Cardsmith Blog

CCC: UnUsual

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

Happy April everybody! On this, the month of fools, I feel like it's an appropriate time to share some thoughts on Un Sets. Today I want to talk about the wacky, wonderful, and whimsical world we see in the silver bordered sets. Specifically, what happens when they're legal in EDH, what cards are fun in cube, and some other fun tidbits. Without further ado let's get into it.

Section 1 - EDH

For anyone that was playing Commander around the time Unstable dropped you'll all remember a short time where Silver Bordered cards were officially legal in the format. Now obviously this couldn't last forever but lord what a time. Of course during this time certain cards were banned to make sure the format wasn't instantly broken, that list is still on the WOTC ban site. During this time a new group of Commanders became playable. This list of legends is going to be what this section is about, specifically if they are safe to play as generals and what kind of decks could be built.

Off the bat I'd like to knock off the ones that are instantly unsafe, some may not be broken but I just don't like what they open the game up to. Of the 14 possible silver border generals (Richard Garfield is Illegal) two stand out to me as instantly being unfun and they happen to be part of the same cycle. Spike, Tournament Grinder and Johnny, Combo Player are both cards I hope never to see as a general. Spike is unfun for a clear reason, ban lists exist for a reason. Being able to tutor up a Shahrazad in Commander is not something anyone wants, and before you say it wouldn't be able to be played in a Spike deck let me remind you City of Brass, Rainbow Vale, Mana Confluence, and other rainbow lands have no color identity. Johnny is slightly more playable but the second he comes out it just becomes a race among the other players for who can remove him faster. Tutor effects like that are usually tap abilities on permanents (Planar Portal for example) and even then they're really good, Johnny is the kind of card I can see being super broken in the right build.

With that out of the way let's get to the tier list of Un-Manders and their playability

No Tier - X / Jalum Grifter

The No Tier is reserved for generals that are playable but you still probably shouldn't play just for ease of other players at the table. X is straight up confusing for some players and is just kind of a drag to have at the table. He's not inherently broken but it's still something I'd urge players away from. Jalum Grifter is similar to this mindset. He's not broken but his ability is confusing and something to be steered away from. In all honesty though Jalum is much better than X play wise so I'd be willing to move him up a tier if someone could make a good case.

Jank Tier - Dr. Julius Jumblemorph / Grimlock, Dinobot Leader / Mary O'Kill

The Jank Tier is home to generals that would be awesome if there were just a couple more pieces for the deck. Dr.Julius is really cool but the amount of Host and Augment cards is low so a whole EDH deck with him might not find success, him being all creature types is pretty solid though especially given his colors. I could see random tribal working here, a Mistform Ultimus type deck. Grimlock is similar here, just not enough Dinosaurs and Vehicles for it to work, if there were this would actually be in the Fun Tier, it would make a sick deck. Mary O'Kill is the same story. There's only a single Killbot in existence otherwise an awesome and evasive beatdown strat would be the line here. I hope we get the pieces for these guys someday.

Fun Tier - Phoebe, Head of S.N.E.A.K. / Timmy, Power Gamer / The Big Idea

Fun Tier is where we start to get into the playables, these are decks that would lose to most actual EDH decks but would still kick butt. Phoebe is my personal fave at this tier since her ability is so unique. Her high cost and to use that ability and her lack of removal protection is what makes it fall flat. Still, I might have to make this deck. Timmy is sort of a legendary version of Elvish Piper which itself is an EDH staple but Timmy's ability costs more. There's a deck here, like this ability is super powerful, there are just commanders that can do it better. Timmy is 100% safe to play but if he was legal there really are just better options. Finally the Big Idea is a Rakdos Aristocrats/Token decks dream. This madman would enable that deck like no other General really. The main problem is once again his cost. He costs a total of six to play and his ability can't be used on play due to summoning sickness. Even if you did give him haste that's ten mana a max of only six 1/1 tokens. He's good, just not good enough.

Good Tier - Baron Von Count / Frankie Peanuts / Grusilda, Monster Masher / Ol' Buzzbark .

Finally, Good Tier, the decks that actually work! Let's start off strong with Baron Von Count. This guy is a dream for brewers. His ability is such a build around, taking out threats while inching the clock closer and closer to doom. Most importantly though he's fair. You clearly see the threat and have time to deal with it before the big boom making it a fun General that encourages table talk and interesting games. Frankie Peanuts is actually a commander I have experience with. My old LGS allowed him as commander and I played him for a solid couple months. He is a super fun pillow fort General that is completely fair, completely playable, and deceivingly tricky. I'm a big fan of Frankie and he holds a special place in my heart. Grusilda is a great card, she's like a cooler version of Grenzo, Dungeon Warden in my opinion. A sort of toolbox reanimator deck is where I see her niche, filling the grave then creating powerful and unique monsters. God I want to build this so bad now. And lastly we have Ol' Buzzbark, in my opinion and awesome take on Gruul in EDH. He's got an ability that involves the whole table and will definitely cause some major plays and memorable moments. I'd love to see him in action more.

Part 2 - Cube

Out of the 600 or so cards in my personal cube only 21 have silver borders and the ones that do are, in my opinion, the best of the best from among all the Un Sets. Some are just in there because I had them and they seemed fun (Knight of the Kitchen Sink, Modular Monstrosity, Very Cryptic Command, Split Screen, Goblin Tutor, Strategy, Schmategy, and Everythingamajig.) The others however I'd like to go into some detail about.
Un Cards in a cube environment should do one of maybe three things. Enable unique strategies, cause memorable play moments, and encourage table talk.

Unique Strategies - Magical Hacker / Grusilda, Monster Masher / Earl of Squirrel / Symbol Status / Goblin Haberdasher

Magical Hacker lets you play control and aggro but most of all it enables a deck in my cube called Ultwalkers. Imagine ultimating a planeswalker every turn as long as you can pay one blue. Enough said. It's powerful so add it with caution but it's really fun. I already said my piece about Grusilda earlier so no need to go over that again. Earl of Squirrel makes token strats just a little better and a little goofier. I was also lucky enough to get the promo so of course I had to put it in, besides Squirrel Nest is in the cube. Symbol Status creates another type draft experience where you're trying to find permanents from different sets. This card can create an army of 1/1 tokens out of nowhere, hands down a fave of mine. Goblin Haberdasher serves a similar role, have you ever drafted a creature based on whether or not it had a hat on? I have and it's some of the most fun I've ever had drafting Magic.

Memorable Play - Spike, Tournament Grinder / Richard Garfield, Ph.D / Urza, Academy Headmaster / Sword of Dungeons and Dragons.

Spike is not safe for EDH but in cube she's cause some amazing sequences. Ever played an 8 player Shahrazad? I have and it was insane! Richard Garfield is essentially as good as your knowledge of Magic. An experienced player dropping this will lead to a quick game but with the right players this will lead to the wackiest game ever played, swear to god. Urza is the fun kind of random, either a flop or a bomb but either way very memorable. The Sword of D&D is sort of an in joke but it is powerful as hell. I'm the DM for the same people that make up my MTG group so they got me this as a gift. It's been a much used piece in the cube ever since.

Table Talk - Jalum Grifter / Ashnod's Coupon / Bronze Calendar / Chaos Confetti.

Jalum Grifter is really fun in a casual format like cube, a sort of game within the game that I've come to appreciate. Ashnod's Coupon is a really funny card, whether in someone's house or in a more public space there's never a reason not to play it. It really makes for some funny conversations and forces you to talk to the others at the table. Did someone board wipe? Well now they're getting you a soda, perfect revenge. Bronze Calendar is just extremely funny. I've lost more than once to my girlfriend beating me down with giant creatures while speaking in a horrible british accent, I highly recommend it. Chaos Confetti is a weird one, trust me you don't want people ripping the card. I personally took a piece of paper as big as the card sleeve and keep it in there with Chaos Confetti. Once played that's what's ripped and used. It's one of those moments that feels so good, if the chance comes to play it, take it.

Part 3 - Tidbits

Do you want to use Un Cards in your cube or with your friends? Here are 5 tips to remember when using them. 1 - The salt can be real.

For all players losing to a goofy card can be a really feel bad moment, especially if it's the goofy mechanic that causes them to lose. Make sure your players know what they're getting into when they agree to use Un Cards. A common case of this when a card like Kindslaver causes a player to lose the game.

2 - Don't punish players for playing Magic and/or speaking.

There are plenty of Un cards that punish players for normal things and that's just simply not the environment you want to have. A lot of cards with the Gotcha mechanic are like this, they're fun for a bit but the line between fun and annoying gets crossed really fast. Use common sense, think about if you'd have fun playing against the card before putting it in.

3 - Complication does not equal fun.

Cards like Bureaucracy and Gerrymandering are good for a laugh but at the end of the day they are so overly complicated that it's just not worth playing them. Make sure the cards you put int are understandable and funny, not just one or the other.

4 - Fun does not equal playable.

Similarly, not all fun cards are playable. Cards like Face to Face and Side to Side are really fun but their effects can make them unplayable in certain circumstances. If you notice cards never being played it's best to remove them entirely.

5 - Cater to your play group.

Your playgroup are the people you want to have fun with, if they're not having a good time it's not worth it. Make sure everyone's on the same page about using Un Cards in cubes and EDH. If some players don't want to that's okay, Magic should be fun for everyone. Accommodate those players, maybe save the Un idea until you find a player who wants to.

That's all for this month folks. The Future Sight article is going to be on hold indefinitely at this point. I need to trim down the list of cards before I can actually finish it. Expect to see some of the promised supplements coming soon though. If you have any ideas for future articles comment below, message me on the forums, DM me on twitter @East2westmtg, or you can even email me at [email protected] As always this has been East2west with CCC, I'll see you guys on the battlefield.

East2West is an aspiring writer from NJ currently seeking fame and fortune on the internet. She's been playing Magic since Zendikar block (the original one) and is a commander player with one deck for each two color pair and one for each single color. The only non EDH deck she plays is her own personal Pauper brew, Pauper Eggs. Follow her on her newly created and probably soon to be underused twitter @East2WestMTG.

Apr 15, 2019 by East2West

It's Time To Get UnSmithed!

It's Time To Get UnSmithed!

Foegod Awaits!

Last April the universal trickster Foegod took over the site during our month long April Fools theme. This year he's back, but he's not here trying to trick you. No, this year we've asked Foegod himself to help us announce the long awaited SILVER BORDERS!

Did You Just Say Silver Borders!?

That's right, Silver Borders are here! We wanted to mark this festive occasion by asking you to UnSmith your best cards and submit them either here, or to the Forums. If you're able to impress us, or our special guest Foegod, your card could end up as an April Feature!

Featured Cardsmiths


No one is sure just when KJMartin first arrived on the scene, but he definitely made an impression when he first joined the Forums way back in 2016. He credits his brother with introducing him to Cardsmith, and after a long absence he has returned and started the Creature Type Contest along with rebuilding his amazing card collection. Check out some of the cards we thought you might like, and then go and give the rest of his cards a look as well!


Our second Featured Cardsmith this month is Ranshi922. If you've been to the Forums you know Ranshi922 is pretty active there, and he's also quite busy offering card advice to a lot of his fellow Cardsmiths when he's not studying or taking a test! Here are just a handful of fantasic cards he's created, so we'd love it if you took some time to check them out and then go through all of his other cards as well.

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!
Mar 31, 2019 by Corwinnn, & Tomigon

CCC: Baroque

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

So I'm pushing back the Future Sight article by another month due to something I want to talk about that's been coming up more and more lately in the Magic community, deck prices. Modern decks have actually gone up in price lately and the format is now out of reach for many that want to play. This is the duality of our game, the more popular it is the more expensive our cards will become, making it even harder for new players. Pauper is an amazing alternative, for now. As it too becomes more prevalent it's likely those prices will rise as well. EDH has many budget options but as a recent episode of The Command Zone stated, the deck that has the highest price will win more often than a budget deck. I spent the past month looking for a solution and I believe I found one in the form of a new format I've crafted similar to Penny Dreadful. I present, for the approval of the players, Baroque.

The deck building restriction for Baroque is simple, no cards in your deck can be worth more than $1.00 (USD) according to Scryfall, the usual "no conspiracies, no un-cards, etc" applies as well. Baroque will rotate when Standard does so even if a card in your deck goes over a dollar you won't have to remove it until Standard rotates out. This makes it very easy to maintain your deck, every rotation just check your cards and find alternatives for what's rotated. This also means that most big cards aren't legal in the format so new alternatives must be found. The best part though is that every type of deck is represented in the possible meta. I've compiled multiple deck lists as you'll see below. I've given the technical names on this article and some fun alternatives on the decklists.

Do you like Aggro? Well Baroque boasts builds of Bogles, Red Deck Wins, and White Weenie
Bogles (

This build is pretty straightforward, get one of our evasive creatures out and swing in with our enchantments boosting it. Classic Bogle cards like Ancestral Mask, Ethereal Armor, and well Slippery Bogle are all legal making this a pretty easy transfer. Our sideboard features the standard removal as well as the spicy additions of Dryad Sophisticate, for our Tron matches (yes, Tron is a deck) and Rampage of the Clans which can be used to flood the board with 3/3 Centaurs at instant speed.


One of the main issues I've found with this format is that, unlike other formats, quick mana isn't really a thing. RDW gets around this by just being able to play 24 mountains. Bomat Courier gives us solid card advantage if we can get it down early and our multitude of burn spells combined with Chandra's Phoenix can give us a near impossible to remove threat in the air. All in all RDW is a solid build of the classic strat.

White Weenie (

Similar to RDW White Weenie wants to get creatures out fast and swing in with them, however we get to mix in a little splash of midrange type cards to push through. Cards like Imposing Sovereign give us an edge over RDW by tapping down their hasty dudes and Mentor of the Meek makes sure our hand remains full. We also run multiple anthems to boost our on board attackers for one final push through our enemies defenses. Our sideboard has one addition I'd like to specifically point out which is Eight-and-a-Half-Tails. This is the Mother of Runes of Baroque, in specific matches this card will save you in a pinch.

What about Midrange decks I hear you say, well we got you covered with Boros Vehicles and Merfolk decks.
Vehicles (

Entering the format due mostly to the drop in price of Kaladesh singles, Vehicles is a super fun option combining bits of Affinity and Mardu Vehicles. Court Homunculus and Toolcraft Exemplar give us early crew targets while Depala gives us the ability to crew late game as well as dig. Dispatch and Galvanic blast make sure we're able to keep the board clear or even ping to the face if needed. Finally our vehicle selection is pretty great. Vehicles like Heart of Kiran, Peacewalker Colossus, and a single copy of Skysovereign, Consul Flagship allow us some pretty good finishers. A solid Midrange if ever there was one.

Merfolk (

Anyone for a game of Standard? Baroque Merfolk is given amazing help by the new Green Merfolk from Ixalan. Our early game includes Mist-Cloaked Herald and Triton Shorestalker to give us some unblockable threats which can be targeted by their best friend Jade Bearer. Merfolk Mistbinder and Merfolk Sovereign encourage our little guys as they smash into enemy lines. Deeproot Waters ensures us a small army while Wistful Selkie gives us an Elvish Emissary like effect. And for disruption our copies of Repulse and Harbinger of Tides are solid plays. Our sideboard could use some work but Baroque Merfolk is a fun option for the format.

Have you forgotten Control scream the Blue players, well...maybe.
Dimir Winds (

As a quick disclaimer, I have no idea how to build control and I think this may actually be midrange but nevermind that. Dimir Winds relies on it's heavy amount of removal and counterspells to make it to either a Sphinx of Foresight or a Wydwen, the Biting Gale. Judge's Familiar and Oona's Warden give us some quick defense and running them allows us to play Favorable Winds since all our creatures have flying. We're running Countersquall, Force Spike, and Deprive to keep our opponents down while Smother and Ultimate Price keep their board clear. This deck is mean and consistent but boy is it fun.

And last but not least are the Combo decks; Owling Mine, Dredge(?), and Mono-Blue Gift.
Owling Mine (

I am so glad this can happen, Owling Mine is one of my favorite decks of all time and we get almost all the pieces. Ebony Owl Netsuke, Black Vise, and Fevered Visions give us repeatable damage based on cards in hand while Cerebral Vortex, Molten Psyche, Runeflare Trap, and Toil /// Trouble give us extra spell based damage. Arcane Denial keeps their threats off board and fills their hand while Prosperity, Vision Skeins, and Dictate of Kruphix. make sure both players have full hands. I'm ecstatic to see one of my favorite decks playable in my format.

Mono-Blue Gift (

Taking a hint from a Standard season gone by, Mono-Blue Gift aims to reanimate a massive threat as quick as possible using Argivian Restoration and God-Pharaoh's Gift. The big bads we sport are Ulamog's Crusher, Artisan of Kozilek, and the main guy Desolation Twin. Our ways of getting Gift and it's targets into the grave are pretty solid including Taigam's Scheming, Contingency Plan, Careful Study, and Frantic Search. Early game we can get Judge's Familiar for disruption or Hapless Researcher for additional digging. Nothing too spicy in the sideboard but two copies of Tolarian Winds are a nice touch in my opinion.

