some of my favorite designs on the site are cards that have well over 20 or even 40 favorites, that means we're all pretty much aware of them at this point. Instead of showing off cards you'd all be familiar with, I want to take this time to present for you cards that I think are just as interesting but don't get quite the love they deserve.

White Witch of the Black Forest by LadyBlackJack

Let's start off with a small entree. White Witch of the Black Forest is a legendary creature created by LadyBlackJack, a smith who only ever made 11 cards and who hasn't created anything since almost a year ago. At first glance WWBF isn't anything revolutionary, it's basically Kykar, Wind's Fury with some slightly different effects. However, I want to point out. WWBF was made on November 28th of 2018. Core Set 2020, the set Kykar was printed in, came out in July of 2019. On top of this WWBF's second and third abilities are, to me, as interesting if not more interesting than Kykar's. I would love to print out a WWBF and sleeve up an Esper Crowslinger/Aristocrats deck. (I don't know if the crow tokens would be errata'd to bird but really either way I'm happy.) So please, so the WWBF some well deserved love.

Tune of Ages by Baron-777

This card is so flavorful and so perfectly green! The mechanic Upturn creates a very interesting economy with this card's cost. If you were to activate the Upturn ability the turn you play this, you'd get the colorless mana you spent to play Tune of Ages back, making this effectively a Giant Growth. However it's the choice to save it that makes me love this card. Something that Magic players love is choice and Tune of Ages gives you one of the most interesting choices I've seen on a card. It lets you do so much yet doesn't feel broken. It's a wonderful example of how to give a player choices without making an inherently complicated or broken card.

Snatching Youth by TenebrisNemo

This card is like a sort of proto-Gingerbrute. Snatching Youth does something elegantly that it's very easy to screw up and that's complicating the rules. Magic's rules are complicated, making new categories and mechanics can sometimes serve to just make everything harder to understand and slow down play. Snatching youth however, makes a new category that's so easy to remember. When you think "What keyword mechanics would be considered fast?" haste, first strike, and double strike are the first that come to mind. The card itself too doesn't abuse it's abilities and even has reminder text for what constitutes a fast creature. There's not really anything here that isn't a great example of how to make a complicated new category/mechanic without confusing the player.

Behead by Lastjustice

I wish they would actually print Behead. Planeswalkers are a pain the butt to remove and play against and having redundancy for Dreadbore/Hero's Downfall in decks would be a welcome addition. The reason I love Behead is because it's simple, it doesn't feel a need to fill it's text box. It's straight to the point, realistic, and something that player's would rejoice to see printed. There's not much else to say on the matter, Behead is a great reference on how to make a simple and believable design.

That's all for this month, if you have any lesser known cards (Printed or smithed) that inspire you let me know in the comments below. You can fine me on twitter @East2Westmtg. And as always this has been East2west with CCC, I'll see you guys on the battlefield.

Nov 17, 2019 by East2West
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