Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist; art by Aaron Miller
Magic has a lot of background flavor and very limited numbers of card slots, so it sometimes happens that a character the audience loves ends up without a card of their own. Such was the fate of Ludevic, a crafter of Horrors, Zombies, and abominations in general from Innistrad. Your challenge this week is to design a legendary creature card to represent Ludevic. (Some of you might be thinking that Ludevic already has a card, Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist from Commander 2016. And while that is true, that version of Ludevic is widely considered a disappointment for failing to accurately capture the essence of what makes Ludevic Ludevic. So, let’s review what Ludevic’s card needs in order to correctly capture who Ludevic is.)
The Legend of Ludevic
Ludevic is known for one specific thing above all else. Creating monstrous abominations. Whether they be Horrors, Zombies, or some bizarre artifact creature, Ludevic is a creator. The challenge this week is that your card must have some way of creating such abominations. To do any less would surely disappoint all of the players waiting for a Ludevic card. And of course, it would be far too simple for Ludevic to just simply make a token. He is a mad genius! So how he makes those abominations should feel weird. Whether he makes tokens, or returns creatures from the graveyard to the battlefield, or copies the opponent’s creatures, or any other way to make abominations, it should feel like a science experiment by making players care about something they normally don’t track, or making them jump through some sort of hoop, or any other way you can think of to add an element of the bizarre.
Aside from crafting abominations, Ludevic also enjoys long walks on the beach, tinkering with the fabric of life he has wrought, and passing on his dark knowledge to worthy apprentices like Geralf. These can provide some more inspiration for a second ability. For example, Ludevic could both create an abomination, and then have an ability which allows him some amount of tinkering with it, such as changing its power and toughness or giving it abilities. Or, you could focus on Ludevic as a mentor figure, and extend his powers to other worthy creatures, perhaps giving them abilities to help fuel Ludevic’s crafting or teaching them how to create their own abominations directly.
My design this week is fairly straightforward. I began by focusing on Ludevic as someone who revels in horror, and can transform a player’s feeling of dread into a physical manifestation. The more pressure the opponent is under from losing life, the stronger the Horror that Ludevic creates. And, he also has an ability that gives him some control over the Horrors he creates. Flying was chosen to give him a feeling of inevitability, as the Horror becomes more difficult to block, and Deathtouch was chosen so that even small Horrors have some meaning.
Well, that’s only one possible design for Ludevic, and I am eager to see what monstrosities you all can release upon the world with your own version of Ludevic. Until next time, may your science be weird and your zombie horde unending.