Star vs. Magic: the Gathering

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FordPerfect
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Star vs. Magic: the Gathering

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Introduction:
What is this Thread about?
What is MTG?
Some Important Game Mechanics
Color Pie

Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
The Show
Card Design Philosophy
New Mechanics

Legendary Creatures /Planeswalkers
Star Butterfly
Marco Diaz

Creatures:
Laser Puppies

Artifacts & Enchantments:
Mystic Room Suck Transform

Instants and Sorceries:
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Last edited by FordPerfect on Fri Jul 23, 2021 5:20 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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What is this Thread about?

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I’ve been playing Magic for a while, six years or so (with a two year break in the middle), and like many other players, became very interested in its design. I’ve made custom cards before and even tried convincing some of my friends to design their own cards around a theme, building our decks with them so we could play.

The project was never finished, but I printed proxies of some of my custom cards and had fun with them. This year I felt inspired and started designing cards again, this time I’ll post them here, then maybe someone else will find them fun or interesting.

Most of the cards I made are based on fantasy works not related to magic. Due to both the hardship of finding images fitting cards of original settings, and because I like the exercise of trying to locate a character mechanic and flavorwise on the color pie.

During my first adventure with custom cards I tried to make enough cards for a complete set, but then I realised I wouldn’t play most of them and the base work didn’t have material well balanced among the colors, mechanic and flavorwise. This time I will be a little more picky and only make cards from the elements that really make sense (or fun) to be translated into MTG cards.

By the time I’m writing this introduction I only plan to share my current project: Star vs. the gathering of Magic. As it has many cards ready and many others in process of creation, but depending on my time availability and the eventual utility and/or interest this thread might have to other people eventually I can post more cards.

I have plenty of cards designed around Hilda that still don’t have an image (in case you haven’t heard of Hilda, I’m talking about the not so popular children animation from netflix) and some loners that are simply ideas that come to mind once in a while.
Last edited by FordPerfect on Wed Jul 07, 2021 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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What is MTG?

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Magic: the gathering is to my knowledge one of the first and most popular TCGs (Trading Card Games) there are, but it is probably a good idea to make a quick introduction on the topic for the ones that aren’t familiar with it.

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A trading card game is a game of cards, and as in most card games, the results are defined by both strategy and luck. But differently from most classic card games, each player has their own deck of cards that are assembled from their collection, following some deck building restrictions. (eg: a deck can’t have more than four copies of any nonbasic card, a deck must have at least 60 cards; there is a list of banned cards if you are playing competitively). And that gives a whole other dimension to it: your strategic planning starts with deck building and unfolds as you play the actual game. The base rules of the game are relatively complicated, and can be a little beginner unfriendly, but once you grasp the basics the rest becomes a lot simpler and the diversity of possibilities in each game is amazing!

Lorewise a game of magic is a battle between two or more extremely powerful mages, capable of travelling across a multiverse full of fantasy worlds, summon hordes of monsters and cast devastating spells. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
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Some Important Game Mechanics

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There are several card types in Magic, each of them with slight mechanical and thematic differences from the others. I’ll explain here just the most notable difference: between lands and spells (aka: the rest of the cards).

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Lands represent places the mage discovers while exploring the multiverse, and are used to generate mana. This mana is used to cast spells (play the other cards) or activate abilities that will (hopefully) help you win the game (or prevent you opponent from doing so). They are the only cards that don’t have a mana cost in their upper right corner, and 99,9% of the time have an ability that generates mana in their text boxes.

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How do you win the game? Each player starts with 20 life points and at least 60 cards in their decks. You usually win by dealling 20 damage to your opponent, however, if a player must draw a card and their deck has none, they lose as well.

The primary way of dealing damage is attacking your opponent with creatures.

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They have a box with two numbers on the bottom right side. The first number, their power, represents how much damage they deal in combat. The second, their toughness is how much damage they must receive to die in a turn. If a spell of other kind deals damage it is explained in its text box.

Another good thing to know about card types: Creatures, Enchantments, Artifacts and planeswalkers stay on the table after you play them. Instants and sorceries cause an effect and go to the discard pile right after it is completed.
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Color Pie

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For those who are familiarized with fantasy RPGs, an easy way to explain the color pie is that it is for magic: the gathering, what classes and alignments are for D&D and Pathfinder. That is to say, in a D&D game every class has strengths and weaknesses, as well as things they can do that other classes can’t. Take a wizard for example in D&D. The wizard has a diverse array of spells, useful to solve almost any problem the party can have, but the wizard has to choose their spells carefully as they don’t have as much repeatability as non magical classes and are absolutely horrible at healing (assuming wizards have access to healing spells in the version you are playing). With colors in MTG it is the same, blue is the only color that can counter spells; it is the best color for card draw; but it has a really hard time dealing with permanents after they come into play, as blue’s answer for that is mostly returning them back to their owner’s hand and hoping to counter them next time they are cast.

The color pie is also comparable to alignments, because aside from it’s mechanical balance implications, it describes the philosophy engulfing goals and means behind the actions of characters aligned with each color. It is important to underline, though, that as the alignment system, the color pie has its limitations and ends up failing to classify complex characters and real people. But of course that is not a problem. Even though neither color pie or alignments are able to flawlessly describe the world around us, they weren’t made with this purpose, and we can still have a lot of fun broadly categorizing powers and characters with them.

Now I’ll try to summarize the philosophy of each color in a paragraph each. If you want to dive deeper in the topic, I recommend reading Mark Rosewater’s articles written in 2015 about them.

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White:
Ultimate Goals: white desires a world where everyone gets what they need and there is no unnecessary suffering;
Means: achieves that through rules and the structure to ensure the complement of such rules;
Hates: it despises selfishness and recklessness the most (aspects represented by black and red respectively, white’s enemy colors);
Strength: white’s cooperation is able to create a whole stronger than the sum of its parts;
Weakness: disregards the power of individuals.

Blue:
Ultimate Goal: blue desires to reach their own potential while improving the world around them towards its potential as well;
Means: achieves that goal gathering all the information there is, being systematic if possible; Hates: it dislikes impulse and instinct the most (represented by red and green, blue’s enemy colors);
Strength: the capability of turning information into a valuable tool;
Weakness: tends to be passive and unable to take quick decisions.

Black:
Ultimate Goal: black wants power to look after their interest, because no one else will;
Means: obtains that through any means possible, ignoring morals, ethics or any other made up limitations.
Hates: it can’t stand forces that drive people into acting against their own self-interest, being them a rule system (white) or commitment to the natural order (green)
Strength: the willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve its goals;
Weakness: Black itself, since sometimes the price is too high;

Red:
Ultimate Goal: wants to follow its heart’s desires, to be free and to enjoy life to the fullest;
Means: achieves its goal through destruction, fast and impulsive actions and inciting strong feelings into others.
Hates: Red hates when people tell them not to do something (white’s rule system) and dislikes thinking and waiting just as much (blue).
Strength: its purpose, clarity and readiness to advance toward its goals.
Weakness: Its refusal to think in the long term.

Green:
Ultimate Goal: green wants to get everyone to sit back, realize how beautiful the world is and fulfil their role in the bigger picture.
Means: If people don’t come to nature, then green will bring nature to the people.
Hates: green can’t sand interferences to the natural process, being them things that aren’t supposed to exist (blue’s creations) or the arbitrary removal of something that’s natural (black killing and reanimating things).
Strength: green’s bond to nature allows them to make full use of what the natural world has to offer.
Weakness: green is so focused on the living beings (creatures mostly) that they are almost helpless without them.
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Project 1: Star vs the Forces of Evil

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This show tells the story of Star Butterfly, a magical princess from another dimension that's sent to Earth for magical security matters by her parents. Here she lives as an exchange student in the house of Marco Diaz and his family. At the start, Marco feels frightened and irritated about her, seeing Star as an infinite source of trouble, but after fighting as a team against Star’s archenemy and his minions, the two of them get along very well and end up living many adventures and misadventures together, meanwhile Star learns about Earth and improves her wand wielding skills.

Why is this show so great? It is hard to explain. I’d probably begin with the visual aspect. Something that is pretty cool about Star vs. is how most things, starting with Star herself, carry a fantastic and magical, yet girlish and childish, yet weird and kind of wacky aspect. I mean, look at her:

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A young girl with blonde hair, dressed with bright colors and mostly smiling, transmits her upbeat vibe and naive character. Her wand and magic are really childhood magic-ish (and Sailor Moon-like, but I’ll talk about it later). Even without a second look, however, her horned tiara, sharp-toothed boots and the flammable rainbow communicate there’s something peculiar going on.

