Sword of X and Y - lets brew the finish
Posted on Feb. 27, 2020, 10:55 a.m. by Tzefick
Quite simple, we all know the Swords of X and Y, we all know WotC have intention of completing the cycle for all 10 color pairings. We're still missing out on 3 pieces, so lets try our hand at brewing what they should do:
We already have:
Azorious Sword of Truth and Justice
Orzhov Sword of Light and Shadow
Boros Sword of War and Peace
Izzet Sword of Fire and Ice
Simic Sword of Body and Mind
Rakdos Sword of Sinew and Steel
Golgari Sword of Feast and Famine
We're missing out on:
The general premise is that the swords give equipped creature +2/+2 and protection from the two colors that make up their identity and grants two triggered effects corresponding to their implicit color identities upon dealing combat damage to a player.
What would the remaining 3 Swords look like?
Sword of Unity and Prosperity
Artifact - Equipment
Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and protection from white and from green.
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, create a Treasure token, then look at the top five cards of your library. You may reveal a Creature, Aura, or Equipment card from among them and put it into your hand, and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.
Sword of Past and Present
Artifact - Equipment
Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and protection from blue and from black.
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, you may exile a card from a graveyard, if you do you gain 2 life. Then target instant or sorcery card in your graveyard gains flashback until the beginning of your next turn. The flashback cost is equal to its mana cost plus "pay 2 life".
Graveyard removal is a nice tech option, especially for Commander where the Swords are more popular. The flashback may very well require a CMC limit of maybe 4 or 5.
At first I wanted it to grant "until end of turn spells you cast have Surveil 2" (look top 2 cards of library, you may dump them into the graveyard or back on top in any order). It could also just trigger a Surveil 2 or 3 by itself. Black likes cards in the graveyard and Blue has an affinity for flashback.
However I was drawing a blank for the other half of the effect, seeing as Surveil is both Blue and Black (the Dimir mechanic of Ravnica 3) the other effect could be either of. Discard is covered, milling is covered, destroying creatures might be a bit much, drawing is covered, recurring creatures is covered. The effect also needs to be small and not too wordy.
Sword of Rage and Serenity
Artifact - Equipment
Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and protection from red and from green.
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, you may have equipped creature fight another target creature, then exile the top card of your library, you may play that card until end of turn.
Definitely one of the stronger Swords and is very close to Sword of Fire and Ice. I failed to find something else that was truly interesting.
It is a fun but ultimately a bit weird interaction by having a creature with protection fight another creature, as fighting a red or green creature is essentially just a one-sided fight or Aggressive Instinct.
Enchantment removal was considered for both this and for the variant but it felt too powerful on a Sword and not very interesting. Sword of Sinew and Steel have a powerful combination of destructive capabilities, but it is rare that you will find a target for the Planeswalker, especially beyond the first as players generally wont cast their Planeswalkers if SoSaS is on the field. Enchantments are often a bit more plentiful, ensuring you can keep hitting relevant targets for a while and keep players from playing any new out of fear of losing it with the next hit.
For a moment I considered an extra combat step trigger that only allowed the equipped creature to attack during that step, but I figured that would be too powerful for Voltron strategies, which is where you usually use equipment like the Swords.
It could have added non-emptying mana to your mana pool as a replacement for either effect, seeing as both colors likes doing that as seen on Savage Ventmaw and a few others.
First; this is a noble cause and I like the thought process.
I like how you’ve considered the overlap between the colours as a primary focus for their abilities, and I like how the cards you’ve designed came out.
I’m not going to format my entire suggestions, just the name and the ability.
Sword of Prosperity and Growth
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, reveal the top five cards of your library, and put any number of creature cards revealed this way into your hand, and the rest on the bottom of your library in any order. Then, put a +1/+1 counter on equipped creature for each card put into your hand this way.
The abilities kind of go green then white, but I think there’s enough overlap to go either way. It’s not super powerful, but in a sweet spot that feeds the deck it’s in.
Sword of Costs and Benefits
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, exile the top three cards of your library. For each of those cards target opponent may lose life equal to its converted mana cost, if they do not, put that card into your hand.
Maybe a bit OP? I was considering making it you lose life equal to the CMC, but what are your thoughts?
Sword of Impulse and Aggression
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, discard a card then draw a card. If the discarded card was a creature card, equipped creature fights target creature.
This one is similar to yours by quite a bit, but it makes you work a bit harder for the fight.
February 27, 2020 8:52 p.m.
Fun thread! Here are my takes, focused on combining the very two color identities (and coherent with the name) :
Sword of One and Many
Artifact - Equipment Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and protection from white and from green.
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, create a token that's a copy of equipped creature, except the token gains lifelink and first strike and isn't legendary if equipped creature is legendary. Then, populate.
Sword of Violence and Courage
Artifact - Equipment Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and protection from red and from green.
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, exile the top card of your library. It deals damage equal to its converted mana cost to any target and you gain that much life. You may play that card this turn.
Sword of Fraud and Deception
Artifact - Equipment Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and protection from blue and from black.
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, that player discards a card at random. You draw cards equal to the converted mana cost of the card discarded this way.
February 28, 2020 7:26 a.m.
MindAblaze Thank you for the praise and your own suggestions.
If I may offer a bit of feedback;
I avoided the +1/+1 counters on the Green-White one because it's already present on Sword of Truth and Justice, and that one is a guaranteed 2 counters on one target plus whatever more you can proliferate.
