I haven’t been specifically trying to design Magic cards lately, but now and zen an idea pops into my head. This card started out as a solution to an annoying Commander problem, then got a little more interesting.
I’ve been playing a bit of Commander on Magic Online lately. My [card]Riku of Two Reflections[/card] deck is pretty terrible, but I can make some fun plays that keep the games interesting. One thing that’s really irritating in Commander (and every format, really) is when someone sets off some ridiculous combo that has them drawing half their deck, searching through their library for combo pieces, and generally taking half an hour to finish the turn. So I thought, “What if you could just take their library away?”
That was the original idea here: just make their library go away until the end of the turn. You play it in response to whatever ridiculous card draw combo stuff they just put on the stack. Stillness of Mind resolves first, and then they try to draw cards and there’s no library there. Oops.
Of course, there’s the problem of players losing the game if they can’t draw a card during their draw step. This card is obviously not intended to be a three mana kill spell you cast during your opponent’s upkeep. I started writing this goofy clause where they wouldn’t die due to drawing a card, but to simplify I figured why not just give the target player the [card]Platinum Angel[/card] ability for one turn? That opens up the versatility of the card. Now you can use it to screw up an opponent’s big play at the cost on not being able to kill him that turn, or save yourself from death at the cost of losing your library for a turn.
In both cases, the drawback is negligible. You were probably not planning to kill your opponent the same turn she drew 16 cards anyway. And if you play this on yourself when your opponent tries to kill you during his turn, well, you probably weren’t going to draw many cards on your opponent’s turn anyway.
I have considered that this card might need to exile itself when played to avoid deeply annoying stall control decks that use it like a [card]Moat[/card]. With [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card] alone it could get pretty annoying.
The other thing I think is interesting about this card is the zen theme. The idea of emptying your mind and finding stillness and peace there comes from Buddhism, and I think that’s an area that white could explore more in Magic. White does a lot with the themes of law and protection, but some of the seemingly contradictory ideas of zen meditation and Buddhist philosophy could lead to powerful designs for white cards. More cards where you seem to lose something, but gain something much more powerful, or cards where you gain tremendous advantage by having an empty hand, or maybe even no lands on the battlefield. Do you guys have any ideas?