—Art by Willi Heidelbach

Sometimes late in design, a card ends up getting cut and needs to be replaced without all of the usual testing and tweaking. These cases can be particularly difficult to design for, since they need to have most of the characteristics of the cut card while also being completely different. This week, your challenge is to create a card to fill just such a slot.


The set is a core set, with the returning mechanic of investigate should you choose to use it. (Investigate is an action keyword which means “Create a colorless Clue artifact token with 2, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.”) Since this is a core set, you are not bound to any specific flavor or any specific plane. The card cut is the white/blue uncommon signpost card. In its place, the set needs a new uncommon white/blue card that fits into the white/blue archetype of prowess.

Further, this archetype has been having a little trouble winning against both red and green decks in the format, so this card should ideally help the deck win against both red and green. Red uses efficient Auras like Hammerhand to get damage in early, and keeps it going with Auras like Shiv’s Embrace giving evasion. Green has one particular card which can single-handedly beat the prowess deck: Tajuru Pathwarden. The combination of already being larger than almost all of the prowess creatures and having both vigilance and trample has proven particularly difficult with the amount of combat tricks green has in this set to support it.

So, this signpost white/blue uncommon should:

  • Support the white/blue prowess deck in some way.

  • Help against an aggressive red strategy that uses Auras.

  • Help against large green creatures.

  • Optionally use the returning mechanic investigate.

Design Example

Here, my idea was to make a design which could both get rid of blocking green creatures and make Auras fall off of red creatures by temporarily exiling them. To keep the card simple and to make it obvious that it fits into the prowess deck, the card only uses a very simple trigger of casting any noncreature spell to flicker a creature. The result is a card which has several possible uses, and is particularly useful against certain decks while also being generally useful overall.

Flickering Skirmisher

There are a lot of restrictions this week, but that just means your card will be all the better once it’s done. I look forward to seeing all of your creative ways of meeting the challenge. Each week the entries for these contests have been great, and I expect no less this time.

A photo of Andrew EvansAndrew Evans

Andrew Evans has been playing Magic since 2000, and designing custom cards since 2007. He's a regular at FNMs, and enjoys dissecting games to figure out how they work.