You can find the instructions here.
I wasn’t a part of the Great Designer Search in any way. I just decided this felt interesting enough for me to try out. I guess I’ll do all of the challenges eventually.
I decided to go with a tribe that doesn’t have pretty much any support: Horrors.
As of this writing, there’s a surprising number of around 200 horrors. MagicCards.info says exactly 200, but some of those are double-faced, so some might have been listed twice. I would have expected much less. Another thing to consider are the cards that produce horror tokens. There are some that involve zombie horrors, but there’s also plenty that produce Eldrazi Horrors in Eldritch Moon.
There’s actually one pseudo-lord for Horrors. [card]Thing in the Ice[/card]. Now, I’m not saying its a Lord in the same way as [card]Lord of Atlantis[/card], but it has strong Horror synergies. Not sure what we’ll do with that…
For some years (1995 to 2002) Demons were replaced by Horrors as the iconic creature type, although there are horrors in all colors. Black is still the main color for them. According to the rules, we need to be in at least two colors. Since many horrors interact with the graveyard in some ways, the natural counterpart for black is green. There are actually 25 green horrors in existence. Here’s a gallery of some that caught my eye:
The Gitrog Monster
Are any of these helpful? Maybe. I think Delirium might fit the bill. The rules allow the use of any evergreen keywords as well as two others from the history of the game. I was going to use Delirium, but than decided against it, as it had anti-synergy with what I wanted to do with the tribe, so I decided not to use any. Undying might have been another interesting choice, but often I do want the creatures to actually go to the graveyard.
Now, I understand that tribe might not be a good choice. The designs need to be fun to play with and against, and a flavorful horror might not be that. Also, what is a horror anyhow? Scary things are quite subjective after all. But hey… this is for fun and science.
There needs to be a total of eight cards, two of each rarity. There also needs to be a creature, land, enchantment, artifact, sorcery and instant. This means that we don’t need to have set of creatures that could be used as a basis for a constructed deck or anything like that.
The idea here is that horrors are hard to fight against. They have a tendency to renew and come back stronger than ever. I’m not going to use recursion, but instead, I’m going to push various effects, which makes your other horrors better, if horrors you control die. This is somewhat problematic for commons, as this means that you should sometimes take lines that differ from what one might usually do. This might be a plus as well. Newer players might feel like they are getting away with something when they can abuse their dead horrors, but more experienced players could possibly find more interesting lines of play.
So, let’s start with the commons. There’s actually a surprising amount of common Horrors, especially since they were iconic back in the day. I don’t think I’ll follow their example very strongly here. So, I want something fairly simple for the common spot, because they need to be easily understandable.
Growing Horror 1G
Creature – Horror
Exile a horror card from your graveyard: Put a +1/+1 counter on CARDNAME
Like a [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card], but much weaker. Not strictly, though. Potentially powerful two-drop, which might very well become a top pick at common for the color, if the tribe would be strong enough overall.
As an additional cost, you may exile a horror card from your graveyard.
Target creature gains -1/-1 until end of turn. If additional cost was paid, put a +1/+1 counter on a target horror you control.
A variation on the [card]Subtle Strike[/card] theme we’ve seen a lot of in recent sets.
Horrific Prophecies 2B
Search your library for up to two horror cards with different names. Put one of them into your hand and the rest into your gravyeard. Shuffle your library.
[card]Sarkhan’s Triumph[/card] does something quite similar, but searching is more in black’s part of the color pie. There are, of course, precedents to the graveyard effect as well. [card]Entomb[/card] being the best known. There is also [card]Jarad’s Orders[/card], which closely resembles my card as well.
Whenever you attack with one or more horror creatures, you may put the top three cards of your library to your graveyard.
3BG, sacrifice this card, exile three or more horror creatures from your graveyard: Create a X/Y horror token, where X is the total of the power of the exiled cards and Y is the total of the toughness of the exiled cards.
Here, the sources of inspiration are mostly [card]Autumnal Gloom[/card]/[card]Ancient of the Equinox[/card] and [card]Corpseweft[/card].
Whenever a horror is exiled from the graveyard, put a +1/+1 counter on each horror creature you control
The horror version of a classic lord.
Land of Horrors
This card comes into play tapped unless you sacrifice a horror.
T: Add B or G
T, Sacrifice a horror: Add BG.
This goes a bit into red territory, as there is a ritualistic component here.
Horrific Statue 4
Whenever a horror enters your graveyard from anywhere, you may pay B. If you do, sacrifice Horrific Statue and create a 6/6 black and green Horror creature token with menace and trample. It has “G, sacrifice this card: Return Horrific Statue from your graveyard to the battlefield”.
I feel this might be pushed just a tad more in some regard, but it might already be too much for limited. Then again, they don’t seem to shy away from mythics that wreck any limited games whenever you see them.
Mother of Horrors 2BB
Legendary Creature – Elder Horror
Whenever a horror enters your graveyard from anywhere, you may pay B. If you do, create a X+1/X+1 horror creature token, where X is the amount of horrors you control.
You know, always larger than the last one. Horrors keep on getting more and more horrific.
I’m missing quite a few names. Basically all. They just don’t seem that necessary, even if they do help communicate the ideas behind cards better.