Talking about Star’s design, I couldn’t help myself from saying it: Nothing and no one will ever convince me her boots aren’t a stylized version from Munchkin’s Boots of Butt-Kicking.

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Other than that I’ll just say the show has the right mix of comedy and adventure, interesting recurring characters, great main characters and a nice multiverse full of quirky little details.
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(Magic) Design Philosophy

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I’ll state here the ideas I have/had in mind while creating those cards.

First of all, I’m not aiming for a complete set.
Under the metrics established by Wizards of the Coast, every set released for Magic: the gathering follows strict criteria of color distribution, mana cost distribution, card type distribution, rarity distribution as well as some desired effects that must be present in every set to maintain sealed and standard games under control.


I won't make an effort myself to fulfill any of these. If a character, scene or image inspires me, I’ll transform it into a card, doing my best to fit it mechanically and philosophically in the color pie. I won’t alter cards, create more or less cards of a kind just because green needs more creatures or blue hasn’t got a counter yet. (I apologize to the green players in advance, since it is by far the most underrepresented color for now).

I create cards I’d like to play with.
For a variety of reasons, Magic is full of cards that are bad or just not as good as they could be. Often, what happens to those cards is that people just don’t play with them because they prefer good cards. I’m no exception, so I will try to create cards that are as powerful as they can be within the 2018 parameter. Why until 2018? Because, at that time, the math relating the cost and power of cards made more sense to me. In my opinion, cards like Werewolf Pack Leader and Dauthi Voidwalker are too cheap for what they do.

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Compare those three cards. Doesn’t something feel wrong to you? Back then you had to choose if your two drop would have a massive body or draw cards.

Let’s be Mechanically Conservative.
Magic is already a very complicated game, rich with keywords, keyword actions and ability words to work with. For simplicity’s sake I’ll work as much as possible with pre-existing mechanics, creating new ones only when I feel they are needed.

Mechanics vs. Flavor
Sometimes the best way to represent something in a card is not the most enjoyable for gameplay, and vice versa. When a situation of this kind appears, I try cutting from the side that hurts less, keeping a balance.

Commander vs. “Real Magic”
As I’m creating cards mostly based on animations, it is natural that a big part of them come as legendary creatures that are the driving force of the commander format. I will, however, avoid making “commander exclusive” cards -by that I mean cards that refer directly to commander color identity, command zone or any other commander exclusive concept- and even when it happens, I’ll try to design them in a way that works for 60 card Magic as well. Why? Because I like how commander and traditional magic have a compatible card pool and you have to figure out what works where and how.

Editing:
By the time I’m posting those cards I haven’t playtested them yet, but plan on doing it. So, if I perceive some design flaw, excessive or deficient power level, I’ll edit the post and leave a small note on the alteration made.
Last edited by FordPerfect on Wed Jul 07, 2021 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Star Butterfly

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In the beginning of the year I was rewatching Star vs., all episodes in the right order for the first time, and then this thought crossed my mind: princess from another dimension, lots of spells, a multiverse… yeah, that’s pretty magic-the-gatherable. But I didn’t feel motivated enough to make the cards since, just because something is thematically compatible with Magic, it doesn’t mean elements from the setting translate well into it mechanically.

Anyway, as I was creating Hilda cards at the time, I sketched a version from Star that didn’t satisfy me and thought “Well, if the main character doesn’t feel well represented, why bother doing the others?” Weeks later Strixhaven came out with the magecraft mechanic as the last piece of the puzzle. “Magecraft - Whenever you cast OR COPY…”

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And here I present to you, Star Butterfly, title character of the show!

Personalitywise Star is an enthusiastic and optimistic teen that cares deeply about her friends and favors fun over safety 9 out of 10 times. She is also quite naive and unfamiliar with Earth’s culture, to the point of not knowing what a bike is or believing fortune cookies actually tell the future. All those characteristics combined put her and Marco in countless weird and dangerous situations, and if you ask me, align her with red on the color pie.