Dredge(?) (

You may be wondering why Dredge (?) has that question mark, it's because this deck really isn't a dredge deck, it has more in common with Hollow One than anything else. The one Dredge card run is Golgari Brownscale which is included more for it's life gain than anything else and is completely on the chopping block for if the deck gets upgraded. We run a lot of rummage effects and discard payoffs to get both value and threats into the right zones. Our payoffs are cards like Basking Rootwalla, Flameblade Adept, and Wild Mongrel while we run Faithless Looting and Tormenting Voice to get the right cards into the right zones. Bloodsoaked Champion is a card that works similar to Rootwalla in the deck and helps us with repeatable aggro. This deck is shaky, I wasn't sure if I should lean on the graveyard or discard strat so it's very open to improvement. I do want to point out the inclusion of Darigaaz's Caldera in our mana base though since I love the lair cards.

Now these aren't all the possible decks of the format, I mentioned Tron earlier and that was good reason. The main problem is there are some pieces of decks that I personally can't figure out how to make, and it's my hope you guys can. Here's a quick list of decks that can be made, I just couldn't figure out.

  • Storm - (Grapeshot, Empty the Warrens, Fecundity.)
  • Affinity - (Galvanic Blast, Dispatch, Carapace Forger, Ardent Recruit, most of the artifact lands)
  • Death and Taxes - (Lodestone Golem, Vryn Wingmare, Flickerwisp)
  • Tron - (Cloudpost and other Locuses, Eldrazi)
  • Charbelcher - (Goblin Charbelcher)
  • Mill - (Drowned Secrets, Jace's Erasure)
  • Chromatic Beatdown - (Glass of the Guildpact, cheap multicolor creatures.)

Baroque is a format full of possibility, if you're willing to give it a shot leave a deck list below. Let's play on untap. Try the format with your friends and tell me about it. Baroque is something I want to see more of in the community. Even if you don't try it out, leave a comment. I love hearing from you guys. As always this has been East2west with CCC.

Here's the current list of cards legal in Baroque: Full List

East2West is an aspiring writer from NJ currently seeking fame and fortune on the internet. She's been playing Magic since Zendikar block (the original one) and is a commander player with one deck for each two color pair and one for each single color. The only non EDH deck she plays is her own personal Pauper brew, Pauper Eggs. Follow her on her newly created and probably soon to be underused twitter @East2WestMTG.

Mar 16, 2019 by East2West

How To Get Recognition on MTG Cardsmith

So you're looking for some recognition.

For some Cardsmiths, MTG Cardsmith can be difficult to get recognition from, while other Cardsmiths seem to find success with great ease. Since many new, and even some old, Cardsmiths want to know what it takes to get recognition on MTG Cardsmith, we decided to ask a handful of highly recognized Cardsmiths what they think are the most important things that new Cardsmiths can do to increase their chances of getting recognition.

Where does recognition come from?

The first thing we wanted to do was dissect where recognition comes from. We eliminated any qualities we felt only lead to negative recognition and came up with a list of TEN notable things you can do in order to gain the positive notoriety you might be looking for. Here they are...

  • A- Improve the quality of your cards.
  • B- Create many cards.
  • C- Add other cardsmiths' cards to your favorites.
  • D- Follow other cardsmiths.
  • E- Participate in FORUM contests/challenges/events.
  • F- Host contests/challenges/events in the FORUMS.
  • G- Make cards for other cardsmiths.
  • H- Ask for feedback on your cards in disqus or in the FORUMS.
  • I- Post funny, nice, or friendly comments.
  • J- Give constructive criticism to others.

Each of the Cardsmiths we presented these points to were asked how important each one was to them. We then asked them to put each point in order from most important to least important. We were surprised by some of the responses and how varied some of them were from Cardsmith to Cardsmith.

So what were the results?

Of the Cardsmiths polled, there were some clear favorites among the best ways to earn recognition, so let's take a look...

And here are some of the things they said...

