This was intended to be a simple post about a revision to card#3, the Crypts of Damnation. However, when I thought about describing the revision, it seemed that much of this information would have been appropriate for the series of posts in which I take a look at Champion's Odyssey cards in detail. These posts will be referred to as "Argammond's Visions", which I will start as weekly and increase in frequency if necessary. So let's start Vision #1 with the Crypts of Damnation.
Background: During the early stages of planning the set, I really loved the Brom work "Allura of Damnation". I knew this would be the first card to start the set with (although it ended up being #12 due to some difficulties). I wondered how could I incorporate "Damnation" as a place in the set that would help define her story? When I saw the artwork by Parkinson, I knew that would be the Crypts of Damnation as a Terrain card. But what would that Terrain do?
Since I already knew the deck would have many undead based on the amount of Brom artwork, I decided to make this Terrain beneficial to certain undead you were likely to find in the Crypts. Being new to card design, I decided to use channeling as the benefit because channeling is really easy to slap on a card. So Vampires, Bats, Rats, and Ghouls all received channeling on the space.
When the set was complete, some of my faithful readers felt the card was to powerful, so I adjusted the CMP by -3. Another quick fix, but not very creative. It was bothering me that I had taken the easy, non-creative route, and I was unhappy with the card. Furthermore, it didn't really tie in to the set's Guardian, Balor. So I decided to change it again. The trick was to not make it too powerful, but still make it desirable to use and tie it to Balor.
Some of the creatures in the set already get a bonus when on the space (in their card text). But what if the card's main benefit was if you weren't on the space? And a benefit to ease the pain of losing a combat instead of a "yet another way to crush the opposing card" ability. Drawing from the Demon of Kabod ability, which I really like, the final change to the text is:
"If you retreat to this space, you may heal one Vampire or Ghoul for each creature discarded from your Creature Pen." I feel this is really not too powerful: first, you have to lose combat to retreat, so it doesn't help you win the space in any way - in fact, since combat wasn't on the space, your Vampires and Ghouls probably didn't get a bonus; second, there is a cost to healing that is not cheap (discarding creatures in the Creature Pen); third, you can't use the ability if you have no creatures in the Pen! Finally, the benefit is limited to Vampires and Ghouls only.
So why use it? Well, normally when you retreat you don't get to heal your creatures; like Demon of Kabod, this is an exception to the rule. And if your Guardian is Balor, each creature discarded from the Pen gives you a chance to gain Power Stones. Plus, if you get attacked again while on that space, some of those creatures you healed will probably get their Crypts bonus.
Who benefits from this card: Allura, Crypt Ghoul, Crypt Guard, Balor, Revenant, Shrine Ghast, Buzz Vampire Mosquito, Vampire, Vampire Lord, Carrag the Black (if your sacrificed creatures are undead), Death Pit of Djoser, Rogue Spectre, Standard Bearer Goblin 16, Tablet of Ancathus, Mummy's Fist*, and Well of Souls* (bring those discarded undead back!). Nebbuch also has the Command ability to convert any Terrain to this one during combat.
Threats to this card: Hammer of Doom. Obviously, Deceiver, Holy Spear*, Vampire Hunters, Ice Spirit, and White Unicorn are threats to undead, period.
* = Seven Seas
Uses: Power Stone disparity is the main use. You're gaining some Power Stones discarding unused creatures if you're using Balor, while your Vampires are draining your opponent's. Vampires and ghouls aren't bribeable, either.