—Grand Coliseum, art by Carl Critchlow

Your challenge this week is to create a champion of the arena, a legendary gladiator strong enough to overcome all trials and charming enough to win the popular vote. That is to say, this week your challenge is to design a legendary creature which meets a set of requirements. Besides being a more fun and interesting way to design a legendary creature, my hope for this challenge is that the restrictions help you create a card you otherwise never would have thought of, and to get some practice using different ideas to begin designs with.

Feat of Strength

Before even reaching the arena, a champion must prove its worth. And what better challenge for a gladiator than destruction? Your champion must be able to overcome at least one of the mighty Krosan Cloudscraper, the deadly Form of the Dragon, or the nigh-impervious Darksteel Reactor. How exactly your champion overcomes this obstacle is up to you, but the obstacle must either be removed from the battlefield or rendered useless. (For example, since Form of the Dragon sets its controller’s life total to 5, dealing 5 damage to a player would get rid of the enchantment. And making it so that the Krosan Cloudscraper could not attack or block would also work, as it renders it useless.)

Rising Through the Ranks

Even after reaching the arena, a champion’s work has only just begun. To rise through the ranks, a champion must be able to survive intense combat. Murder, Cruel Edict, and Anger of the Gods all represent common types of attacks your champion will face in the arena; your champion must be able to survive through exactly two of them. Since the audience is always thirsty for blood and abhors a perfect hero, your champion must also be defeated by the last attack, whichever card you choose.

Fynn, the Soulbinder Micora, Deathbrander Lucien, Deflector Champion

Trial by Combat

After proving its strength and reaching the top of the arena, there could be no other end for your champion then fighting each of the arena champions in single combat. In order to be accepted as a true champion, your card must defeat one of the existing champions. This week, my design examples are the champions; they are Fynn, Micora, and Lucien, all directly above. They were designed to be a perfect mix; each one is particularly suited at overcoming a different obstacle, and each one has a different weakness. (This week I am intentionally avoiding a lot of guidance, since a lot of both the fun and the challenge comes from finding unique designs which meet all of the goals.)

But remember, just winning in combat isn’t everything. To truly win in the arena, your champion must be able to capture the hearts and minds of the audience, and win the popular vote. I look forward to seeing the worthy champions, forged by battle, and to see one of them crowned as champion by the audience. Enter or vote in the contest here.

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.