Back again to relay all the latest Fan Creations information, it's me, presumably a turtle.
This week's Conversation will take a look at - gasp - an entirely different card game! MtG recently released a new mechanic, and I want to talk about it a bit, so I will.
Get Behind Me!
Congratulations are in order for Devizz, whose Varok Saurfang won the WCDC this week!
They'll be deciding our next theme, so look forward to that.
My New Best Friend
As I mentioned at the start of the article, I'm straying from Hearthstone this week - and really, from Fan Creations in general - to look at a new mechanic from MtG: the Companions.
Y'know, your standard pets - an otter, a kraken, a demonic cat.
Companion is an interesting mechanic. In return for a deck-building restriction - uh-oh - you get to start with your Companion as an extra card in your hand - UH-OH - that can't be discarded and doesn't count against your hand-size limit. It's a tad more complicated than that, but for someone unfamiliar with the game, that explanation will suffice.
Now where have I heard about a mechanic like that before...
Don't worry, they're extra Wild now that Witchwood has rotated.
The comparisons to Baku and Genn came quickly, especially when two of the ten Companions have a restriction based around odd and even mana costs - as seen on Gyruda above.
Worry about how these cards would affect the game was all over each one revealed - especially when it became apparent that some of them could fairly easily slot themselves into existing decks in older formats while barely changing the decklist, or not even changing it at all.
Lutri was revealed and almost immediately announced to be pre-banned in Commander and Brawl, the game's two singleton modes where it could be added to any Red and Blue deck (but not Red or Blue, stupid Hybrid rules) for free. This sparked another wave of doomsaying and criticism of the mechanic, with players questioning how they could have designed a card that would certainly be banned immediately. That criticism forgets, of course, that cards are designed for Limited and Standard first and foremost.
Now that they've released, it seems the fears weren't unfounded - Gyruda is tearing up Standard (and apparently other formats) with a deck which can get a ridiculous amount of stats on the board very quickly, not dissimilar to a Darkest Hour Warlock or something like that. Lurrus fits nicely into an existing archetype and only bolsters it, while several of the others are also making waves in formats whose general purpose is to be as unchanging as possible.
With all that said, what do I think of this controversial mechanic?
I kind of love it.
Don't get me wrong - if cards with the mechanic are too strong, then by all means they should be banned where appropriate. As someone who plays cards for the fun of it, however, the intrigue of trying out these varied deck restrictions and coming up with silly combos or themed decks based around them excites me more than any overpowered design can dampen my spirits.
As a Fan Card Creator too, this new mechanic intrigues me much like Adventure did, and Mutate does from the same set. Seeing these boundaries pushed and prodded at makes me happy, because when I see that I see a game that is thriving; one that isn't afraid to take risks on interesting design ideas, that wants to see where the next set can go.
I see parallels with Hearthstone right now, a game which has been in a weird tumultuous state since the release of a brand new Class. Hearthstone also pushed the boat out in ways that I certainly never expected them to, not just in the introduction of a new class but in the little things, like having that class have a 1-Mana Hero Power. The balance wasn't right straight away, but they're making moves to correct it quickly and efficiently, and it shows that there's excitement there from the team. They want to see what they can do next.
Is Companion an inherently broken or unfun mechanic? I don't think so. Are there some Companions that will need to be banned? Most likely. But I hope to see the mechanic return in the future, tweaked with the knowledge they've gained from this trial run into something more people can enjoy.
To wrap it up, a nudge towards this week's WCDC! It's a bit of a Secret competition this time, so you'll have to click the banner below to find out about it.