Redditor CompleteIndieYT has achieved perfection with a recent MTG card design. And by perfect, we mean ‘perfectly awful’, as they’ve used data gathered by Wizards of the Coast to design the worst possible Magic: The Gathering card they can. Posting on Reddit on September 19, they shared ‘Oath of Bolas’, their malevolent attempt at Magic design.
Oath of Bolas is a green-white 2/3 creature that costs eight mana to cast. As long as you’ve gained life on your turn, the card gives you “three instances of lifelink”. The flavor text is a quote from Nicol Bolas about watching over the universe, and the card art is a monstrous edit of a different MTG card, Oath of Jace.
All of this design was deliberate. CompleteIndieYT explains they created the card based on Magic: The Gathering’s ‘player types’, a list of psychographic profiles that summarize the different kinds of people who are interested in MTG. Many of these are the brainchild of head MTG designer Mark Rosewater.
For example, a ‘Timmy’ loves simple decks with big, exciting spells, while a Spike is interested in playing competitively and mastering the current meta. Some players are interested in beautiful design and art, while others play for the joy of crafting creative decks.
When describing the card on Reddit, CompleteIndieYT says “Timmys don’t really like how the big stompy cost of 6GW gets you a 2/3″, and “Johnnys don’t like how despite the condition being cool to try for, all it gives is lifelink”. “Spike’s really don’t like this. It’s total competitive I swear”, they add.
“Vorthos doesn’t like it: Nicol Bolas is not a green-white character, and he would absolutely not vow to protect the ‘Universe’.” CompleteIndieYT also says “They agree with Mel that this being a creature is just non-logical from a design space”. Apparently, “Mel hates how the phrasing implies ‘three instances of lifelink’ is any different from one instance of lifelink”, and “Wesley Burt hates it because I’ve massacred the art with bad cropping and sharpen”.