As many of you may have seen me mention on Twitter (over, and over, and over again), my girlfriend, Julie (@jwlz85), has offered to make me a fully altered EDH deck. That is 100 cards all with new artwork. It was a very sweet offer and one that I couldn’t turn down, although I have turned this into much more of an enormous fucking project than it necessarily had to be.
Julie came to me with the idea of fully altering a deck. She was going to just alter her Rafiq deck in its current incarnation unless I wanted one of mine altered. This gave me an unnecessarily complicated idea: I had just picked up a spare Mimeoplasm (I want to keep my set of Commander theme decks intact) and was intending to start building a deck that very night. Instead of trying to find a theme to fit one of my existing decks, I could unleash my inner Johnny and design a deck specifically to be altered. I decided to go with a Simpsons theme because I’m a huge fan of the show, it has a seemingly unending cast of characters to fill all sorts of different roles in the deck, and by nature of being animated it would be much less complicated to do en mas.
This was a really tough one for me. The art was going to be completely changed, which meant some of the words had to remain on the card for it to be recognizable as what it is. This left me with three options: I could leave all the words, I could have the cards be done as full art and leave the name, casting cost, and power/toughness (where applicable), or I could change the card names and the leave the casting cost, rules text, and p/t the same. It was a really tough decision, but I decided that I was going to change the names on the cards. A lot of the cards I really could’ve gone either way with, but it was important to me for some of the cards to have different names and it seemed it would look better if they all had new names instead of a few (although there are 3 cards which kept their original name, because they were already perfect). Julie also offered to alter the flavour text on the cards (Because the project wasn’t big enough), so there’ll be that as well.
The basic land was another tough decision. While the options were the same, the rules text is unnecessary (and pretty much non-existent), so I decided to go full art on these (leaving the card frame). This turned out to create a big challenge because while there is more space on the card to paint, screenshots are much closer to the normal art box size than the full frame size. Finding exactly what I want and cropping it properly has proven to be a bigger problem than I thought, and is still a work in process.
Because the Simpsons’ cast of characters is so big, I could not dedicated a card to everyone I wanted to. I kinda knew going in this was going to be the case. Because of the nature of the theme, this deck was going to have a much higher count of creatures than I normally run in an EDH deck. My first step in designing the list was to think of the most appropriate cards I could for each of the characters I wanted. This proved harder than others for some cards, and also resulted in a lot of subpar cards. I was fine with subpar though as long as the deck was fun to play. And subpar or not, playing Zodiac Rabbit in EDH is awesome.
After making the list, I tested the deck. It was not fun. However, I could tell it very much had the potential to be, I just stalled on land every game do to having just built the deck and not shuffling properly. Even so, I made a realization: some of the cards were far too cute. Sure, Xanthic Statue is the best possible card for the Lard Lad donuts mascot, but when I’m supposed to have some enormous monstrosity in my deck like that thing, it’s pretty heartbreaking to cast Tooth and Nail and pull two creatures combining to a whopping 3/4. That decision was also largely because of how far behind I was from missing land drops, but I was lacking any real power. I’m really sad to see the Xanthic Statue go, but that card is shit anyway so whatever. The deck is now tuned to a point where it is fun to play and has the potential to win, even if it’s not as powerful as it could be.
The Alteration Process
I have absolutely nothing to say about this, because I’m not the one doing it. However, Julie will be writing some guest blogs to chronicle her progress and share some previews with you, as well as probably talking about altering in general. Then again, I’ve given her no guidelines as to what she needs to write about, so she may just write about stuffed animals and butterflies as that’s all girls ever seem to care about anyway. However, I would like to share at least one preview with you guys because I’m really pumped about this project. It may only be a basic land, but it’s still awesome. The artwork stars Eddie, Lou, and Homer Simpson as “Max Power”. Enjoy!