Inxikrah Caress - Bostwick - 34/50
Formality: 5/5. Unless you meant that the general is also always damaged for five. But you didnt.
Flavor: 7/10. Abyssian was hardly ever sacrificial and sadistic to its own generals, until Maehv joined the pack. I’d consider it outside the general design rule before then- Shadowdancer, Kelaino, Desolator, Munch, Aphotic Drain, Void Pulse… all these are healing spells. Lyonar must be envious.
Nevertheless, now that skinsolding is an option, this part gets a pass. One more aspect worthy of mention is that Abyssian does not have even a single spell buff that targets the general, unlike Magmar, Lyonar and Songhai. But then again, a couple faction artifacts do that, so it’ll slip.
In regards to temptation, this fits insofar as, yes, I would always be tempted to cast it as soon as I draw it regardless of the drawback.
Balance: 7/15. Whereas the removal of the cap is antisynergistic with all the above mentioned spells (and it wouldnt even matter with the minor heals), a one mana card that makes you trade that much better, I argue, would be widely played. If you cast one early and trade face, which Abyssian can handle with its control, then its advantage far outweights the drawback. Not to mention bursting with this- it costs one mana- one slips from two to eight attack easily. This is like my wet dream. I love it, but its too surreal.
Originality: 15/20. Pretty standard Abyssian business. News is that its about default stats, which we know is possible with Bounded Lifeforce, but not previously in Abyss.
Total: 34/50. I want it, except the unbalance part.
Crimson Phoenix Seal - Darkjovo - 44/50
Formality: 5/5. I get it. And you too!
Flavor: 9/10. The fire of Saberspine Seal bursts and extinguishes quickly- this one is stronger, and dwindles slower. Anyone would want to have +4 general attack- and this is the tempting part- but not all decks can afford to devote eight mana in a game just to buff general, often times needing that for board and other spells.
Balance: 13/15. Though it seems initially scary with Artihai’s already solitaire-levels of fun and interactive, Bangle + Cyclone + this is a three card combo in which all cards cost 3 or 4, and not always the three cards are available, making it pretty hard to pull off. One other effect is that if the opponent casts this, it means means they have the intention of casting it again- to which you react accordingly making it so that you set up a scenario to delay that cast (as it has diminishing returns the further apart they’re activated) or to stop it entirely.
Originality: 17/20. I dont think we’ve seen cards that pull off this kind of deal- that it incentivizes you to cast it more than once, not through advantage as is Intensify, but through pressure. If you dont cast me again, you’re gonna get gutted. I like this. Pretty cool.
Total: 44/50. Become volcanic, If you can.
Reptilian Replication - Trulster - 45/50
So you thought all my nominations would be general buffs… me too…
Formality: 4/5. Draw a minion from your opponent’s deck. It gains Grow: +1/+1 and Rebirth. When this minion is played, put a copy of it into the opponent’s action bar.
Flavor: 10/10. Insofar as a devil nudge and urge to do something risky go, this is way closer to the quintessence of the matter because it is low cost enough that it is always lurking in the corner of the eye, open to be played, and the benefit in itself is risky- sum that with the fact that even if you succeed in drawing something useful, the drawback makes the whole practice questionable. Everyone wants to draw cards, but when you make a questionable card draw for cheap- this is the heart of temptation. Something I felt lacking in other submissions is that, if a thing costs 9 mana, its not like I want to indulge in it despite my plan, its that the whole idea is to cast it. Temptation is a deviation from the plan, not the plan in itself- And we know, no Magmar deck relies on stealing opponent minions, this is just the player gambling with the odds. I dont know if its transparent already, but I really really like this card.
Balance: 13/15. I dont think this would be played competitively, or non-competitively, but for memes? I am in. Most of the time its gonna be cantrip value, but you might maybe get something cool.
Originality: 18/20. I dont know why Magmar has this subtheme- No one has ever played Mind Steal, and its closest partner is Fractal Replication, which is again not even a thing. Those are the only two cards. In a way I’m glad the devs dropped this, Mag has its stuff already, but in another I would like to see this printed for real- a throwback to underground theme, a remember THIS existed at some point?, back in form, not to be competitive, but as much a lurker as its predecessors. CPG, PRINT THIS!
Total: 45/50. The heart of the word, crystallized in an underground reference.