Take as examples some episodes like “St. Olga's Reform School for Wayward Princesses,” when she faces her worst fear to save her friend Pony Head; “Sleepover” when she decides on using a powerful magical artifact to make a truth or dare game more interesting; or “Star on Wheels” when she expects Marco’s bicycle to be pulled by giant invisible goats.

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Despite what one might think from Star based on her naivety and carelessness, she is a serious fighter and very good spell caster when the situation calls for it. While nothing like a traditional book smart wizard, Star makes up for her “faults” with creativity and dedication. This is made very clear in episodes like “Raid the Cave” and “Baby” when it is said that most spells cast by her along the series are her own creations.

In one of those episodes, right after failing an attempt to rescue Glossaryck and the Royal Magic Book, she starts writing her own notebook of spells with the intent of continuing her magic training by herself, becoming stronger and solving her problems.

That attitude is very Izzet of hers and the reason why I gave her a little blue aspect.

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From a visual and mechanical perspective, adding white to Star’s card was a clear choice from the beginning. That might have influenced my opinion about her philosophical alignment with the color pie, but I guess it is fair to argue her struggle to become a responsible ruler and to end the mewmans’ prejudice towards monsters in the second half of the series show her white side.

Done with the character presentation, in my mind, the most important thing Star’s card should do is to represent her happy-go-lucky, overkilling and overwhelming way of fighting. The way she blasts her enemies with volleys of crazy spells so naturally.

My first ideas were to make her card give overload or kicker to all instant and sorcery spells, but none of them worked really well, as both of those abilities are heavily dependent on each card's rule text. (Overload, for instance, changes spells with a single target to affect each possible target. If a spell with overload grants benefits, it needs a clause that limits its targets to the things you control. If the spell causes harm, it needs a clause that limits its targets to the things you don't control. So if you grant overload to a removal spell, let's say path to exile, lightning bolt or murder, you just wipe the entire table. )

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Replicate, however, solves this problem and brings a few fun possibilities. It is an old, underused, interesting mechanic… and sneakily synergistic with magecraft. Even a pretty bad card, let’s say Pyromatics, enables some mean things with an Extus or Archmage Emeritus-like card.

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The “at least 3 mana” clause is a safety valve to prevent scenarios where a 1 mana spell scales too well when replicated. (example: a lightning bolt replicated 6 times for 7 mana is lethal damage.) Djinn Illuminatus doesn’t have this clause, but I guess it’s fair since 7 mana is a lot.

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The magecraft - +2/+2 and trample ability resembles Clever Lumimancer’s and complements her blasting-everything-with-crazy-spells gimik. Added to Star’s deceivingly small base power and toughness it should create some interesting decision making points, as the card is both a card advantage generator (the replicate part) and an all-in threat that is nearly useless unless you are throwing some spells.

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The lifelink here has nothing to do with healing spells (Star proved able to heal with magic at some point, but it’s not her trading mark) it is meant to represent the morale bonus her upbeat vibes and helpful attitude bring to battle, and from a gameplay perspective reward the player with some time to breath after a big attack.

I know, this is a lot of explanation for a simple card, but that’s because Star was the first one and traced the lines to be followed by the others. For example: all the other wand wielders were designer after her, with an ability that benefits instant and sorcery cards adapting them to a specific playstyle and a magecraft ability that benefits the wand wielder for casting/copying instants and sorceries; iconic spells from a given wand wielder (basically Star and Eclipsa) already have the ability granted by the wand wielder; And I’ll represent the “Butterfly Form” in another card since transformation abilities eat a lot of space.
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Laser Puppies

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Mrs. Diaz: Oh, Marco! Come meet the new foreign exchange student who's gonna be living with us!

Marco: Wha...? W-wha...?

Star: What?! I had no idea these were your parents! I just assumed everyone on Earth had the last name "Diaz"!

Mrs. Diaz: Won't it be nice to have Star's upbeat, lively energy around the house?

Marco: We could've gotten that from a litter of puppies.

Star: [gasps] I... love... puppies!

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There’s not much to talk about the laser puppies. And that’s good, because I have the feeling my last post was a bit too long.

