Milling for 53
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Milling for 53

Moxtober 2020 #19: Specter

During the month of October is #MTGMoxtober! Each day, I design a new Magic: The Gathering mechanic to fit the day’s prompt. Join Moxtober with your own Magic-related creations! Full prompt list here.

Previously:
Day #01: Harvest
Day #02: Curio
Day #03: Binding
Day #04: Smog
Day #05: Cynic
Day #06: Lance
Day #07: Mithril
Day #08: Rider
Day #09: Tyrant
Day #10: Brew
Day #11: Pact
Day #12: Fortune
Day #13: Dread
Day #14: Firstborn
Day #15: Tale
Day #16: Eclipse
Day #17: Blasphemy
Day #18: Charm

Today’s prompt: #19— “Specter”

Cards with the spectral ability word have this line of text in common:
if an opponent discarded a card or was dealt damage by a creature with flying this turn

Specters in Magic are very similar to one another. While a few go off the beaten path, there are a few elements most share:

  • Has flying
  • Causes discard (usually as a trigger upon dealing combat damage)

Having a repeatable discard upon dealing combat damage and on a flier is classic Hypnotic Specter vibes. But it also means you’ll usually find Specters only on black rare creatures. New Specters at lower rarities means tweaking this formula.

Reaper of Night is an excellent recent example:

The elements of a Specter are masterfully executed here, reconfigured to make this okay at common. The combat damage trigger, in particular, was changed into an attack trigger, which is clever, also seeing as that’s how the crucial flying element of a Specter comes into play.

So I decided on keying off any of the Specter elements for the spectral ability word. Dealing damage with flying creatures seemed like a reasonable ask, but it does mean fulfilling two hoops (get a flying creature, then connect with it). So, asking for a discard is also on the table. Hello, Mind Rot!

I also think the discard route would incidentally be fulfilled with natural gameplay, especially against blue-red players that like to rummage or loot! It can be satisfying to cast Spectacular Find to follow up an opponent’s turn-two Tormenting Voice.

Of course, you can also just play a Specter deck and call it good. :)

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