The Maestro's Challenge: Things Fall Apart

Written by The Maestro and CM Staff

Happy 2024 everyone, and a big thank you to all that submitted designs for January's challenge! The Maestro certainly set out to keep things fresh by asking designers to reimagine a legendary character into a new color. A lot of great submissions were put in, but as always only three can make the limelight; check them out and February's new challenge below! Though it seems like there might be something serious going on with The Maestro...

Ĉ̷͈̽̐Ö̷̫͓̞́̏P̴͎͓̈́͋Ÿ̶̙͙̤́Ŗ̵͒I̴̤̔G̶̮̣͐͐͂H̵̡̺̹̏T̶͚̂ ̶̧̹͍̑2̸͎͈̺͐́̊0̷̨̡̞́̑2̷̬̤͆͗͜3̴̲͓̩̆͒

̶̢̡̽W̷̥̦̝̆̿̊I̴͇͌̌Ź̷̤̖͘Å̶̗̦͒̕R̴͔̮͐̓D̸̛̻̼̺S̶̪̫͖̋͝ ̸̬̱̽O̶͙̦͝F̷͋̇͌ͅ ̸͓̻̆T̷͇̜̰̀H̴̪̒È̵͈̘͔ ̴̧͒C̸̲͊Ȍ̴̝̚A̷̝̱̒S̷̳̱̐̑͛͜T̴̤̻̀͗ ̷̠̗͖́Ḷ̸͖͐̓͘L̶̬̿C̴͖̖̈́̔͊

̴̭̪̏́̾͜D̸̼͆O̶̱͗͐̓ ̷̬̞̍̕N̴̙̱̾̀Ó̶̥̝́̚T̷͕͝ ̶̻͗́͘R̷͚̰̞͐͘Ė̴͍̺̾P̷͎͓̽̕Ŕ̷̖̼͝Ő̶̖͖͓̒D̷̖́̈Ú̶͖͛͘C̴͖̺̓E̵̙̟̤̒





Hello hello hello, and welcome back! I am totally titillated by the torrent of terrific designs for Episode 8: New Year, New Me! As is routine, a small batch of renders rose above the rest to be highlighted here.

With dwindling resources, they wished to replace man with machine.

Third Place
Baral the Uncompliant (Designed by MagmaDragon3)

The Maestro: This once-stuck-up spellslinger sings a spicy new song. Though he still values spells, he’s made for different shells, countering dispels and drawing cards as well! Useful for burn to draw gas and not lose to “land, pass”, overall Baral kicks ass. Third place!

Overnight, a mind and soul to bits and bites, I was born.

CM Staff: One of the coolest parts of this challenge was being able to see all the mechanical tie-backs to canon printings of featured characters (a theme that will continue throughout these cards). For Baral, it really feels like it flips the original on its head, trading a defensive 1/3 creature based on interacting with the opponent into an aggressive 3/1 that's all about burning the opponent and making sure no one stops you! The card feels super red, which is appreciated, even flipping the card draw to a rummage instead of a loot! Overall a fantastic and well thought-out entry.

Second Place
Tahngarth the Mutineer (Designed by Tracker007)

The Maestro: A throwback card to a hard minotaur, Tahngarth’s trademark treasons return with a new twist! This provoking bloke will hoard a boardstate if left unchecked, but its balanced stats ensure it’s not overbearing. Magnificent minotaur art makes this mutineer a second place finisher.

But something went wrong, and my psyche was let loose, adrift.

CM Staff: Alright, admitedly this mechanical callback is quite a bit more loose, but First Mate does do some control-exchanging shenanigans! Still, the important part is how exciting the abilities are. Sengir-like effects frequently struggle to feel good due to the opponent being able to almost always opt out of giving you the trigger, but this circumvents that issue by forcing the opponent to block! The ability is not without risk, however, as the reduced toughness can bring the creature into removal range or make it killable with smaller creatures. The payoff may be strong, but it still gives the opponent the choice on what to block with, helping keep it in check. Tahngarth reaching a great sweet spot between exciting, unique, yet still balanced that puts it solidly in second!

First Place
Arcanis, Pit Archmage (Designed by LeetWizard)

The Maestro: A power-9 mage takes our fine stage! This clever reddening keeps Arcanis’s draw-3 theming, but is teeming with aggression to push him in a new direction. With a design so simple, strong, and iconic, Arcanis arrives at an amazing first place.

Until I heard you, a beacon of design and development, and knew I’d found a new home.

CM Staff: Conjure is one of those keywords you have to be particularly careful with. If you are not using a digital client like Arena, you could leave your player completely in the dark on what the card actually does. Arcanis here circumvents that issue somewhat by using one of the most iconic cards in Magic history; it's a good chance a player will know exactly what it does by reading it! Conjure aside, the card is also both simple and well-designed, cleanly revolving around an exciting build-around strategy in drawing cards that is both a fun callback to the original card and something that leans into its new color combo. The whole package is impressive enough to earn the coveted first place!

Episode 9: Things Fall Apart

For our ninth outing, I would like you to design a card that destroys one or more artifacts. Again, instructions of how to deliver your design shall be found within my home away from home within this server of yours, the #feedback and #showcase threads. My favorite submissions shall be published, alongside pleasant praise, in my next transmission, along with your next challenge. Work hard, for my show’s conclusion will coincide with the bestowment of a prize so grand as to illuminate thee for all time. 

And be quick, for I feel myself crumbling, and my final transmission may be close at hand.

Good work, good luck, and good night!

-The Maestro

If you'd like to participate, please join the Custom Magic Discord Server! For some more specifics on how to submit, please refer to the following: