Saturday, April 13, 2013

Card Design Gone Horribly Wrong: Goblin Test Pilot

Goblin Test Pilot - 1UR
Creature - Goblin Wizard (Uncommon)
Tap: Goblin Test Pilot deals 2 damage to target creature or player chosen at random.

"All pilots and prototypes destroyed. Extensive collateral damage inflicted. Conclusion: flawless design."
-Manual of Melek

Since returning to Magic a couple of years ago, starting with M12, I've been consistently impressed with the generally solid, robust design of new sets. 

This guy makes me question the judgment of R&D, though. He's. Just. Awful.

He's an evasive creature with zero power. Okay.

He's a creature that deals damage that has the same probability of killing himself as hitting any other legal target.

From a paper game play perspective, he's just awful. Determining the outcome of his target is horribly clunky. Rarely is there an even number of targets, so we're going to have situations where there are 7 creatures on board and including the 2 players we're going to have to figure out how to resolve the target. Roll a 10d? This is going to eat up the clock, be confusing, and not particularly fun.

Aside from logistics, something that has a symmetric effect has the potential to be powerful if the situation is crafted well (see Balance). But this is no Balance. You have to buff his toughness to keep him from potentially killing himself, or give your team hexproof (Mizzium Skin away!).

Seriously, he's just garbage. He's clunky from a gameplay perspective. Random abilities can be fun. The new Ral Zarek's ultimate is a great example of this. But not this guy. He's utter, complete crap.

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