CKY's Solphos: To Meet a Planeswalker

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A large set based on combos, combo enablers, and Victorian science.





Ral Zarek is a planeswalker who hails from Ravnica. You may recognize him from his appearance in Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012, where he packs an aggressive deck that's all about flying beats and burn. The man is a capricious, enigmatic inventor, and he's among the first in the Multiverse to unlock the secret of harnessing galvanic propulsion. With his shock of swept-back hair and his protoætheric suit of armor, he wouldn't look out of place in an Izzet den... or in the Order of Heliud's jail cells.

Recently, Ral has discovered a fascinating plane on the fringes of the Multiverse called Solphos. The learned humans of this plane have forged a technocracy in a ruined world, where grand alchemy is common and wondrous technological contraptions line the streets. To an interplanar artificer like Ral, the place is heaven. Driven by an insatiable curiosity and an itchy welding finger, he's been scouring the city for every nugget of experimental lore that has ever been recorded in Solphosian history. After all, he reasons, why shouldn't all the Multiverse have access to the incredible scientific achievements of this plane?

Unfortunately for Ral, his research has hit a snag. In the course of a tireless quest for learning that has taken him from the Turris Kardiapolis to the Institute ruins, he's discovered that crucial portions of perioch archives all over the plane have been destroyed by aqua calamita... and the last time he checked, volatile acids don't just randomly appear out of thin air. No, this is the work of an insidious saboteur, someone with a mysterious and terrible secret to hide. What could it be? What is at stake?

The further Ral delves, the more dangerous the trail of information becomes. He realizes that there isn't any more room for joking around... not when the forbidden knowledge he pursues could threaten the entire plane.

Ral, Inquisitive Inventor
Ral, Inquisitive Inventor

Planeswalker – Ral (M)
3

+1: Draw a card, then discard a card.
0: Untap up to two target nonland permanents.
-6: Search your library for three cards and put them into your hand. Then shuffle your library.


Comments and criticism appreciated.

Embrace imagination.

Lord of YMtC | Ten Rounds Contest Winner

Solphos – A fan set with a 'combo matters' theme

Fool's Gold – The second set of the Solphos block

Very, very, very nice bio for him.

I really like how the ultimate slots in perfectly with all the combos in your set, and the +1 seems flavorful and fair. However, I think the 0 should have the option to tap as well, because that feels a bit more manipulative and blue traditionally gets that option.
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56778328 wrote:
Why did you post it here? "Hey, all you guys who play this game! I'm not gonna play it!" "Umm... Ok, dude."
The 0 doesn't tap anything for flavor reasons. Tapping feels more to me like sleep, ice or messing with the universe than anything related to investigation or inventions.

Embrace imagination.

Lord of YMtC | Ten Rounds Contest Winner

Solphos – A fan set with a 'combo matters' theme

Fool's Gold – The second set of the Solphos block

I'm not sure blue should be allowed to cast Titans on turn four.

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Changed to "nonland permanents."

Embrace imagination.

Lord of YMtC | Ten Rounds Contest Winner

Solphos – A fan set with a 'combo matters' theme

Fool's Gold – The second set of the Solphos block

oh the end of the amazing card streak XD
I must say this is a little less than amazing. 

It doesn't feel like he has a game plan. 
It doesn't feel much original.
It doesn't feel like he has much of an identity.

His untapping ability is like blue Tezz's first ability. The biggest difference, and imo the biggest downfall of the design, is to put a narrow ability in a 0 or negative slot on a planeswalker. 

Untapping is not always useful. You can almost always "do it". but it doesn't always make a difference. Like i've played with unbender tine in drafts (I would say it worths every mana of that multicolor 4CMC) and and voltaic key in combos. But outside of those contexts, little decks employ once-a-turn-untap tech. Tezz's design saw that and you get a loyalty counter no matter what, while yours felt like it only got 2 and a half ability. 

I think the "0" or negative ability should make more impact than that.

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I really like the card - I think "nonland" on that 0 ability actually makes it way more "whacky inventor"-like. But isn't he U/R? Why the mono-blue cost, then?