The laser puppies are created by Star right on the first episode when she comes to earth. After that they have minor participation here and there, shooting at people’s eyes when they look directly at them, putting the local park on fire, etc.. They are basically small, cute agents of chaos spreading small samples of havoc wherever they go. I tried my best to transmit this idea through the card.

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Mechanically speaking, 1 mana 1/1 haste creatures are not hard to find in red. They usually come with some small bonus.

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Their small bonus is the ability to aimless and joyfully shoot lasers in all directions. It is very efficiently costed!... if you are good at throwing dice. (goblin Sharpshooter for comparison)

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The fact that they can’t hit targets named “Laser Puppies” prevents them from killing themselves (that would be REALLY sad) and eventual other copies you have around.
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Mystic Room Suck Transform

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Star uses magic to turn her room into a castle loft

Marco: I wish I had a room like this.

Star: [gasps] You do?!

Marco: Huh?

Star runs to Marco's bedroom.

Star: Mystic Room Suck Transform!

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This card is intended to screw a land as badly as one could imagine without actually destroying it. All it does is generate colorless mana, and that’s all it will do for the rest of the game. The only reason the enchantment itself doesn’t have indestructible and shroud is because Marco has his room back to normal by the next episode. Mystic Room Suck Transform’s effect is very similar to Spreading Seas’ aside of dealing with auras as an upside and not synergizing with Islandwalk as a downside.

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Also, it has a four word name, which is fairly common among Star’s spells and almost doesn’t fit in a MtG card. Imagine someone trying to say that out loud in a fight.
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Marco Diaz

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Marco is the second most important character of Star vs., and Star’s best friend (sorry, Pony Head) that accompanies her in whatever adventure she’s up to. Their friendship and contrasting personalities lead to funny, cute and/or awesome character moments along the way.

From the beginning, Marco is emphatically defined as the safe kid. He is very organized, responsible and sometimes overly cautious, very different from Star’s spontaneous and careless way of doing things. This is seen in episodes like “Quest Buy,” with how meticulously tidy his side of the bathroom is, or at the start of “Storm the Castle,” when he gets angry with Star for risking their lives for a sandwich.

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Coherent with his cautiousness and organization are his lack of self confidence and initiative, remarkably strong regarding his crush on Jackie, but decreases a bit as seasons 1 and 2 go by.
Even if Marco isn’t a genius, he is definelly a smart kid, often solving problems with his scholarship or even elaborate plans.

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In “Sleep Spells” he uses his knowledge on the basics of psychology to help Star overcoming her sleepwalking.

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In “Toffee” he creates a plan for the resistance to fight Ludo back.

Also worth noting, Marco is a karate prodigy. Even if his formal experience goes only until the red belt and is mostly based on a series of recorded lessons, he is able to keep up with Star and defeat several monsters with his bare hands. And that’s where his card should begin, with stats above 1/1 and the prowess keyword to represent his martial skills. His frontside was Initially white. It took me writing this post down to reorganize my ideas and realise how blue he actually is. I guess the discipline associated with martial arts and his responsible attitude directed me this way first.

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The transformation requirement, or the transformation itself may seem strange at first, although I promise, it will make much more sense after I post Hekapoo and her related cards. Leaving the battlefield without dying usually happens for a creature through effects that exile them or return them to their owner’s hand, both are flavored (more or less) as dimensional travel. In this case (as it is a substitution effect) the dimensional travel doesn’t go as intended and Marco unwillingly ends up in the Never Zone without access to dimensional scissors, lives a 16-years long adventure in 8 minutes and becomes a badass fighter with a badass dragon-cycle, a badass sword and most the important, abs.

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Star: Aaaaaabs.

The backside is rightfully red since Marco appears to change a lot during the pursuit. He is so amused by the life of dangerous adventures and undeniable freedom that he hesitates coming home for a moment. Haste, vigilance and first strike represent how awesome of a fighter in general he became. Protection from avatars comes on top of all that to show how dedicated he was to blow out Hekapoo’s clones. Much like a ranger’s favored enemy bonus.

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Civilized Scholar // Homicidal Brute isn’t a particularly strong double-faced card, but has a somewhat similar design. Furthermore I consider exiling your own creature or returning it to your hand a much harder prerequisite, especially when the card itself doesn’t provide any means of doing that. It should compensate for the 2 to 3 mana worth of increment Marco gets when transformed.
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