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A Card a Day: Out of the Air

River of Gems (1st version)
River of Gems (2nd version)
Treasure Token

Hey guys, Drion here!

Alright, so today I'll actually make a card. I like challenges, so I used wikipedia's random page function to come up with a theme, first off was the Alpine Woodruff, a small plant discovered by John Sims, but sadly it doesn't have much utility or inspiring beauty, so I skipped that. Next up was the celtic rock album Out of the Air by Davy Spillane. It is mostly instrumental, so there's no content there (even though the music is very inspiring), but there are song titles, and an atmosphere of beautiful landscape inspired by the Davy's uillean flute play.
Titles like River of Gems, Mystic Seacliffs, The Storm, and Atlantic Bridge immediately made me think of some world with beautiful scenery, dotted with cliffsides, coasts, and clear meadows. There isn't enough here for a self-contained game, so I went with creating cards for an existing game, Magic: The Gathering, as it has a good representation of landscapes in the form of Land cards. In short, the players "tap" these lands for certain kinds of energy (or mana), which can be used to summon creatures matching those energies. For example, a forest grants green mana, which can summon woodland creatures, shamans, or large beasts.

Since Magic's lore is based on planes of existence, we can create the plane of Tara, a plane of beautiful landscapes and great outdoors, where sentient creatures have not settled, but wander endlessly to preserve it.

River of Gems can be a Land card representing a clear river running from the far away Diamond Peak, with literal small diamonds flowing in it. We could go for the flavor of taking gems out of the water, but could also add the downside of the river depleting, as nature itself becomes "sad" when you exploit it. Maybe also make it legendary, so only one of it can exist, so let's try this:

River of Gems
Legendary Land
River of Gems enters the battlefield with one Gem counter on it.
At the beginning of your upkeep, place a Gem counter on River of Gems.

Remove a Gem counter: Add one mana of any color. If there are no Gem counters on River of Gems, sacrifice it.

I am aware that this allows for stacking Gems and saving them between turns, but this effect is delayed and the land is legendary. It still could be fixed by turning it into a simple land which you can sacrifice to gain more mana, but I think taking all the gems away conveys the exploitation theme better. Can be nerfed by making it enter with no Gem counters to make players wait two turns before using it.

Going further:
This card is pretty interesting in itself, the beginning may be a bit wordy but conveys the flavor that you need to wait for nature to replenish. The card idea could be expanded on by creating treasure tokens instead of mana, as those are artifacts and linger around between turns, but can be sacrificed at any time for mana, like stockpiling and selling them. This could make the card slightly stronger if needed.
If we wish to double down on the nature's bounty and revenge theme, we could make All players make use of this card at any time, but place a bigger punishment on the person overdraining it:

River of Gems
Legendary Land
River of Gems enters the battlefield with two Gem counters on it.
At the beginning of each player's upkeep, place a Gem counter on River of Gems

Remove a Gem counter: Add one mana of any color. If there are no Gem counters on River of Gems, target opponent creates a 3/3 Blue Water Elemental Creature Token. Any player may activate this ability as a sorcery.

So everyone benefits, but who dares? This could be interesting for multi-player formats, but might also need to be simplified, as in essence all players just gain one more mana each round or take one more for a downside. The downside might not be large enough, especially in the late game. A restriction would also be good that makes the owner of this land create the elemental, unless they themselves emptied it, because otherwise players can team up and give each other free elementals.

Phew, I wanted to make more, but I think this should be enough for today. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment!

Have a great day and take care!

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blog | by Dr. Radut