MTG: November’s Custom Cards — Aftermath!

Do y’all like magic cards?

Do y’all like flashback?

Do y’all like wordplay?

Well this month, I made a bunch of aftermath cards.

Some of the challenges with designing Aftermath cards that I wasn’t thinking up front is that you have two card names to check for, and since they’re short they sometimes can show up in other cards. There are for example, a lot of cards with ‘fair’ in their name, or ‘aim.’ Practically every dragon has ‘go’ in its name. I had to find 30 ‘x to y’ words, and then find ways to tie them to meaningful game actions. Some of them I’m very smug-proud about, some I know are a stretch.

Anyway, here’s the gallery, with more wordsy words at the end.

My first draft of this collection, by the way, completely neglected to include the word aftermath on any of the cards. Big ups to Karen for noticing and pointing that out.

There is one unfortunate one – fish to friccasee. See, here, I’d say ‘I have bigger fish to fry.’ But that’s not available – the card ‘fry’ exists. I saw according to one idiom website that you’d see ‘I have bigger fish to friccasee’ in the southern mainland United States. I don’t know how much to trust an ‘idiom website,’ but you know what, it’s such a great pairing I don’t want to ditch on it.

There’s also the art needs. In an ideal world, every card should have matching A/B art from the same artist that use the artwork to tell a story between the two. I don’t have that kind of control, so I couldn’t make it happen. Also the art proportions are very different. Fortunately, MSE does handle this reasonably well, but it does mean when I did find an artwork I thought would work, there was a challenge in getting all the details in it I wanted.

The artwork need also showed up with some things like how challenging it was to find art of things being copied or duplicated for spells like populate. That’s surprisingly difficult to make happen.

My favourite three names here are ‘Won // Free,’ because the idiom it’s evoking is one two three, ‘Swords // Plowshares’ because it’s referencing a classic card in a lot of ways, and ‘Jam // Morrow’ because ‘Jam Tomorrow’ is an idiom I think of as being very Commonwealth.

I like a lot of these designs, because aftermath is a great way to ‘give card advantage’ to the colours that normally struggle with it. Effectively, every aftermath card can be seen as ‘draw a card’ but you always are going to draw the other card. I tried to work with this thinking about them in three basic structures:

  • Cheap cards with a cheap secondary effect where you wouldn’t keep either for a full card
  • Cheap cards you want early on with a really expensive late-game effects for when you’re in a topdeck war
  • Cards for setting up a longer late game, with little utility on the aftermath side