Valkyrie Enforcer

6/19/2020 10:08:49 PM

Origins:

Valkyrie Enforcer was one of the earliest spells we created.

No, that isn’t a typo. It was originally a simple combination of traditional CCG design and the Norden flavor profile called Biker Bounce. A bounce spell that you cast on a minion; what could possibly go wrong?


Story:

This was early days, and straightforward enough that there isn’t much internal lore or worldbuilding directly backing it, save for a pretty vague paragraph of request direction;


“A male character in the process of being violently evicted from a bar or club by the Valkyries. Portrayal of the tough lady evicter might take a backseat to the evictee in this piece depending on what direction you want to take it. Plenty of artistic licence on whether the ejection has him busting through a door, a window, or even a freaking wall.”


It would turn out to be a pretty lucky thing that this verbal sketch wouldn’t wind up being much of a foundation for what would follow. It’s pretty easy to tell that what we had in mind visually was something like a less violent Overkill, (though it’s worth noting that card and it’s artwork didn’t exist when Biker Bounce was in development) which would certainly have complicated what would come to pass...


The original flavor text is still on there, and it might be among the first pieces of non-mechanical writing to get implemented. Zero evidence of drafts or variants, an apparent Xeneth one-shot;


  • When she says "bounce", you leave; That's all there is to it.


Initial Design:

This is really the main motivation for us to take a closer look. Biker Bounce was originally implemented as;


1[B] Common, Kinetic Spell

Return a minion to its owner's hand.


Which is silly of course, the cost went up to 2[B]B almost immediately, but…

While Mythgard was always intended to feel pretty different from other CCGs, there used to be more hope that certain balance points and design ideas would be more universal, or at least portable. Maybe some concepts survive the trip over from Magic or Hearthstone intact; this spell is overperforming in our system, okay, increase the cost again.

Turns out, some mechanical differences are just paradigm shifting.


Problems tend to compound on each other. Right up front, the concept is mechanically in the wrong color; Dreni doesn’t even exist as a faction at this point. Seductive as alliterative bikers having bouncers are, clever as bouncers literally bouncing minions may be, the positionality of the game changes everything. In a non-positional combat system, the tempo bump is often of equal or lesser value than the card it costs. In Mythgard this can crack a defense wide open on top of that base utility.


It’s a good thing that the card art itself would suggest some solutions!


Art:

This commission landed in veteran Justina Son’s hands, and the sketches were already chock full of girl power instead of focusing on the spell’s effect upon a victim;



The third sample was likely chosen just to keep the resulting action somewhere in-frame…



Not a ton to add to this rad sequence of in-progress paintings, it’s just always a pleasure to see the individual stages of refinement.


The warmer colors give way to blues as art direction hones in on getting it to match the faction color space...



So as the piece cleans up you can see that to some degree, it’s kind of got the character and style of a minion card and not a spell, even though spells are probably the most abstract and open-ended card type to make art for.



Wrapping Up:

Attaching the spell’s effect to a minion that in turn has positionality of its own to contend with really helps the design feel more Mythgard in addition being more in line with the (already overstuffed) Norden playbook.


It’s possible that the idea would have occurred less readily if not for the art, (at the very least changing it would have been trickier) so it’s a neat example of how all the creative parts of the card making process can affect each other in ways that aren’t necessarily linear.