  • E- Participate in forum contests/challenges/events.
  • - The easiest and quickest way to get out there and show off your name and cards.
  • - Noticing the amazing creations in them makes you feel fresh and motivates you to do something of your own!
  • I- Post funny, nice, or friendly comments.
  • - If you want recognition, you should probably give recognition. If your time is limited, leave a nice comment, and people will remember you.
  • - It's very comfortable to log into this site thanks to its amazing users!
  • A- Improve the quality of your cards.
  • - Study card design and the logic behind it. Reading literally anything written by MaRo is a great starting point for a new Cardsmith.
  • - I wish this could be higher, however, simply improving your cards currently isn't a great way to expand your online presence. Although creative and well-designed cards can accumulate enough favorites to make it on the Favorites section for all to behold, that happens most often with users who have established a prominent online presence.
  • -This is nearly as important as socializing. One of the things I find that triggers acknowledgement and sparks interest from others is a unique approach to card design, both in mechanics and flavour. This idea is fairly unobtainable without, however, having a solid foundation within the realm of realistic MTG design. And as such, should be a fundamental purpose.
  • H- Ask for feedback on your cards in disqus or in the forums.
  • - It's better if your disqus user name and cardsmith user name are the same.
  • - A good way to make contact and get feedback but can be somewhat ineffective if the person asking has not created enough cards.
  • - If you get good criticism on your cards, recreate/edit those cards. People won't continue to give feedback if you don't listen to what they have to say and put some of it into good use.
  • J- Give constructive criticism to others.
  • - This is another way to establish a connection with others. That being said, I've seen plenty of Cardsmiths show that they don't understand what 'onstructive criticism' means, and that has lead to hurt feelings on both sides. As a rule of thumb, I think that Cardsmiths should focus less on the 'smith and more on the cards.
  • - A good way to learn is to teach. The problem is when there is no "correct" way of creating cards. If the one giving criticism is not experienced enough or well known there is a risk that the critic does not hit the correct spot for the receiver.
  • - This is an artistic site, so people might not know what might be exactly wrong in their creations. Luckily, other people tend to be able to spot the mistakes, and help fix them!
  • F- Host contests/challenges/events in the forums.
  • - This is probably the one and best way to receive recognition. However to create a contest, challenge or even saga requires a basic set of knowledge and a will to fulfill these. Also it might end up making the creator disappointed if the contest does not get much recognition in the first place. It's a high cost, high risk, high reward thing.
  • - The MTG Cardsmith forums are a powerful tool towards becoming renowned, and we all love contests. Hosting a challenge or an event is a great way to meet people, as it helps you establish a presence on MTG Cardsmith.
  • C- Add other cardsmiths' cards to your favorites.
  • - If you favorite a card, your name is shown in that page, and we can go to your page by clicking your name. It's a very easy and nice way to let others notice you.
  • - Even that little star of appreciation can make someone's day!
  • D- Follow other cardsmiths.
  • - Although it can sometimes be hard to keep up with their creations if you follow too many, it doesn't hurt at all to let them know you want to see more from them and that you're interested in their upcoming cards!
  • B- Create many cards.
  • - This is only good if we can tell you are trying to make realistic cards. If your cards are bunch of anime characters and breaking mtg rules, wording, color pie, it could work in the opposite way.
  • - Quality over quantity. I try to put as much dedication to every single card as possible, because I like it! But there is nothing wrong with being in a flow and creating cards from the many amazing ideas which you have in mind in one sitting!
  • G- Make cards for other cardsmiths.
  • - A kind gesture to do for friends but not a good way to get recognition unless you want to be "creepy" and make cards for people that don't know you at all, then I guess it is a quick way to get recognition from that person but not the right kind. You want to make cards for people when you already know them, unless they ask for it in a challenge/contest or something like that.
  • - This is the greatest free prize you can give someone, be it as a thank you or a reward for a contest, to me. People are not necessarily egotistical, but let's be honest, everyone loves having cards modeled after themselves. That being said, this should always fall after "improving card quality", because despite the fact that people will ninety nine percent of the time favorite a card made for them, it doesn't mean they like it. So it can be a precarious edge to traverse if you lack the skill to perform well.

Golden Acorns

We also asked them if they had any words of wisdom to pass along. These are some of those Golden Acorns of knowledge.

The most effective way to get popular recognition on MTG Cardsmith is to stick around. Simply put, the longer you have been on MTG Cardsmith, the more people know you and your cards exist. Of course, this relies on you being somewhat active creating cards and interacting with others in the forums. But the more time you have spent on MTG Cardsmith, the more likely you'll regularly get positive recognition in the community.

I definitely think the NUMBER ONE way to get recognized is a few things that need to occur in a specific order.