Mechanics wise, his first ability is just as red as it is blue, perhaps even more so. The others are obviously way bluer.
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I don't really have anything against the current card, but Ral should really be UR. We've got mono-blue 'walkers already.
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Ral Zarek -
Planeswalker - Ral
+1: Put a token copy of target permanent onto the battlefield. It has haste. Exile it at end of turn.
-2: Target player draws three cards, then takes damage equal to the number of cards in his or her hand.
-6: Search your library for an instant card and a sorcery card and exile them. You gain an emblem with "Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery from your hand, copy all cards exiled by ~. You may cast the copies without paying their mana cost."
3
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It doesn't feel like he has a game plan. 
It doesn't feel much original.
It doesn't feel like he has much of an identity.

Ral, Inquisitive Inventor was designed as the "combo planeswalker." His game plan is to sit behind a wall and help you search for your combo piece. It might not be original, but as you should already have gleaned, I favor playability over originality.
Untapping is not always useful. You can almost always "do it". but it doesn't always make a difference. Like i've played with unbender tine in drafts (I would say it worths every mana of that multicolor 4CMC) and and voltaic key in combos. But outside of those contexts, little decks employ once-a-turn-untap tech. Tezz's design saw that and you get a loyalty counter no matter what, while yours felt like it only got 2 and a half ability. 

I know his second ability is narrow, that's why it's a [0]. It gives you something to aim for and build around, and it looks really cool when you get a [0] engine going. If you can't reuse your abilities or make huge amounts of mana, at least you can give your creatures vigilance or use the [+1] ability instead.

@Lobster667 and Nyktos: I already have something else in the set that's (you'll see it later, don't worry) and I didn't want two gold cards in the same color combination. I also didn't want to step on Wizards's toes in case they ever print a Ral Zarek card.

Embrace imagination.

Lord of YMtC | Ten Rounds Contest Winner

Solphos – A fan set with a 'combo matters' theme

Fool's Gold – The second set of the Solphos block

Yea that's what I meant. You put build around me, narrow ability on the plus side. Plent y of examples for narrow planeswalkers - Tezz, both blue and the blue black one, And Venser - that way all three of his abilities matter, hence my two and a half abilities comment. XD

I'd suggest put the loot on 0 and increase its impact to draw two discard two.

"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." - Antoine de Saint-Exupry

[spoiler MLP]Congratulations, you've found My Lie Policy: Only when i'm prompted, i might lie. (policy still in the refinement process.) [/spoiler] [spoiler I am both rational and instinctive. I value self-knowledge and understanding of the world; my ultimate goal is self-improvement and improvement of the world around me. At best, I am focused and methodical; at worst, I am obsessive and amoral.]I am Blue/Green
I am Blue/Green

[/spoiler]
I agree with theatog. The narrow ability works better at +loyalty, and the all-upside one at +0, to give players an actual decision each turn.

I like your choice of making him solid blue. Flavour-wise, it shows he's playing a research/exploration role in an unfamiliar land. Mechanically, three-mana "utility" walkers seem like they should be accessible to more colour combinations.
I guess it's a matter of how we want Ral to play out. I designed his [+1] and [-6] first, then tacked on the [0] to give him a little more interest and board presence; I never intended [0] to be his main ability. Besides, if his looting ability was [0] he wouldn't ever get to his ultimate, and where's the fun in that?

I'm not sure if your examples of Tezzeret 2 and Venser count, because all their abilities are insanely narrow anyway. I prefer the design of the Lorwyn Five and Elspeth Tirel, who have general abilities that can slot well into a variety of decks.

Embrace imagination.

Lord of YMtC | Ten Rounds Contest Winner

Solphos – A fan set with a 'combo matters' theme

Fool's Gold – The second set of the Solphos block

Would it be bad if his +1 was "Draw a card, then you may discard a card."

Helps the blue identity a little bit, since looting is getting attention in red now, with the choice being yours, he is draw or combo enabler, which would be the point I feel;  Choices.

Other than that it's fairly cool.