I think getting all the creatures from the revealed cards is maybe a bit strong on the card advantage side. More so the closest spell I find that does the same is Beast Hunt or Lead the Stampede - a 3 CMC (well, there is Winding Way as a 2 CMC). Whereas selecting one out of a mass is more like Commune with the Gods - a 2 CMC.
I would replace the counters with another effect and tone the creature-grabs a bit down. Otherwise, very nice idea.
I think the trigger is way too much. Lands are effectively free for the opponent to discard but any higher CMC is causing a lot of damage or free card draws. Sword of Fire and Ice is already considered one of the best Swords because it provides unconditional card draw in colorless. This one is easily better on average.
Turning it around so you choose to pay the life just makes it into a 3-copied Dark Confidant with an opt-out for the life loss. And Dark Confidant is already considered one of the stronger cards in Magic, even when it is enforced draw.
I don't even think there's a way to tone this particular effect down without either still having it way stronger than Sword of Fire and Ice or having the cost be so minimal that it effectively just has increased damage on-hit and the card draw portion is non existent while exiling your own library.
If you were to keep the card advantage aspect of it, I would rather suggest a very different approach to this particular Sword than what is done with the rest, which is not unlike how that color pairing has previously been treated - something that is a bit stranger than usual. Figure something like this:
"Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, exile up to seven cards from the top of target player's library. For each card less than seven exiled this way, put a Shadow counter on ~. Then you may remove X Shadow counters from ~, and cast a card exiled with ~ with converted mana cost X or less without paying its mana cost."
It's something akin to Villainous Wealth but on a much slower scale, but obviously repeatable. You need to choose between getting more options and getting resources to play those cards. If you first exile a bunch of cards and later need the resources to play them, you can opt to not exile any more cards but instead generate resources for the Sword and immediately cast the wanted card. You can also choose a mix, to exile top 3 and generate 4 counters to cast up to a 4 CMC spell.
The effect is also still practically milling, so it can work in tandem with blue-black's mill strategies if need be, but it provides an alternative value for other strategies by granting access to pseudo card draw and pseudo ramp.
This version could also be changed to be very restricted to only creatures or only instants & sorceries to lower the power level, as this version is still very strong. It could also be changed to only be able to exile cards from target opponent's library, so you cannot ensure the outcome through manipulating your own library - think Vampiric Tutor, Brainstorm.
I think your idea needs more work and balance, as it is very strong.
It's a neat little design. Not much to say, but it feels a bit underwhelming. Also that the Fight is conditioned on discarding specifically a creature means you need a critical mass of creature cards in your deck to take advantage of half the triggered effect. Not that that is too unfamiliar for the Swords when considering Sword of Sinew and Steel, Sword of Light and Shadow, Sword of War and Peace.
Self reflection and consideration for the Swords Show
I think you need to craft the Swords from a mindset that all colors should find it useful and properly valuable and not be too niche. One of the worst Swords is Sword of Body and Mind because milling is such a niche parameter for all colors but blue and blue/black and the odd Altar of Dementia deck, and the token is so small value that it doesn't change much. Add on top that the protections are not as valuable, as green and blue have the least amount of targeted removal on the board, and while pro-green makes you unblockable or a nice wall against green's massive creatures, it's still overshadowed by trample.
I think for my Selesnya Sword I should give the option to grab a land as well - not in addition but as a choice. I think more off-colors (than green & white) could appreciate fetching a land more so than an aura or equipment.
February 28, 2020 8:13 a.m.
WizardOfTheNorthernCoast Those are some very strong triggers. Please keep in mind that they should be on similar level as Sword of Light and Shadow, Sword of Truth and Justice and Sword of Feast and Famine (the latter considered the strongest Sword in general). You should probably not make the suggestions stronger than Sword of Feast and Famine and Sword of Fire and Ice, just as a suggested baseline of what could be realistically printed.
February 28, 2020 8:22 a.m.
I've always joked about there being an 11th sword.
Sword of All and Nothing (3)
Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and protection from multicolor and colorless.
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, until end of turn the next spell you cast costs (X) less to cast where X is the number of basic land types among lands you control and create a 1/1 eldrazi scion token.
February 28, 2020 9:29 a.m.
MrLizard Indeed that could be a possibility. I would think there could be one for artifacts/colorless specifically and then one for multicolor.
For the multicolor it could be "Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, the next spell you cast this turn you may pay rather than pay the mana cost of that spell."
Since WUBRG effectively makes it impossible to use in other Commander decks than full color palette, a Commander specific item could be: "Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, for the next spell you cast this turn, you may pay , paying at least one mana of each color of your Commander's color identity, rather than pay the mana cost of that spell."
That effectively works for all Commanders, but has some requirement to it other than just paying . It does also work for colorless Commanders as the require is to pay for each color of Commander's color identity, which is none, so basically just - but you can only have lands that produce in that deck, so effectively you pay a "colored" mana equal to your Commander's identity.
The artifact one is a bit harder but could be something like "Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, you may put a Darksteel counter on target artifact. That artifact is indestructible. (This effect lasts indefinitely.)"
Artifacts worst nightmare is mass removal, so gradually protecting your board, ala Darksteel Forge could be a valuable asset. For Voltron or Equipment themed decks, getting to protect your equipments is also very valuable.