  1. Make cards that look like WotC cards- wording, art, templating, etc...
  2. Make cards that do things WotC cards don't do, while still looking like WotC cards.
  3. Put those cards into the forums for people to see.
  4. Comment politely on other cards in the same forum thread that your card is in.
  5. Do this over and over. And wait patiently for your reputation to improve.

To me, MTG Cardsmith is about having fun and making the cards we've always wanted to see. Accept criticism with grace and give it with kindness. Challenges aren't about winning, as much as they are about improving your craft and building friendships within the community.

Give credit to Artists!

My "golden acorn" would be "give out love, and you'll receive love" or properly translated "favorite and say a nice thing on a ton of cool, interesting, creative, beautiful cards, and people will start to notice and return the affection by favoriting your own cool, interesting, creative and beautiful creations." And be patient about it. You'll slowly get better over time, people will notice, and you'll start to make friends and gain followers.

Don't be afraid. This is a blanket statement that covers soooooo much.
Don't be afraid to ask. Ask cardsmiths why they said what they said, ask where they got their information, ask why that rule is there, ask why that doesn't fit within that colour. Magic is an incredibly complicated game with rules and rules and rules inside or rules ruling over lesser rules with a ruling fist. Magic is Azorius, it's unbending hidden laws written in context and subtext most people can't fathom. So never just accept something someone says you don't understand. Always ask why.

I think the most important thing anyone can do is to perform research for each card they publish. To elaborate, a relatively new MTG Cardsmith should approach each new card as a learning opportunity. They should refer to real WoTC cards that are similar to what they are trying to create (especially cards they like), and they should also refer to custom cards they like here on the site. They should "Disqus" the custom cards they like with their creators and ask questions if they don't understand something (referencing their next design and requesting help is always a good tact here). Now they've built up interest in their design before publishing and heighten their chances of getting the most important "early faves" so that their cards will be more visible to others. This kind of research will quickly and greatly improve one's ability to design custom cards and will make the journey more fun/rewarding.

"World and story Building". Create cards that are related to a world and story. This is something I have done since day 1 and even though I don't believe it got much recognition at first, it did put a marker on my name for those that saw it. It is not always easy to see these traits but when they are seen they are remembered.

Step outside your comfort zone. It's cliché, but true. Make cards you would never use. Make cards for colours you never play or hate playing. Make spells you don't like. We learn a lot from doing that which we don't enjoy. Being on this site doesn't always need to be easy. Working out at a gym is hard, but it's how you grow stronger or healthier. The same can be said for here. If you just make mythic creatures, you'll only be able to improve a little. If you cover the entirety of the spectrum of card types, you'll not only improve significantly more, you'll open up crazy new concepts and ideas you never would have before. Being a cardsmith can be hard, and through that difficult path you'll find much greater rewards.

Featured Cardsmiths

This month we chose two more incredible Cardsmiths to feature... jpastor & Nirvava!


Anyone who has been to the Forums knows who jpastor is. He is the inventor and proprietor of the Mystery Box thread. If you haven't been to the Forums and gotten a Mystery Box, then you haven't lived! There are some Cardsmiths who only come on the Forums to do the Mystery Box Challenges! We picked five of his cards to feature, but you should check out the rest of his creations as well!


Nirvava is a bit of a different choice for a Featured Cardsmith, but we promised to mix things up this year and do things a bit different than last year. Nirvava doesn't come to the Forums and their cards aren't always WotC approved, so why give them a Feature? Nirvava has created nearly 700 cards in only FOUR months! We felt that kind of dedication should be noticed, so take a little gander at Nirvava's cards, maybe you'll find something that inspires you!

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!

Mar 01, 2019 by Corwinnn, & Tomigon

CCC: Archenemy

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

No matter where you are in the multiverse there is a darkness, an evil that lurks within the hearts of all sentient beings. Heroes may rise against these great evils but more often than not they fall to the sheer power of their foes. In the game of Magic only one format truly allows you to experience the power wielded by these beings. Whether a crazed inventor scheming and tinkering their doomsday weapon,a mad druid, bent on the destruction of all that is civil, an ancient dragon through whose eyes we are all nothing more than food, or a vastly powerful necromancer whose endless hordes will overpower any opponent. This is the format known as Archenemy. (For details see )

I first encountered Archenemy in my local target just after learning how to play the game. At the time I had no idea what it was or how it worked but it had Magic cards inside, and I wanted them. I never actually read the rules and the cards just sort of floated around in my collection for a while. Recently I heard about the format online and dug out the old box. I set it up and was kind of disappointed actually. The gameplay was fine but there was never any excitement in being the villain. They made the archenemy faceless so the player could implant themself but I honestly didn't like that. Then the second installment, Archenemy: Nicol Bolas came out. This is what I wanted. It was flavorful, it was fun, and for the first time the heroes had decks too! This gave birth to the idea of making my own Archenemy line.

