by doomfistmonk, Dec 15,2011

Planeswalker Design and Discussion

If ever there was a setting that demanded sphinxes, it is this one! Obviously, it will depend greatly on the final storyline, but if there can be a sentient dragon planeswalker in Magic, could there be a sentient sphinx planeswalker?
Trying to incorporate graveyard mechanics, plus sticking to the pseudo-shards color alignments that have been established over in the Flavor area, how about a tri-colored (Uwg) sphinx planeswalker?
Tefshu, Keeper of the Codex :1m::G::W::U:
Planeswalker - Tefshu [starting loyalty 1]
Gain 1 life for each nonland card in your graveyard.
Look at the top four cards of your library. Put one of these cards in your hand, and the others in your graveyard.
Reveal the top four cards of your library. Then, choose up to four target cards from your graveyard. Target opponent separates these cards into two piles. You put one of these piles into your hand, and the other into your graveyard.

Starting loyalty of only [1], because flavorfully, it seems like a sphinx wouldn't really be loyal to anyone but itself!
[edit: I just listened to episode #36 of the podcast and liked what was discussed about making the planeswalkers powered-down. Could that be another reason for starting loyalty of only 1? I'm not much of a developer, I don't think, so please feel free to disagree!]

Again on an unposted podcast Greg and I have reworked the ascend mechanic to not require counters. Here is my first try to make a "fixed" planeswalker.
Baraka, High Priest
Legendary Creature - Human Cleric (R)
t:: Gain a life for each card in your hand.
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have 30 or more life, remove all counters from Baraka, High Priest, put 3 loyalty counters on it, and then transform it.
Baraka, Ascended
Planeswalker - Baraka
- Up to one target creature can't attack on its controller's next turn.
- Put a 1/1 colorless slave token onto the battlefield for each card in your hand.
- You get an emblem with "If you control a creature, damage that would reduce your life total to less than 1 reduces it to 1 instead."


Another attempt riffing on Greg's idea from the podcast
Alhanhotep, Dark Wizard
Legendary Creature - Human Wizard (R)
t:: Search your library for a creature card and put it into your graveyard. Shuffle your library afterwards.
During your upkeep, if there are 8 or more creatures in your graveyard, remove all counters from Alhanhotep, Dark Wizard, put 4 loyalty counters on it, then transform it.
Alhanhotep, Ascended
Planeswalker - Alhanhotep
- Exile a creature card in your graveyard.  If a black card is exiled this way, draw a card.
- Put target creature card in your graveyard with converted mana cost X onto the battlefield.
- Exile all cards in all graveyards.  Target player loses life equal to number of cards exiled this way.


Happy Monday morning, to you all!
Not sure how many Leg Cr/Planeswalkers you're thinking of having in the set, but here's a new version of my sphinx, Tefshu, using the 'Ascend' transformation mechanic... note the nod to Greg's 'Gravitational Shift' story! :)

Tefshu, Favored Strategist
Legendary Creature - Sphinx (R)
When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, search your library for an instant card, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
At the end of your upkeep, if you have cast two or more spells this turn, remove all counters from CARDNAME, then put two loyalty counters on it, and then transform it.
Tefshu, Ascended General
Planeswalker - Tefshu
Creatures without flying cannot attack CARDNAME.
Put a 1/1 blue Aven Soldier creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
Attach up to two target Equipments you control to up to two target creatures you control.
You get an emblem with 'Creatures with flying get +2/+0. Creatures without flying get -2/-0.'

As I was working him out, I came up with these two companion cards...

Tefshu's Armory
Instant (C)
Search your library for up to two Equipment cards, reveal those cards, and put one onto the battlefield and the other into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

Wings of Tefshu's Zealots
Artifact - Equipment (U)
Equipped creature has flying and 'Sacrifice this creature: This creature deals 1 damage to target creature or player.'
Equip :2m:


Re: Tefshu
All the abilities on Tefshu seem to be thrown on there for no reason. What does searching up instants have to do with equipment and the +2/0, -2/0 ability? I think it's important that we show the connection between creature and planeswalker through their mechanics. Something like this comes to mind for me:
Siis, Matron of the Nahil
Legendary Creature - Human Druid
At the beginning of your end step, you may search your library for a land and put it onto the battlefield. If you do, shuffle your library.
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control 7 or more land, remove all counters from Siis, put three loyalty counters on it, then transform it.
Siis, Spirit of Khamiel
Planeswalker - Siis
<+1>: Gain 1 life for each land you control
<0>: Sacrifice a land, then put a 3/3 green Elemental creature token with trample onto the battlefield.
<-5>: Untap all lands you control, they become 1/1 green Elemental creatures until end of turn. They are still lands.

I love the idea of dudes turning into planeswalkers SO much. At first I was kind of meh, but as the weeks go by it has grown and grown on me. The idea of a fantasy world where people are trying to ascend into some form of godhood is just amazing. Kind of reminds me of the Dragon Kings from Dark Sun (D&D). Some of the designs above are awesome. I particularly like Siis and Alhanhotep. I think of Alhanhotep as "All-in-hotep!" because you have to go all-in on shoveling dudes to your graveyard to make him work.
For a while I was wondering (now that Sand/Dust is gone) if we couldn't use the Level-Up faceplate for the front and the idea of double-faced cards to put the Planeswalker on the back. This brings back that problem of counters though. I think you have it right. Define an event horizon and have the guys actively working toward getting there.
[[Magic: East West Draft Cast Custom Set/Card Design | Card Design Main Page]]