First, I asked a friend what their favorite character from the MTG storyline was, then I got to work. They answered Phage who makes a great archenemy, now historically Phage was faced in a massive battle by Ixidor, Kamahl, and Akroma so the player decks were set. Almost every card included has a flavor reasons with a few added just so the deck can function. Below are the decklists as well as the designed Scheme cards for Phage

Phage VS Ixidor, Kamahl, and Akroma


Your Heroes Are Dust

When you set this scheme in motion for each opponent destroy a creature that player controls. For each legendary creature destroyed this way draw a card.

The Fallen Shall Be Your Undoing

When you set this scheme in motion each player puts the top three cards of their library into their graveyard. Then for each opponent put a creature from that player's graveyard into play under your control.

(2) From Nightmares I Am Formed

When you set this scheme in motion put your commander from your command zone into your hand. You may cast your commander without paying its mana cost until end of turn.

Seed Of The Deathwurms
(Ongoing Scheme)

When your commander dies abandon this scheme. When you abandon this scheme destroy all creatures then create an 8/8 black Wurm creature token named Deathwurm.

For All Your Heroism You Naught But Cowards

When you set this scheme in motion you may have target creature you control become unblockable until end of turn, if you do not then creatures your opponents control can't attack you until your next turn.

(2)Bleed For Me

When you set this scheme in motion each opponent loses 3 life, you gain life equal to the amount of life lost this way.

Your Screams are Music to My Ears
(Ongoing Scheme)

At the beginning of your end step each opponent chooses to either sacrifice a permanent or lose 3 life. The next time you are dealt damage abandon this scheme.

(2) Abandon All Hope

When you set this scheme in motion each opponent sacrifices a creature and loses 1 life.

(2) Turn on Your Masters

When you set this scheme in motion gain control of up to three target creatures until end of turn, at the beginning of your end step sacrifice a creature.

Any Last Words
(Ongoing Scheme)

Whenever an opponent casts a non-black spell they lose 1 life. At the beginning of your opponent's turn, abandon this scheme unless at least one of them has 10 or less life.

This Desert Shall Be Your Grave

When you set this scheme in motion all opponents lose life equal to the number of lands they control.

(2) Fear My Power

When you set this scheme in motion draw a card for each opponent unless each opponent discards a card.

My Resources are Limitless
(Ongoing Scheme)

Whenever you tap a land for mana it produces an additional mana of any color. At the beginning of each opponent's end step if any player controls no tapped lands abandon this scheme.

Your Paradise Shall Fall

When you set this scheme in motion destroy up to two target lands.

Hello Again Brother

When you set this scheme in motion the player piloting the Kamahl deck chooses self or others. If they choose self destroy all creatures that player controls, if they choose others or if the Kamahl player has already been eliminated all other opponents put the top ten cards of their library into their graveyard, then you may return a creature card from an opponent's graveyard to the battlefield under your control.

Please enjoy these precons and if you do play with them give me some feedback! I hope you all give Archenemy a try whether you do so by making your own, using mine, or just buying the product. And remember to be kind when playing, the archenemy is just playing a bad guy, they're still your friend.

Now as for why this article is a little late, some of you may have noticed that this is posted later than normal and there's a reason for that. I've got a big thing in the works involving Future Sight (the set) that ended up being longer than I thought (it's 10 pages and it's NOT DONE). So this isn't actually what this month's article was supposed to be. So get hype, next month we talk about the future of Magic through the lenses of R&D circa 12 years ago.

East2West is an aspiring writer from NJ currently seeking fame and fortune on the internet. She's been playing Magic since Zendikar block (the original one) and is a commander player with one deck for each two color pair and one for each single color. The only non EDH deck she plays is her own personal Pauper brew, Pauper Eggs. Follow her on her newly created and probably soon to be underused twitter @East2WestMTG.

Feb 18, 2019 by East2West
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